Summer of 1816
  • The Summer of 1816: The Year Without a Summer

Wednesday, September 16, 7 p.m.
Contact the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm for online presentation format. 

Museum manager, Pat McKay, will discuss the major climatic events in the world that created a summer along the east coast of the United States with freezing temperatures every month of the year, major crop failures, and panic. By 1817, a westward movement started, enhanced by the opening of the Erie Canal.The settlement of Rochester, Michigan, was part of this migration, the belief of manifest destiny, and the growth of the Midwest.

Museum members are free; $5 admission for non-members. Register at

Thumb fires
  • CANCELED: Michigan's Great Thumb Fires of 1871 & 1881

Wednesday, October 7, 7 p.m.
Online. Contact the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm for online presenation format.

The fires that burned in Michigan’s Thumb in 1871 and 1881 resulted in catastrophic damage to property and wildlife – and remains among the most memorable historic fires in Michigan’s history.  One of the first official disaster relief efforts of the American Red Cross was in response to the Thumb fire of 1881, and some communities would never recover from the scorched trails of destruction.  Author Alan Naldrett pieces together accounts of those who lived through the events and the aftermath. 

Covid 19 and Culture Oct 2020
  • Creativity and Community During Covid-19: A Look at Chinese Social Media

Presenter: Belinda Kong, Associate Professor, Bowdoin College
Oct. 12, 5:30 p.m.
Oakland University Online Program

Bowdoin College Associate Professor Belinda Kong shows how ordinary people in China use social media to create community amidst Covid-19.

As we know, Covid-19 has generated an abundance of coronavirus memes, jokes, and songs on the US internet since March. Less recognized, perhaps, is that Chinese social media too exploded with cultural expressions of epidemic life from January onward. Ordinary people in Wuhan and across the Sinophone world documented their experiences under quarantine, created impromptu videos and music to share with others in solidarity, and actively fostered a culture of pandemic humor amid the uncertainties in the early days of Covid. These social media practices may appear too small to be politically or socially significant, but it is precisely through these small acts that common people engaged in everyday forms of social and cultural agency, producing alternative communities and building up a meaningful sense of peopleness outside of official party rhetoric.

Belinda Kong is Associate Professor of Asian Studies and English at Bowdoin College. Her research and teaching focus on Asian American and Chinese diaspora literature. Her current book project, "What Lived Through SARS: Chronicles of Pandemic Resilience," examines cultures of epidemic life at the epicenters of the 2003 SARS outbreak.

Generously funded by Student Affairs & Diversity at Oakland University.



WWII Anzio Beach
  • The United States' World War II Strategy to Enter Europe and End the War

Wednesday, November 11, 7 p.m.
Contact the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm for online presentation format.

In 1943, the United States and Allied military forces left Africa to invade Sicily as its first step towards its major objective of invading Europe’s “underbelly” in Italy. This presentation from Frank Cardimen, Oakland University professor and Smart Towns co-founder, will follow the USA’s initial entrance to Europe via Sicily and travel through Italy and France to Germany for the next two years until the end of World War II in May 1945. The initial invasion success of Sicily in August 1943 was possible by a remarkable and improbable British diversion plan about “The Man Who Never Was” that resulted in Germany focusing its defense on the island of Sardinia and Greece rather than Sicily to confront this allied invasion force.

Museum members are free; $5 admission for non-members. Register at