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Welcome, Director Julie Bunke!

Tri-Cities Historical Museum Appoints New Director

Grand Haven native Julie Bunke returns home to help advance the museum’s mission.

 The Tri-Cities Historical Museum is pleased to announce the appointment of Julie Bunke as its new Director. Bunke was selected following a nationwide search and thorough evaluation process.

This is a homecoming for Bunke, who was born in Grand Haven and launched her 20-year museum career as a Registrar at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum. She returns to the museum with an impressive track record of achievement. Prior to this appointment, she served as Assistant Director of Material Culture at Kalamazoo Valley Museum in Michigan. She also works with the American Alliance of Museums on the Museum Assessment Program, helping small to mid-size museums prepare for professional accreditation.

Bunke spent 12 years as Executive Director and Curator at the St. Charles Heritage Center in Illinois, and she was Museum Supervisor at the Downers Grove Park District Museum in Illinois for three years.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we’re thrilled to welcome Julie as our Director,” says Ann White, Board President. “She began her career at our museum in 1999 and now returns to share with us a wealth of experience in all aspects of museum management. Her passion for history and love of our Tri-Cities community will make her leadership even more effective.”

“I am very excited to be back here,” says Bunke. “I feel like I have come full circle and am proud to represent the communities where my family history can be traced back five generations. I am proud and eager to start working with the board, staff and volunteers to preserve and present the history and culture of this special place.”

A graduate of Fruitport High School, Bunke holds a Bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and a Master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University. In addition to her museum responsibilities, she looks forward to giving her children the kinds of experiences she had growing up near the shores of Lake Michigan.

About Tri-Cities Historical Museum

Tri-Cities Historical Museum is a two-site public museum serving Grand Haven, Grand Haven Township, Spring Lake, Spring Lake Township and Ferrysburg, Michigan. The three-floor Akeley Building at 200 Washington is open all year and presents a combination of permanent and ever-changing temporary exhibits. The Depot Museum of Transportation, open spring through fall, is located in a beautifully restored railroad depot at 1 N. Harbor.

The museum is always free to tour and most programs are also free. Museum members receive a host of special perks that can include exclusive events, gift shop discounts, a quarterly newsletter, yearly publication and more.

For more information, please visit:

By Kevin Geary, Curator of Education
Tri-Cities Historical Museum

February 20 marked Presidents’ Day this year.  While some states still observe both Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays as holidays, the recognition of all U.S. Presidents on Presidents’ Day has gained in popularity since the early 1970s.

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Victorian Era Customs Retain their Popularity Today   -By Kevin Geary, Curator of Education

• Dec 23, 2016 at 3:00 PM
Many of our holiday customs — like Christmas trees, caroling, holiday cards and Santa Claus — have their roots in practices that were common in the Victorian era and before. Popularly practiced in England, many of these customs took longer to take root in the United States. Once established, however, they rapidly spread across the country and are still observed today.

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By Cate Reed, Education Program Coordinator

Weddings are the best. Watching two people declare their love is a powerful and joyous event.

As much as brides and grooms want to create unique, memorable events, much of their day is predetermined, due to a deep connection of tradition and weddings. Things like matching bridesmaids, white dresses and veils, old rhymes, first kisses and cake are all steeped in ancient traditions and superstitions related to ensuring good luck for the couple, fertility and tricking the forces of evil.

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Lumbering Era History is Important to the Tri-Cities

By Kevin Geary, Curator of Education
Tri-Cities Historical Museum

The Lumbering Era in our state covered about six decades, from approximately 1840-1900.  Michigan was sparsely populated until the 1840s when vast tracts of timber were discovered here. White Pine was in great demand in the East, and men began to come to Michigan by train in droves to work in the lumber camps. Lumbering became an important early industry of this area.

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    Help us continue to preserve and present the history and culture of the Tri-Cities. Learn about giving options and volunteer opportunities – and get ready to be appreciated.

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    Our Education Department offers a wide range of learning opportunities for individuals, schools and community groups. Find a tour or program that suits your interests.


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