Photographs Document Local History

This article was originally published in the Grand Haven Tribune in January 2014, by Kevin Geary, Curator of Education and Meredith Meyer, Registrar

Winterfest is a celebration of our community and a fun way to enjoy, or perhaps survive, our natural surroundings and the winter season. Residents of the area have come together since 1979 to sled, ski, and feel a sense of kinship with neighbors. The museum's photograph collection is full of memories of this season, from smiling children as they sled down Second St. to a dog sled race down Harbor Avenue. One way that the museum is able to bridge the gap between past and present, as well as involve the community, is participating in Winterfest and hosting the annual photography contest.

Area residents enter the photography contest in one of two divisions, adult or youth, and select from eight categories in which to submit their photos.  The museum displays the photographs for up to a month, and the public is invited to visit and view the incredible work of these local, amateur photographers.  A panel of local judges selects a first, second, and third place winner in each category.

This is a way for us to celebrate, share, and encourage individuals interested in capturing moments of their life and their town. We encourage photographers to examine their life and surroundings with curiosity, not only so that the community may enjoy an artistic event and experience, but also because the photograph collection housed at the museum is built by the community. The museum preserves and protects these memories on behalf of the public, but they are created by individuals investigating and documenting their surroundings in order to create a narrative of their experience. Sharing these images with the public and also the museum allows us to preserve a wonderful and unique lens through which to view our ever-evolving community.

So celebrate with us and participate is these wonderful community activities that enrich both the area and the lives of the people involved. In addition to the photography contest, local residents and out-of-town visitors have a multitude of activities to choose from, including contests like the Human Sled Race, a Euchre tournament, and making snow angels. Winterfest is yet another example of our community coming together and enjoying their locale.

This year's photography contest entries will be on display beginning with a reception at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum held on Friday, January 24, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.  Consider participating in next year's photography contest.  It is a great way to explore your artistic talents and take part in the life of the Tri-Cities.

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