The Calumet Heritage Partnership’s 21st Annual Calumet Heritage Conference was held virtually October 17-22 and featured scholars, artists, museum professionals, and advocates sharing their voice around the theme of Calumet Voices/National Stories. The eight different sessions told stories of the national significance of the Calumet Region through their collective and diverse experiences. Presenters spoke about their own efforts to save and interpret the region’s heritage as well as those who built the Calumet Region and the living landscapes we now inhabit.
Conference sessions began with a philosophical exploration of transforming Gary’s City Methodist Church into a ruins garden, and a “couch tour” of the region’s most endangered landmarks. Presentations continued with the creation of the Calumet Voices/National Stories exhibition series, a decades-long project to save and house artifacts from the shuttered Acme Steel plant, the deep heritage of an artesian well in Gary, Gary’s legacy as an arts mecca, and the Tuskegee Airmen’s beginnings in Robbins, Illinois. The closing session brought together muralists who restored Blue Island’s storied Mexican American Workers Mural.

Conference Materials

Conference Program

Presenter Biographies

National Designation Information