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Committee Meeting Minutes 8.2.2022

August 2, 2022

3-4 p.m., Zoom

In attendance: Mark Harvey, Amy Bradfield, Sandra Clark, Eric Hemenway, Sharon Carlson, Fred Johnson, Steve Brisson, Karen Marrero, Matt Stiffler, Kelly VanWormer

Mark briefly reviewed some discussion from the last meeting.

Do we want to work off the AASLH Making History at 250 Field Guide?

Most people shared that they felt the themes listed in the Field Guide would work for Michigan. No one spoke up and said they had a problem with any of the themes or did not want to use them.

Mark Harvey and Amy Bradfield both commented that we don’t feel like we need to recreate the wheel. Amy added that many other states will probably use the same things, which could be good.

Kelly VanWormer - Good to use the themes, likes the idea of being consistent, subcommittees and pulling in other organizations, themes are good discussion points

Sharon Carlson - likes the programming provided in the guide and the different questions to ask and agrees with Kelly that this is a good chance to take these ideas and make them local. Sharon mentioned that many local stories were not told during the bicentennial and this would be a good chance to do that.

We looked at the first theme, Unfinished Revolutions, and had some discussion about specific examples that could connect from Michigan. Fred Johnson brough up the Northwest Ordinances of 1784 and 1787 and how they established precedence of freedom of speech, religion, no slavery, education for the territories. Fred also mentioned that guaranteeing the rights for some people meant the exclusion of those rights for others.

Eric Hemenway - Brought up the adverse effects the Ordinances and Revolution had for Native Americans, setting the stage for Manifest Destiny, sets the tone for Native Americans for the next 200 years. Also mentioned the importance of context and what was happening before the Revolution started (Pontiac’s War).

Matt Stiffler - It’s important to tell the whole story, are we ready to face those people who push back? The consensus of the people on the call is that we do want to be advocates and share the stories of all people, even if that means there will be push back from certain groups or individuals.

Mark Harvey - Our role is to set the stage for what people can do and point them to the whole story. Need to discuss how we are going to communicate the discussion we are having now to the general public. Kelly VanWormer said the webinars that America 250 is putting out are helpful, or could create our own webinars?

Steve Brisson - What is the role of our committee? Clearing house, promoter? Are we going to make a framework that allows people to do this?

Sandra Clark - On one level we can be what we want to be, we have a loose charter. She shared her concern that if we don't set a different story, who will? Do we want to take on the obligation of doing that? If so, it will require more funds.

Steve Brisson - Will need lots of resources if we are going to be advocates, especially people who are not knowledgeable about history or don’t care that much about it. It will be a big challenge.

We circled back to question if we like the themes from the Field Guide and if so, what are we going to do with them? Everyone agreed that we should use the five themes but should refine and adapt them to Michigan. Kelly VanWormer asked if any organizations, museums, or communities had already started planning anything. No one was able to answer if that was happening or not.

Amy Bradfield and Mark Harvey will send a document to the committee with the five themes with some specific Michigan connections and/or examples. The group can add comments or ideas to the document. Committee members should also start thinking about which of the themes they can contribute resources to or would be interested in being part of a sub-committee for.

This led to a discussion about what would be done with the themes and how they would be used. Part of the work of this committee is to promote activities that will happen around the state using the website and social media. It was agreed that we should have some guidelines to ensure that we are promoting activities that are inclusive and in line with what we are trying to achieve. Sandra Clark brought up that we want to have a way to defend our decision to not promote an activity so we need some type of application process where groups have to tell us how their planned event will support one of the five themes we develop and share. That way we know they are looking at them and hopefully incorporating our more inclusive ideals. The group felt this was a great way to make sure the work we do on the themes will be used by the public.

Amy Bradfield and Mark Harvey will work on some guidelines to share with the group for feedback. Mark asked Matthew Stiffler if he could help with this project because of the work he had done about the Bicentennial Celebration and he agreed.

Communications Update (15 minutes)

  • Hiring update

    • Job is posted on Indeed, Amy and Mark will go through resumes and set up interviews

  • Social media accounts

    • America 250 MI accounts set up for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. No posts yet, but names have been reserved for our group.

Next meeting will be in October, probably towards the end of the month. Steve Brisson brought up whether all meetings will be via Zoom or if we will have some in person. We may try to have the October meeting in person. Look for information about dates and location to come from Sheri Giffin.


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