Michigan State University Premieres “The Living History Project”
Mini-documentary series on Michigan residents aged 85 and older created by CAS students and professors premiered April 15th at MSU
College of Communication Arts & Sciences faculty and students debuted on April 15, 2015 from 6-8 p.m. “The Living History Project: Stories Told by Michigan’s Oldest Old” in the CAS Building (404 Wilson Road E. Lansing, MI 48824) in Room 145.
The project features stories of Michigan residents aged 85 and older and a dress made of photos from the life of 95-year-old Ronnie Fagin, a former Kindergarten teacher and a current Zumba and kickboxing enthusiast. Other stories capture historical events that influenced the lives of a dozen other oldest old members - a World War II Veteran, a Holocaust survivor, a leader in Detroit politics and others. What we also learn from these individuals are secrets to a long life.
A team of CAS students led by Associate Professor of Journalism Geri Alumit Zeldes include Jennifer Cermak, Asha Dawsey, Eva Nienhouse, Andrea Raby, Gabriela Saldivia, Carmen Scruggs, Anna Shaffer and Matt Simpson. The project is a collaboration with Dr. Linda Keilman of the College of Nursing and Professor Eric Freedman of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. In October 2014, four of the stories and the dress was recognized as a Top 25 exhibit in the Public Vote time-based (performance, video, film and other interactive mediums) category in the Art Prize competition in Grand Rapids, Mich., the largest, open-entry art competition in the world.
Before the premiere of the stories, there was a presentation at 6 p.m. by Lorrie Lynch, the Entertainment and Lifestyle editor for AARP magazine. AARP the Magazine and AARP Bulletin are ranked number one and two in circulation for magazines in the U.S., and target readers age 50 and older. The stories began showing at 7 p.m. followed by a panel consisting of those profiled in the film: W. Scott Westerman, Jr., Helen Glass and David Fried, an MSU PhD student and grandson of one of our sources – Katherine Sattler.
In May, which is also Older Americans month, five of the 15 stories created for the project will air on the WKAR 90.5 FM, the NPR affiliate in East Lansing. You can listen to the stories on WKAR’s Current State pprogram, a daily newsmagazine. You can see the stories on itunes or YouTube.