Started in 2008 by Christine Byron and Marcie Beck, then staff members of the Local History and Special Collections department at the Grand Rapids Public Library, History Detectives quickly grew from an afternoon of three programs featuring the research projects of local historians to a day-long event created in collaboration with local groups with a history of working together. On wintry January days, six speakers would present to a full house on topics varying from Michigan tourism to women’s history and from African American barber shops to urban renewal. Now in its fourteenth year, History Detectives continues to offer up-to-date history from independent researchers and academic historians to popular audiences —virtually, when necessary.

The continuing sponsors are local history organizations joining forces to maintain annual History Detectives programming. From planning to promotion, area groups bring to the table their combined general knowledge and passions for area history, in addition to their particular angles on artifacts and images. Because of this successful collaboration, History Detectives has become one of Grand Rapids’ premier history-related events.

In 2013 Grand Rapids History Detectives received a State History Award from the Historical Society of Michigan. 

2023 Sponsors

Collecting and retelling the rich, colorful stories which composes the historic African American tapestry of living in Grand Rapids.

Stores all the City’s government records and makes sure they’re preserved and accessible to citizens and employees to research.

The Grand Rapids Historical Commission’s (GRHC) mission, established by the city in 1962, is to: collect, preserve, publish, and disseminate the history of Grand Rapids. There are 13 members, appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Commission.

Collects, preserves, and presents the heritage of the Grand River Valley to the community in the hopes of encouraging historical study through new generations.

Inspiring opportunity, connection, and innovation. The Grand Rapids Public Library is key to a dynamic, creative, livable city where people come together to learn and be heard.

Exists to be a living monument of artifacts, ideas and stories told through exhibitions, events and educational programming designed to inspire, motivate and celebrate our human bond. We enrich the life of our community through experiences of the wider world in a uniquely Grand Rapids context.

Uncovers, preserves, and celebrates the rich history of women in our community.

Giving voice to diverse communities through history.

Guarantees the people of Michigan and their government one perpetual institution to collect, preserve and provide access to the story of the State, and to support libraries in their role as essential community anchors.

Preserves and makes available for genealogical research the records of our ancestors; encourages and assists members in genealogical research; promotes the exchange of knowledge and encourages the deposit of genealogical records in established libraries and archives.