Charity Appeal: Celebrity Influence in Times of Crisis

It might seem counterintuitive that entertainment and cultural icons thrive during tremendous times of hardship, but history has proven it true. 

Toledo’s Timeline Historians

Vintage whiskey bottles, faded newspaper clippings and lengthy historical descriptions are perhaps most likely to be found in a small, eclectic museum. But Toledo, Ohio’s history buffs have found an unlikely place for archiving, research and lasting connection: Facebook. With as many as 15,000+ members and 20+ posts a day that garner hundreds of comments and reactions in a single group, the community is one of the most lively public forums in the mid-sized Midwestern town.

Billboards and the Re-imagination of the American Landscape

Few things are quite as Midwestern as long, open roads on monotonously flat stretches of land, broken up by fantastically mismatched billboards...

Ope! The Midwest on Twitter

Geography, politics and demographics are all typical ways we define regions, but Twitter account @midwestern_ope demonstrates a more creative approach: jokes, memes & good ol’ fashioned self-deprecation that make fun of but also highlight the people and day-to-day characteristics of the Midwest. In the process, these tweets highlight Midwestern identity in a manner often left out of the national conversation recently focused on the region’s politics.

The Quiet Revolution of Midwestern Speech

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

The Power of Place and the Tradition of American Symbols

At a moment of social unrest motivated by a struggle for racial justice and framed by a pandemic, protesters haven’t sought policy changes alone; they’ve also sought to recast other facets of our society, including long-standing monuments. A look back in time shows that the ensuing debate on monuments is not a new conversation in American history.

The Politics of Midwestern Identity & Racial Divides

The nationwide protests spurred by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis have brought a magnifying glass on the Midwestern city—its people,...

“Got Milk?” The COVID-19 Food Dilemma: Part II, the Food Chain Disruption

Don’t cry over spilled milk? Well, you’re lucky if you’ve got any milk at all. In part II of our two-part series on the grocery, we talk about how the current crisis is affecting the massive network behind the storefront. COVID-19 is forcing us to re-examine systems that have been in place for hundreds of years, including the food supply chain. Once a robust system maximizing efficiency and profit, the brokenness of the American food system is a shock to consumers and industry leaders alike. Can the problems be a blessing in disguise? How might these pressure points shed light on industry practices, and lead to social and environmental gain?

Digital Exhibition: “Monuments for Small-Town Life” from the Harvard Graduate School of Design

"At a time when recent political developments brought back the attention to the small towns of the American Midwest, the studio proposes...

Harvard Architecture Students Imagine “Monuments for Small-Town Life” in Clyde, Ohio

In January of 2020, Midstory partnered with an architecture studio at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design to host an exhibit of student work premised on designing a community gathering space for the city of Clyde, OH. The Midstory Team sat down with course instructor and architect Pier Paolo Tamburelli to learn about the premise and to share with the Midwest audience the beauty, critical reflection and, ultimately, kindness from the possibility of new collective life in Small-Town, USA.

Read more

Charity Appeal: Celebrity Influence in Times of Crisis

It might seem counterintuitive that entertainment and cultural icons thrive during tremendous times of hardship, but history has proven it true. 

Entropic Peace in Isolation: Revisiting Yayoi Kusama’s Fireflies on the Water in 2020

The Toledo Museum of Art exhibition program brought together a special presentation of Yayoi Kusama’s Fireflies on the Water installation, just for a global pandemic to hit soon after. Despite what seemed to be a major set-back, COVID-19 has instead transformed Fireflies on the Water into a deeper reflection into what isolation and the individual mean in the chaos of 2020. What was once an incomprehensible escapist dream is now a sober dissolution into universal existentialism.

The 2020 Election Dilemma: How Ohio has Handled Voting During the Pandemic

The 2020 presidential election stands to be one of the most complex and highly anticipated U.S. elections in recent history, primarily because...

Toledo ABCs

Toledo ABCs is a mini-series that highlights, from A to Z, just a sampling of those aspects that make Toledo unique and, in some cases, world-renowned. Designed to be viewed individually or as a set, the graphics use archival images, photography and white space constrained by typeface outlines to memorialize the beauty and significance in what we often might see as mundane.

Sustained Outrage in the Fight Against the Opioid Epidemic: A Review of Death in Mud Lick

Pulitzer-prize winner Eric Eyre’s new book exposes how hard drug distributors work to keep eyes off of their numbers and how important it is for journalists to keep looking. In the small towns of America, it can literally mean life or death. The opinions expressed in this series are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect any official organizational stance. Cover graphic by Ruth Chang for Midstory.