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Past Programming


Making Macomb: A Journey Through 200 Years

February 28 - May 5, 2018

As we celebrate the bicentennial of Macomb-Michigan's third county-we will look back on major accomplishments, significant milestones, key people, and interesting facts that have made Macomb County what it is today. 

Exhibit Highlights: Through artifacts, displays, interpretative panels, presentations and performances, visitors will get a glimpse into the past of our county. A scaled replica of the Gratiot Drive-In and iconic vehicles like a locally built M37 and an F150 from 1950 will highlight the exhibit. Also featured will be personal belongings of the county’s namesake Alexander Macomb, items from other famous Macomb-ites, Macomb-manufactured items like hoop skirts, and many more objects that symbolize significant places, events or people in Macomb County’s history.

Traveling Exhibit: What We Carried: Fragments and Memories from Iraq and Syria
On loan from the Arab American National Museum

One of the largest recent groups of new residents to Macomb County come from the Middle East. This traveling exhibit explores their stories. 

Since 2003, more than four million Iraqis have left their homes and relocated in hopes of creating a better future for themselves and their families in a setting free of war and uncertainty. Many Iraqis sought refuge in Syria only to find another dangerous situation.  Approximately 140,000 of these refugees have immigrated to the U.S., the majority with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and a small memento to remind them of home.

To document their life-changing journey and shed light on the trial and tribulations refugees experience in their search for stability, renowned freelance photographer and author Jim Lommasson has created a project documenting what it means to leave everything behind.  The carried object and the intense personal stories behind them combine to illustrate the common threads that bind all of humanity: the love shared for family, friends and the places people call home.

All of the pieces in this exhibition will be presented in both English and Arabic.

Tall Tales and Folklore: Exploring Michigan's Traditional Stories March 1 - May 6, 2017

Michigan folklore is rich and creative. It includes characters like Paul Bunyan, mysteries like Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance, and a legacy of folksongs. The Lorenzo Cultural Center’s exhibit examines the stories and traditional lore that help shape Michigan’s rich culture. Included will be a traveling exhibit from Michigan State University Museum and artifacts from local museums and collectors, along with displays, speakers, and performers that will teach visitors about our state’s cultural history and how it relates to our daily lives. CLICK HERE for a print friendly copy of our brochure.

The President’s Photographer: 50 Years Inside the Oval Office July 13—October 15, 2016
Produced and traveled by the National Geographic Society

Through both iconic and rarely seen pictures of White House residents and insights from the photographers who chronicled them, visitors will be transported through presidential history, from photos made when the first official presidential photographer was hired in 1963, to today’s unprecedented coverage of Barack Obama. Throughout we are continually reminded of the power of the still image as a tool for understanding our own history. This exhibition of 50 framed and labeled prints features works by many veteran presidential photographers. Assembled by three-time Emmy Award-winner John Bredar, this exhibition features works by veteran presidential photographers David Hume Kennerly (Gerald Ford), David Valdez (George H.W. Bush), Bob McNeely (Bill Clinton), Eric Draper (George W. Bush), Pete Souza (Barack Obama) and many more.

Alongside this National Geographic collection, several little-seen photos of presidential visits to Macomb Community College will be on display.

The 1940s: Through the War and Beyond March 3 - May 7, 2016

As the Great Depression was coming to an end and World War II raged overseas, the seeds of change were being sown on the home front. The 1940s set the stage for major transitions in society, including the rise of the suburbs, the growing civil and women’s rights movements, the early years of the Cold War, and the growth of the middle class.
But the victories and losses of wartime often over-shadowed these cultural and political shifts.

Close to home, Detroit earned the title of “Arsenal of Democracy” when the Motor City applied its manufacturing prowess to making defense materials for the Allies. Meanwhile, shortages and rationing of many goods required that everyone across the country make sacrifices. The war itself ushered in a major change with the controversial dawning of the nuclear age.

Through vignettes, artifact displays, and video presentations, you can explore how these years proved to the nation—and the world—that the people of our country could stand together and overcome enormous obstacles in working toward our goals.

101 People, Places and Things that Made Michigan February 28—May 9, 2015

The Lorenzo Cultural Center examines what made the Michigan of today—from the forces of nature that created the state's geography, through the forces of personality that molded its persona.

Through exhibits, presentations, and activities, we'll explore how the ethos of Michigan was shaped. We'll study the events that created an enduring impact, whether natural or man-made. We'll discover the stories of Michiganders whose actions and lives are intrinsic to how the state relates to the rest of the nation and the world. And, we'll delve into key facets of our state's rich history that help define both the Michigan spirit and experience.

