Photo provided by the Rochester HIlls Museum at Van Hoosen Farm

Museum’s March lecture series in Rochester Hills highlights women’s history

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published February 27, 2019


ROCHESTER HILLS — The Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm is giving the public a chance to celebrate women in history with a month of history programs.

The museum’s annual Women’s History Lecture Series will feature a variety of presentations at 7 p.m. each Thursday in March.

Pat McKay, the museum’s manager, said there is a strong women’s history story tied to the museum. Five generations of the Taylor and Van Hoosen families lived, raised their families and worked the land on Van Hoosen Farm — including physician, author and advocate Bertha Van Hoosen and her niece Sarah Van Hoosen Jones, a pioneer in animal genetics.

Oftentimes in history, McKay said, women’s contributions were not reported in local newspapers, so there are very few sources of good information. He said this lecture series aims to change that.

“We do these kinds of programs to try and shed light and open eyes that weren’t open in their contemporary time,” he said. “Ultimately, these stories are meant to provide leadership and inspiration to our community, both men and women. It’s to inspire a modern-day audience that you go out, and no matter the obstacles you’re facing or what the challenges are, you see in history what people have done and the obstacles they have overcome, and it inspires you to do the same thing — to go out and do great things. So that’s what we hope happens.”

“We want to recognize the many successful and influential women in our history,” said Michele Dunham, the museum’s program coordinator.

Now in its third year, the Women’s History Lecture Series will kick off March 7 with “Petticoat Patriots: How Michigan Women Won the Vote,” presented by Riley Hubbard.

Hubbard, of MichiganWomenForward, formerly the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame, will share the story of how Michigan women won the vote.

On March 14, attendees can learn about “At Home and Over There: American Women Physicians in World War I,” presented by Ann Drolet, the student president of the American Medical Women’s Association, which was founded by Bertha Van Hoosen in 1915.

McKay said the museum is proud to share the American Medical Women’s Association exhibition and documentary that celebrate the contributions of the women who, although they were not permitted the same military rank and privilege as their male colleagues, made lasting contributions to the war efforts.

On March 21, Megan Badgley-Malone will present “Buildings of MSU and the Women They Honor.” Although many buildings at Michigan State University bear the names of women, Dunham said, seldom are their stories heard. Badgley-Malone will share their stories, including that of Van Hoosen Hall, which she said was named after Sarah Van Hoosen Jones.

“Women Who Changed America,” by Marie Papciak, will close out the series March 28. During the presentation, Papciak will transform into two women who changed America — Bessie Coleman and Laura Smith Haviland — and she will tell their stories in first person.

All programs are free to museum members and cost $5 per session for nonmembers. To pre-register, visit, email or call (248) 656-4663.