Recapping the year that just was would take a lot longer space than this blog is meant for -- so here are a few key events related to its purpose:
Two thousand nine began with an announcement by the Governor that financial constraints meant Michigan's Department of History, Arts & Libraries would become no more. At the end of the year, the Michigan Historical Center will soon become a unit of the combined departments of natural resources and environmental quality.
In March, Michigan put on the first Civil War Sesquicentennial event in the Nation at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American history in Detroit. It was phenomenally great.
In the same month, the River Raisin Battlefield National Park was approved by the President after passage by Congress as a small but important part of an omnibus bill. At a planning meeting in December, the NPS was welcomed by the Monroe community and other Michigan historical interests. This rather rare federal investment in Michigan culture could not have come during a more needed time, given the state of the State.
In November, the Michigan Historical Commission approved its final Civil War Sesquicentennial work plan as a result of public input and comment and dialogue during the summer. While still a living document subject to evolution, it will form the basis for what the Commission will do to help make the commemoration an appropriate activity.
On the cusp of 2010, hope springs again as one contemplates the potential of a fresh slate and so much in the works to advance Michigan history. A year from now, let's trust that progress will have been made. And that Michiganders will be able to say, "what a [great] year!"