The Roaring Twenties: From Riches to Rags February 22—May 4, 2014

Heralding a dramatic break between America’s past and future, the 1920s ushered in the modern age. For the first time, more Americans lived on cities than on farms, and the nation’s total wealth doubled between 1920 and 1929.

Join the Lorenzo Cultural Center to examine this decade of great social and political change, including:

The Emergence of the “New Woman.” Women during the Roaring Twenties not only voted, but participated by the millions in white-collar workforce, and were liberated from much household drudgery with the advent of canned foods, ready-made clothing, and household appliances.

Prohibition. Prohibition not only contributed to the rise of organized crime, such as the infamous Purple Gang in Detroit, but also provided livelihoods to tens of thousands of southeast Michigan residents engaged in smuggling contraband liquor.

Culture. During the 1920s, America saw a sudden rise in literature, art and music. Radio found its way into virtually every American home, and three-quarters of the population visited a movie theater weekly, giving birth to the mass culture of the Roaring Twenties.

The Gilded Age to the Great War: America at the Turn of the Century February 23—May 5, 2013 

Discover the Gilded Age, Great War, and more!

Discover the stories of American industrialists and the rise of philanthropy as private money supported education, health care, the arts and charities.

Explore the growth of social movements such as women’s suffrage and organized labor, as well as the country’s explosive population growth, fueled by immigrants seeking the American dream. Trace the emerging trends in music, theatre, literature and film, which combined new technologies and unique perspectives to reflect a nascent American culture. Learn about World War I and its roots in the imperialism, militarism, and nationalism that were the byproducts of widespread industrialism.

Changing Gears: The Birth of American Industry September 21—November 18, 2012

Join us at the Lorenzo Cultural Center as we examine the country’s emergence as an international superpower against the backdrop of great social and technological changes.

Trace the evolution of the production of goods, from handcrafting in home businesses to machine-aided production in factories. Discover the big thinkers who not only created a long list of new inventions but also improved existing technology. Explore the transformation of American daily life and the spread of urbanization, spurred by the developing manufacturing industry and major changes in communications, metallurgy, transportation and energy development.

Becoming Michigan: From Revolution to Statehood February 25—May 5, 2012

Join us at the Lorenzo Cultural Center as we bring the state’s early history to life through a wide range of exhibits, presentations and activities.

Explore the places, people and events that were instrumental in the birthing of the only state in the nation comprised of two distinct peninsulas.

Discover the diverse facets of the state’s early history, beginning with many of the historic events and cultural influences that preceded Michigan’s entry into the Union.

Delve into the issues of the times, including the battle for the control of the Great Lakes, the booming fur trade, and the dissension between Native American and early settlers.

Learn about Michigan’s part, including the infamous Surrender of Detroit, in what is sometimes known as the Second American Revolution. The War of 1812 spawned an upsurge in American nationalism and a symbol to support it, The Star Spangled Banner. And, uncover the role the Toledo War, the nearly bloodless boundary dispute between the Sate of Ohio and Territory of Michigan, had in propelling Michigan to statehood in January 1837.

Michigan’s Harvest: Food, Farming & Community September 24—November 20, 2011

How does culture impact what we eat?

And, how does what we eat impact culture?

Join us at the Lorenzo Cultural Center as we explore food as culture. We’ll examine Michigan’s rich agricultural heritage, our diverse ethnic cuisine and our special traditions, tracing how these have impacted our history, regional development and social traditions.

Through exhibits, presentations and activities, we’ll delve into the state’s farming heritage as well as look at modern methods of food production and their impact on food safety. We’ll uncover the roots of culinary traditions, and consider nutrition and its relationship to health. And, we’ll investigate changing perspectives on our relationship to food, from how and where it is produced through the impact that the local foods movement can have on creating and rebuilding vibrant communities.

The 1950s: Affluence and Anxiety in the Atomic Age February 26—May 7, 2011

Join us a the Lorenzo Cultural Center to discover the many often contradictory facets of post-WWII American society. We’ll delve into the decade’s pervasive affluence and drive for societal conformity, the emphasis on the nuclear family, Cold War fears and atomic anxiety, as well as the rise of suburbia.

Through exhibits, presentations, activities and performances, we’ll explore the impact of key political figures, the influence of the nascent medium of television on American culture, the roots of feminism, civil rights activism and rebellion against conformity, as well as the new face of international relations and war.

American Ingenuity: Embracing the Freedom to Dream September 25—November 21, 2010

What is it about Americans and their willingness to explore the unknown, chart new territory and create new possibilities?

Join us this fall at the Lorenzo Cultural Center to discover our American heritage from the perspective of a nation characterized by its unparalleled ability to dream, to invent and to “do.” Through exhibits, presentations and activities, we’ll explore our history through the lens of our great inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs. We’ll study what it is to be creative as well as how to nurture original, inventive thinking. And we’ll look at the question our our future and the importance of encouraging continued resourcefulness and the desire to strike out on the path for something new.

