Traveling Smithosonian exhibit makes stop in Grand Haven

A Smithsonian traveling exhibition that highlights innovative small towns and rural communities across the nation is making a stop in Grand Haven.

The exhibit, “Spark! Places of Innovation,” is at the Loutit District Library through Feb 25. 

It will put a spotlight on innovation in the Grand Haven area by exploring such things as the origin of the Coast Guard Festival and the transformation of Grand Haven’s industrial docks into the beautiful waterfront it is today. The library’s staff was tasked with adding displays about local creations such as the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival, the Grand Haven Musical Fountain, Sherman Poppen’s Snurfer snowboard, and GHSP industry innovation. 
The new Spark exhibit features segment about the history of Grand Haven's Coast Guard Festival.
The library partnered on the exhibit with local organizations including the Tri-Cities Historical Museum, the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival, the Midwest Miniature Museum, GHSP, Grand Haven Pride, the Momentum Center, Tri-Cities Puentas Initiative, Kenzie’s Be Café, and Walk the Beat.

‘Local perspective’

“We are supplying a local perspective with local artifacts and local history,” says Chelsea Payton, the library’s community engagement and marketing manager. “We have curated a couple of supplemental exhibits for this, such as one on the Grand Haven waterfront, the history of the Coast Guard festival, and how our library began with funding from the Carnegie Foundation.” 

This exhibit also features different small towns across the nation and the innovative things that they've done. It is intended to explore how communities create a unique combination of place, people, and creativity-ignited change — socially, artistically, technologically, or culturally. 
The new Spark exhibit features segment about the history of Loutit Library.
Museum on Main Street is the organization within the Smithsonian that coordinates these traveling exhibits. MI Humanities is coordinating this exhibit’s tour to Michigan libraries and museums.

“We are honored to be chosen because hundreds and hundreds of places apply, and only a dozen or so were selected as part of the Michigan tour. A lot of people have put in a lot of effort to get it here,” Payton says. 
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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.