The Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center at WMU

The Archives and Regional History Collections at Western Michigan University have the responsibility and honor of housing historical documents from across the region and state, as well as providing an accessible location that allows for research and learning. A new building is under construction on Oakland Drive that will bring together all of the regional history and archives collections. The Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center (Center) will offer an environment conducive to discovering the past while welcoming the greater community to research and learn.

The state-of-the-art building will not only feature spacesaving storage technology that will make all documents easy to access, but also provide climate controls to preserve the condition of those items. The building is aiming for LEED Certification through the use of sustainable materials and efficient heating, cooling, and electrical operations. The Center will preserve the documents of the past and allow for the continual growth of the collections by providing a place for the community, and future generations, to celebrate history.

The Center, set for completion in the fall of 2013, is not just an educational asset, it is also a community resource. In 1962 the University Archives and Regional History Collections were designated as a repository for regional history by the Michigan Historical Commission. The collection contains documents from 12 southwest Michigan counties including court documents, civil records, photographs, maps, and more. Holdings include the archives for the Kalamazoo Gazette, letters from the Civil War, and the French-Michilimackinac Research and Translation Project. Free and open to the public, the Center will serve as an accessible resource for the entire southwest Michigan community. From K-12 students working on school assignments, to youth engaged in projects for their after-school programs, to college students conducting research for history theses, to adults exploring family histories, the Center will be open to all.