At the Zeeland Historical Society, we preserve our history so our children can discover their roots. We curate thoughtful exhibits so visitors can be inspired to reflect on the world around them. We teach about the past so this understanding can allow us to create better futures. This calling to create connections Is what drove us to create the Zeeland Welcome Center coming in June 2023. It will serve as the first stop for tourists and locals who are seeking to deeply connect with our community.
Compliment to Zeeland's Development
Zeeland is evolving an already vibrant downtown into an expanded district with snow melt, additional housing, and more retail. Many projects are underway, including the adaptive restoration of the historic Sligh Furniture factory. The Zeeland Welcome Center partners with these plans to enhance the walkability and accessibility of downtown.
Heritage Design for Future Hospitality
The Zeeland Welcome Center is housed in the Dekker Huls Museum, which has been showcasing local history in downtown Zeeland for 47 years. It features the preserved 1876 home of early residents Dirk and Leuntje Dekker as well as other exhibits on local businesses, people, and places. Funding from Zeeland Board of Public Works supported renovations to the gallery and hospitality space. The renovation further nods to mid-century modern design due to the rich heritage of this significant movement in West Michigan. MillerKnoll donated much of the furniture for the space. The Welcome Center will be launched along with a temporary exhibit on the history of Herman Miller that runs from June-December 2023.
Connection for Tourists and Locals
The Zeeland Welcome Center serves as a connection point for businesses, Individuals, and community groups. It will host Information on churches, restaurants, and local events. Future resources will be developed based on Inquiry data. Self-guided tours will be available including the Zeeland Downtown Walking Tour and Veneklassen Brick Driving Tour.
Always Available Online
The Zeeland Welcome Center is available online at zeelandmi.org. This website includes information on restaurants, churches, and other attractions. This website and the walking tours were funded by a grant from the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council.
Connection is at the Center
West Michigan is known for fostering creative partnerships for the betterment of the community. The Zeeland Welcome Center will be a place of connection and partnership. It will be a place that the Holland Visitor's Bureau can direct visitors seeking information on Zeeland. It's a collaboration with the City of Zeeland to partner with their fantastic events, downtown district, and planned development. It's a place for Zeeland residents to learn more about their community and for Zeeland visitors to have a meaningful experience.
Written by: Katelyn Bosch VerMerris, Director of the Zeeland Historical Society
This article was originally published in the West Coast Way Magazine published by the West Coast Chamber of Commerce.