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River of Time State History Conference
A Visitor's Educational Bonanza

Hundreds of History Buffs Expected to Attend 132nd Annual Event

August 10, 2006       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Attendees at the 2006 State History Conference in Bay City on September 22-24 will get a bonus since the River of Time living history program is held at the same time.

The Bay County Historical Society and Museum will be the local host for the Historical Society of Michigan's (HSM) State History Conference.

The late Dr. Ben Pederson was instrumental in arranging for the conference to be held for the first time in Bay City, at least in recent years, local sources said. Dr. Pederson was a member of the board of HSM.

"This year we will explore the history of the Bay City area and topics to everyone interested in Michigan history, historic preservation, and operating historical sites," said Larry Wagenaar, executive director of the State Historical Society.

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Keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, entertainment, tours, receptions, banquets and more are featured elements of this annual history gathering now in its 132nd year.

Major sponsors of the conference include Daimler Chrysler, F.P. Horak Co., and the Rural Arts & Culture Program.

State History Conference keynote speakers include D. Laurence Rogers who will focus on Michigan's first Presidential candidate, abolitionist James G. Birney; musical comedy by Bob Bloenk, marketing history in your hometown by television and radio announcer Eric Jylha, and the River of Time "timeline" historical reenactment event.

Breakout sessions will focus on Bay City's maritime heritage and underwater archeology, Michigan lumbering and camp life, historical preservation and active reuse of industrial sites, the pre cut "kit home" industry, digital resources for Michigan history, successful local efforts to preserve historic structures and more.

Each concurrent session has three breakouts, including one workshop, to provide exceptional opportunities and selection of topics for participants.

Workshops will focus on basic archives skills, how local historical societies and museums can make their unique local heritage stick out and have regional/national significance, and developing good curriculum guides for your museum to encourage more students and teachers to use your cultural asset.

Tours include an historic boat tour on the Saginaw River, Bay City historic sites and on-site visits to Bay City's historic city hall and restored State Theatre.

The River of Time historical reenactment festival will be occurring during the same weekend on the banks of the Saginaw River, allowing conference attendees to enjoy one of the country's only timeline reenactment festivals, including a wide variety of historical period re-enactors. The festival will be held in the park directly across the river from the conference hotel.

The Rural Arts & Culture Program of the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs is offering ten scholarships to individuals residing in a number of counties that are designated as underserved in arts & culture programming. To see if you are eligible to receive a scholarship please check the list of qualified counties in the conference flier at Scholarships are offered on a first come first served basis to those that qualify.

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The river front Bay City Doubletree, a Hilton family property, will be THE conference hotel. Rooms are available for $89.95 and can be reserved by calling the hotel at (989) 891-6000. Be sure to ask for the State History Conference rate.

"The annual State History Conference continues to be one of the best history conference values in Michigan," said Mr. Wagenaar. Full conference registration is $119 for HSM members and $149 for non-members (including a one-year HSM membership).

Saturday day-only registration is $69 for HSM members and $99 for non-members (including a one-year HSM membership). The conference registration deadline is September 15.

A detailed schedule and conference flier is available on the HSM website at For more information contact HSM at or call toll free (800) 692-1828.###

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
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