kalamazoo valley museum

1944 Photo by Margaret Hart

In 2013, the book Kalamazoo Galsby professor and music journalist John Thomas, became a hit across the globe. The work told the unique story of women stepping into the Gibson Guitar plant during World War II and building instruments themselves. There were a lot of fascinating details -- of hardship, social justice and industrial cover-up. Now, three years later, some of the Kalamazoo Gals mysteries still remain -- and some are only getting stranger.


The U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state laws banning “miscegenation” or bi-racial marriage in 1967. Michigan rescinded its own law that banned mixed-race marriage in 1883. The Kalamazoo Valley Museum will present Bi-racial Marriages: Narratives from Kalamazoo Sunday afternoon at 1:30. 

If you know the Christmas story, you’ll probably remember a star that appeared in the east and guided three wise men to baby Jesus. But what was this star? Or was it a star at all? A new planetarium program at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum discusses scientific explanations for why this star might have appeared.

Courtesy Yale Strom

For nearly 30 years, artist Yale Strom has made visit after visit to Eastern Europe. He documents life inside tiny Jewish villages, many of which were decimated by the Holocaust. A sampling of Strom’s collection -- including photographs and sheet music -- will be on display at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum on November 6th  as part of an exhibit called “Fragments: Jewish Life in Central and Eastern Europe, 1981-2007.”


Lewis Schilling (far left) owned this butcher shop on Portage Street near Michigan Avenue in Kalamazoo. He was murdered there in 1893.
Tom Dietz

Halloween is a good time to revisit stories like Dracula and Frankenstein. They're scary stories that allow us to escape because the monsters in them aren’t real. But we all know some of the most chilling horror stories are true.