America has a fresh water problem. Here’s why.

America's fresh water is in danger. The Great Lakes hold roughly 20% of the world’s surface freshwater, and Lake Erie alone provides drinking water to more than 11 million residents in the United States. But serious water quality, access and infrastructure problems are threatening our fresh water future.

How the Van Aken District Brought New Life to Shaker Heights: An Illustration Essay

The Van Aken District was once a glorified strip mall with more parking space than storefronts, but thanks to a strategic plan designed to help improve Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, the District has been revitalized into a vibrant, welcoming space for dining, shopping and community gatherings.

Speaking Chinglish in Milwaukee: How Heritage Languages Shape the AAPI Experience

Within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, language learning and bilingual fluency levels vary widely, affecting how AAPI individuals navigate the world and communicate with others.

Remembering Elektro, Mansfield and the “World of Tomorrow”

For nearly two decades, a futuristic robot and his robo-dog sidekick amazed the nation — a spectacular vision of the world to come. Then, they disappeared. Fast forward half a century and a basement, storage room and retired Westinghouse truck later, and Elektro and his pup reappeared, restored, in their birthplace of Mansfield, Ohio.

Resettlement to Revitalization: Toledo’s History of Immigration

Between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a period of rapid growth for Toledo, immigrants played an essential role in building Toledo’s economy, infrastructure, cultural heritage and even ecological landscapes. Today, as Toledo works to revitalize its economy and overcome ongoing trends of depopulation, looking to the past may provide valuable insights. If immigrants built Toledo yesterday, could they rebuild it today? This article is the first in a series titled “Resettlement to Revitalization,” which explores the past, present and future of immigration to the city.

How Climate Change is Transforming how the Midwest Farms

Across the United States, and particularly in the Midwest, a multitude of industries depend on the agricultural success of the nation’s farmers. Climate change is altering how farmers have to approach their jobs by causing irregularity in a crucial resource: water.

The Attraction of Food Service Work Is Plummeting. And Delivery Robots are Thriving.

As food service personnel decreased, delivery robots became an asset to many colleges and restaurants. Then, when delivery demand boomed during the pandemic, the robots’ utility increased even more. The robots provide food establishments with cost-effective replacements for deliverers—but they’re not a solution to the low wages that pushed many to leave the food service industry in the first place.

Building the Midwest’s Carbon-free Future with Nuclear Energy

llinois has a long history of nuclear energy development, innovation and research. In 2021, researchers and engineers throughout the region say new, safer nuclear technologies will be essential to decarbonizing the American energy system. True to its past, Illinois is playing a leading role in the development and deployment of these new technologies, this time with a focus on addressing the climate crisis.

The Politics of Midwestern Identity & Racial Divides

As protests and unrest continue, Midstory considers the Midwestern identity and the role the region has historically played in civil rights progress.

How Wisconsin Ginseng Became a Globally Coveted Commodity

Wisconsin is the number one producer of ginseng in the U.S. with ginseng products that are coveted nationally and internationally. The healing herb highlights the unique commercial and cultural interconnectedness of Asian communities across the globe with communities in the rural Midwest.

Bollywood, Hollywood and the Globalization of Socially-conscious Film: A Review of 3 Idiots

Amidst ever-increasing globalization, American audiences are slowly beginning to recognize international film industries, as evidenced by South Korea’s Parasite (2019) being the first non-English-language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. As production companies pull rights for their content to start their own streaming services, platforms like Amazon Prime Video have found competitive avenues through hosting international films and television (think K-drama and European crime shows), opening up accessibility to global film industries.

Hidden in Plain Sight the GBS
The Quiet Revolution of Midwestern Speech

For decades, the Midwest was the example of perfect, accent-less English. Now, increasing dialectic quirks are changing that perception, and with it, Midwestern identity.

South to Midwest: My Grandfather’s Great Migration

Through conversations with her grandfather, the author unpacks his personal history during the Civil Rights Movement and the Great Migration—one that paved the way for generations to come. Read his story and listen to excerpts from the interview.

ezgif.com-resize

The path that brought us to Toledo was a winding one. In a way, you could say that we were brought here by the birth of our first child. Our beautiful baby girl was born on the evening of August 20th, 2016 in Bismarck, North Dakota.

We inform.

We interpret.

We inspire.

The Latest
Creative Multimedia Storytelling + Solutions-oriented Projects

One Man’s Quest to Make “America’s Museum” in Youngstown, Ohio

In the early 20th century, Americans were infatuated with international (read: European) art, as people clamored to buy pieces by famous artists like Renoir and Monet. It wasn’t until 1919 that the first institute dedicated solely to American art opened in Youngstown, OH. The Butler Institute of Art is still one of Ohio’s most popular museums today, and the rich history of its founder, Joseph G. Butler Jr., led to the Institute’s focus on representation and access for all Americans.

Reviving a Lost Indigenous Language

When Daryl Baldwin was growing up, the last speakers of his heritage language were passing away; as of a few decades ago, that language — Myaamia — was definitionally extinct. As the director of the Myaamia Center in Oxford, Ohio, he has been working to revive it through a partnership between the Miami Tribe and the University of Miami,...

Manufacturing the Midwest II: Building an Industrial Future

American manufacturing production jobs are more concentrated in the Midwest than in any other region. Well into the 21st century, manufacturing remains a fundamental part of the region’s identity, and is still central to ideas of economic prosperity.

Manufacturing the Midwest I: Tracing Toledo’s Industrial Past

Cities like Cleveland, Cincinnati and Detroit are shaking off the Rust Belt moniker — or, in some cases, embracing it in a new era. But in some Midwestern, mid-sized cities, recovery is lagging as the memory of high quality manufacturing jobs remains wishful reminiscing.  While some cities are hoping to expand their tech and medical industries to pave the way...

Building an Empire for the Birds in Northwest Ohio

If you’ve never heard the word “ecotourism” before, you can probably guess what it means (here’s the Merriam-Webster definition in case you want to check). You may be picturing resorts preserving rare turtle populations on tropical islands or national parks in Kenya that draw tourists to see elephants, zebras, lions and wildebeests. What you probably aren’t thinking of is...

Editor's Picks

Latest COVID-19 Updates

Malls across the country have been closing one after another, leaving behind not only abandoned buildings, but also renewed interest in what malls mean to people, why they are disappearing in the first place and what can be done to save them.
https://www.midstory.org/the-midwestern-mall-not-quite-gone-and-not-quite-forgotten

"From one 'Michael Jackson' to Michael Yakumithis, the seemingly arbitrary name fatefully given to my great-grandfather when he arrived in this country, has become the foundation of our Toledo story, passed down as though it were a family heirloom."
https://www.midstory.org/becoming-michaels-from-ellis-island-to-toledo/

In a world shifting towards a small number of languages, organizations across the Midwest are revitalizing indigenous languages as a way to reclaim culture & promote diversity.
https://www.midstory.org/reviving-a-lost-indigenous-language/

Load More...

Video
Videos that explore the post-industrial landscape and the many narratives within

Stories empower.

They uplift.

They clarify.

Projects
Solutions-oriented, research-based projects in collaboration with leading experts and academics