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Mendhi hands by Pushpa Jain. Photographer unknown. All rights reserved.Fish decoy. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Embroidered dress detail. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Cedar bird by Glen VanAntwerp. Photo by Al Kamuda. All rights reserved.
Michigan 4-H History Project

About the Project

The goals of the Michigan 4-H History Project are to:
  • develop an historical collection of 4-H memorabilia that
    documents the Michigan 4-H experience;
  • to tell a collective story of 4-H in Michigan;
  • to involve many people in the documentation process -- current and former 4-Hers, 4-H volunteers, and 4-H staff, and others in the community;
  • to document 4-H history from a personal perspective, as told in oral history interviews;
  • to collect and preserve Michigan's 4-H history;
  • to present the Michigan 4-H story in an exhibit during the Centennial and beyond.
You can participate by seeing the historical exhibit, donating your 4-H memorabilia, interviewing someone about their experiences in 4-H, being interviewed, or helping fund the project by individual donations.

Donate to the Michigan 4-H History Project Collection

Items we are looking for include (but are not limited to):
  • corn projects
  • electrical project
  • 4-H aprons
  • TV science project
  • woodworking projects
  • model rocket projects
  • wartime projects
  • pet project notebooks
  • club written histories
  • 4-H bulletins
  • home furnishing project
  • bicycle project
  • posters advertising local 4-H events
  • Club Congress memorabilia
  • Club Week memorabilia
  • Exploration Days memorabilia
  • 4-H summer camp materials
  • community service projects from recent times
  • photographs showing 4-Hers doing activities
  • things made from 4-H ribbons (quilts, clothing, pillows)
Collection Policy

4-H Records at the MSU Archives and Historical Collections
    When 4-H offices no longer regard files and documents as current, active files, staff transfers these items to the MSU Archives where they are kept as part of the official University records. 4-H offices both on and off campus are considered part of the University. Documents that originate from the 4-H office, written or received by the staff and in possession of the 4-H office are items that should be transferred. The MSU Archives maintains historical records from every county 4-H office and the state office dating back to the early 1900s. Records such as written reports by agents and state leaders, correspondence, photographs, newsletters, and bulletins comprise the bulk of the collection. The record is incomplete and the process a continuous one; as 4-H staff discover historical materials in their offices, and as time goes on, they transfer materials to the archives to create a centralized collection. This collection is the record of the 4-H organization.

    For more information, contact:
The Michigan 4-H History Collection at the MSU Museum
    The collection of 4-H historical materials here will be decidedly different than the MSU Archives. While the materials at the Archives are documents generated by the 4-H organization, the collections the MSU Museum seeks are items collected by individuals. These will be objects, photographs, tape-recorded interviews, papers, and other materials a person collected during their lifetime regarding their experiences with 4-H. Private individuals will donate the bulk of the materials collected. Three-dimensional objects belonging to 4-H offices, such as banners, flags, posters, 4-H clothing, pins, and the like, will also be collected at the MSU Museum.

    For more information, contact: Betsy Knox, knoxe@msu.edu
Recent Donations to the Michigan 4-H History Collection at the MSU Museum:
  • A Kalkaska County 4-Her's memorabilia from a trip to National Club Congress in Chicago
  • A handmade 4-H apron from a former Saginaw County 4-Her
  • 4-H Club Leader Lives Here sign, donated by a Saginaw County 4-H leader
  • 4-H Exploration Days felt pennant
How to Donate Money
    Helping to fund the continued care and preservation of the permanent 4-H History Collection is something you can do that will have a long-lasting impact. As the collection at the MSU Museum grows, adequate storage materials and staffing will be necessary to ensure proper care of the collection.

    You may send your donation for Michigan 4-H History Project collections care to:
Oral History Project

This project is for current and former 4-Hers, 4-H leaders and staff. We invite you to participate as an interviewer or an interviewee! Current 4-Hers are encouraged to conduct interviews with their current leaders, and others in their communities who were involved in 4-H as kids, as volunteers, or as staff. 4-Hers can conduct interviews as individuals or in groups as a FOLKPATTERNS project.

To purchase a copy of The Michigan 4-H History Project: Collection Manual and Oral History Interviewing Guide, contact LuAnne Kozma at 517-353-5526

Visit these 4-H Centennial websites

2003 Michigan State University