Traveling pictorial exhibit showcases Meridian Township history

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Meridian Township is celebrating its 175th Anniversary. As part of the celebration, a pictorial exhibit about the history of Meridian is traveling around the area.

Communications Director Deborah Guthrie got the idea for the exhibit while she was traveling through Chicago. As she visited different museums in different areas, she saw a new way to view history.

“I was trying to think about ways in which we can present the Meridian Township history by bringing it to where people go, bringing it around and exposing it in different areas and asking other people to celebrate with us by hosting the traveling pictorial,” said Guthrie.

Guthrie was also responsible for the content of the exhibit. With the help of Meridian Township historian Jane M. Rose, Guthrie sifted through the township’s past, choosing highlights of the last 175 years.

Claire Postelli

The traveling pictorial exhibit features history starting in 1812. When the exhibit is complete, it will showcase history up to today. Photo by Claire Postelli.

The pictorial exhibit was recently at American Legion Post 269, located at 1485 Haslett Road in Haslett, as part of its 80th Anniversary celebration. John Meka, post commander, explains that while people usually celebrate 25, 50, and 100 years, it was important for the American Legion to celebrate alongside Meridian Township.

“The idiom just happened to hit when Meridian’s 175th hit. We thought it would be nice to align our birthday with the township. It was really a timely thing,” Meka said.

While the pictorial exhibit mentions histories of many kinds, Victoria Voges, a member of Nokomis Native American Center in Okemos, wishes the native history was more complete.

“One of the things that doesn’t seem to be included in some of the written material is that Chief Okemos was actually forcibly removed. No one seems to recognize that or talk about it. And it kind of bothers me. Historically, it’s important to recognize that he didn’t leave here on his own will. He was forced to leave,” she said.

The full history of Meridian is yet to be unveiled.

“Each month we reveal a new panel on the traveling pictorial. So it’s a new piece of history. The very first night we had it, there was only two panels. …. There’s more elements that will be added to the traveling pictorial. It’s not fully complete and it won’t be fully complete until the end of the year,” Guthrie said.

The exhibit is now at the Community Music School at Michigan State University.

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