Live Speaker Presentations at the Pump House Museum for Summer 2023

The doors open at 6:30 and the evening’s presenter is introduced at 7:00 pm. Admission to the Museum and the Live Speaker programs is free, but your donations are welcome and are very much appreciated. Seating is limited due to the size of the exhibits in the north gallery. This schedule is subject to change.

July 6 Elissa Checov“Memoir Writing Workshop: Ottawa Beach Stories.”

Participants in this interactive and collaborative program will learn some practical fundamentals of memoir writing and be provided with some tools and inspiration to put down their own stories and memories of Ottawa Beach. Elissa Checov is a retired Master of Library and Information Sciences.

July 13 Chriss Lyon – “A Killing in Capone’s Playground: The Hunt for the Most Dangerous Man Alive.”

Using never before published police reports, interviews with family members of key witnesses, and leading experts, historian Chriss Lyon establishes the foundation for what would develop as a haven for gangsters from the onset of the Prohibition Era through to the mid-twentieth century, while revealing new information about the eventual capture of notorious gangster Fred “Killer” Burke. Chriss Lyon is a retired public safety professional and historian.

July 20 Tom Wilson“Did your grandfather own and drive an Oldsmobile in 1913?”

A few years ago, Wilson discovered a rare booklet, “Automobile Guide and List of Registered Cars 1913 in Central Western Michigan.” This booklet gives the names of the auto owners, their addresses, and the manufacturers of their cars. Not surprisingly, the majority of cars were owned by wealthy men; but a number of women also owned autos, many of them electric vehicles. Tom Wilson and Chris Byron received the 2022 Gordon Olson Award from GVSU. The pair are also 3-time #MiNotableBks honorees (2003, 2006, and 2012).

July 27 Valerie van Heest “Hotel Ottawa and the Devastating Fire of 1923”.

In 1923, a group of investors headed by George F. Getz purchased the hotel with plans to enlarge and improve it. But at about 5:15pm on November 6, 1923 , those plans and dreams literally went up in smoke. Valerie van Heest will tell the story of the hotel, its destruction by fire and why it was never rebuilt. Valerie van Heest is an acclaimed museum exhibit designer, shipwreck preservationist, author and lecturer.

Aug 10 Dan Aument“The History of the Historic Ottawa Beach Society”

A presentation about how the Pump House Museum was created and continues to be a highly regarded small Museum of local area history. Dan Aument grew up at Ottawa Beach, and currently serves as the president of the Historic Ottawa Beach Society.

Aug 24 Elissa Checov“Memoir Writing Workshop: review and follow up”

This will be a time for reviewing drafts of memoirs written by people who attended Ms. Checov’s first presentation on writing one’s Ottawa Beach memoirs.

Aug 31 Wayne Tan“ The Ottawa County Poor Farm”

The poorhouse was an essential institution in the medical infrastructure of the country. So important, in fact, that some institution of its kind was mandated by the final governor of the Northwest territory, prior to Michigan’s statehood. Professor Tan defines those who were residents of the Ottawa County Poor Farm as being “poor” of mind, morals, or health.” Among his many awards, Professor Tan has received Certificates of Distinction in Teaching from Harvard University.

Aug 17 Curtis Dykstra“Listening to the Birds”

Can we learn what birds we are hearing around us? Naturist and long-time birder, Curtis Dykstra, will guide an interactive discussion and activity that will help you gain more confidence in listening to and identifying birds, and will open up your mind to a whole new way of enhancing your interaction with the natural world around you. Curtis Dykstra, Ottawa County Parks Naturalist is an avid birder and delights to share this passion with others.