Detroit Historical Society CEO on ‘Telling Detroit Stories and Why They Matter’

Bob Bury says this year’s reflection on the unrest of 1967 “was really transformational in so many ways.”

Jake Neher/WDET

As a community, Detroit recently went through a deep and important conversation about our past as the city and region reflected on the 50th anniversary of the civil unrest of 1967.

Many cultural and educational organizations participated in work that took a hard and critical look at those days in the summer of ’67, what caused them, and how we move forward as a community.

The Detroit Historical Society is always asking those questions about Detroit’s past. But CEO and Executive Director Bob Bury tells Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson this summer’s work had a major impact, including on the Historical Society itself.

“It was really transformational in so many ways,” says Bury.

“It really enabled us to really change our focus going forward… We took a change in our tagline and our mission, really, is telling Detroit stories and why they matter.”

“We really connected it with, why does it matter today? And why does it matter in the future?” he says. “It really told us very quickly that we had to not look at a week in July in 1967, but look at a 150-year period. The story we chose to tell starts in 1917… and it goes forward to 2067. There’s a big section of the exhibition that talks about moving forward.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


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