And Still They Prospered: Living Through the Great Depression February 27—May 8, 2010

How did Americans in the 1930s do it?

Where did they find the wherewithal to survive, to maintain hope, to carry on? What can their ability to band together to help each other teach us today?

Join us at the Lorenzo Cultural Center to develop a greater understanding of those challenging times and discover the inspiring acts that carried people through one of the country’s darkest decades. Through exhibits, presentations, activities and performances, we’ll not only explore the context of the financial collapse, the political landscape and the leadership but also focus on the local stories of ingenuity, courage, creativity and compassion that helped Americans transcend the Great Depression.

More Than A Game: How Sports Shape Culture September 16—November 22, 2009

Automobiles aren’t the only obsession of metro Detroiters. Love of sports is woven into the very fabric of the Motor City. In fact, you can trace the claim of Detroit—City of Champions—all the way back to the 1930s, recognizing the success not only of professional teams but also of individuals.

Join us at the Lorenzo Cultural Center to explore through exhibits, presentations and activities how sports are more than just a game. Delve into our rich loyal sports history, relive great moments and accomplishments, explore what makes outstanding athletes tick, and discover the societal influence of sports.

The Sixties: A Decade that Defined a Generation February 28—May 16, 2009

Experience the tumultuous decade of the Sixties, which some say have defined American politics and culture ever since, through exhibits, presentations, performances and hands-on activities.

Explore the politics of the times, including the Cuban Missile Crisis and the space race, civil rights and the Vietnam War, as well as the leaders who helped navigate through both international and domestic issues. Discover life in the 1960s, from popular culture and entertainment to rising social activism and the emerging counterculture.

A Journey of Hope: Michigan’s Immigrant Experience September 27—November 23, 2008

A Journey of Hope: Michigan’s Immigrant Experience provides a multifaceted perspective of the experiences, challenges and dreams of those who left their homelands to make a new life in Michigan. The series offers a variety of exhibits, performances, activities and presentations from subject experts as well as from those who immigrated and forged new lives here.

Learn the reasons behind why different peoples were willing to leave the familiar behind and emigrate to the United States and Michigan. Explore the heritage and stories of many of the major ethnic groups that settled in Michigan and the metro Detroit region. Discover some of the many contributions that these individual ethnic communities have made in developing our state’s and region’s unique character.

Michigan’s Fight for Freedom: The Civil War Era February 27—May 4, 2008

Michigan’s Fight for Freedom offers a multi-dimensional opportunity to delve into the Civil War era through exhibits, presentations, performances and activities highlighting:

Political Prelude to the War, the Underground Railroad, Economic Divergence of the North and South, Life as a Civil War Soldier, and Life on the Home Front.

While 90,000 Michiganders – 50 percent of the military-age male population – served in the Civil War, the iron mines in the Upper Peninsula set production records that fueled industrial growth of the North to meet expanded wartime manufacturing.

Explore the economic, social and ideological context that led to the Civil War and why one historian has referred to it as “the war that never goes away.” Discover the impact of the war though the actual words and stories of the Michigan men and women who served on the battlefront, as well as those who persevered at home. Experience society of the time, including music, literature, journalism and fashion. Meet national and local “personalities” that gained notoriety through their roles in the Civil War.

Great Lakes, Great Stories: Michigan’s Maritime Heritage October 6—December 2, 2007

Dive into the history, legacy and romance of the Great Lakes.

Discover how these remarkable lakes at the heart of North America shaped our state and our southeast Michigan community.

Delve into the Great Lakes’ very beginnings, from their formation in prehistoric times to today’s challenges and successes in preserving this precious environmental and cultural resource.

Great Lakes, Great Stories offers a wide-ranging lineup of exhibits, presentations, activities and performances highlighting:

Carving North America’s Interior Coast

Great Lakes as Marine Superhighway

Lighthouses: Caution Lights of the Superhighway

Shipwrecks: The Challenge of the Lakes’ Great Gales Great Lakes Ecology and Preservation

A Legacy of Service and Courage: The World War II Generation February—May 2007

Celebrate and honor the World War II Generation and their pervasive contributions and influence on modern American Society.

Explore this defining touchpoint in our history through the experiences of those who lived it, as well as exhibits, interactive activities, music and film.

Introducing the Macomb Cultural Center 

Space and Science Exploration: Imagining the Future

September—December 2006

Explore the past. Consider current “reality.” Imagine the future. Discover a new world of exciting cultural and enrichment experiences during the inaugural season of the Macomb Cultural Center.

Lorenzo Cultural Center