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.

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.

Bringing Home the Bacon: A Review of Okja

The world seems to be growing increasingly complicated, as evidenced by the past several decades, years or even months of—well, everything. And with more problems come more proposed solutions; how do we solve the coronavirus pandemic, systemic racism, political division or world hunger? But behind every solution is a who, a what and a why. This is exactly what South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho confronts us with in his Netflix original Okja: as an egotistical CEO hailing from a powerful family proposes to solve world hunger with a new species of super-pigs bred for their meat, complications soon arise that question the validity of such a solution, as well as whose problems it ultimately solves.

Jeans: They’re more than just pants.

Jeans—from their humble origins in the working class to their role in the denim-filled fashion of the ‘90s—are regarded as a clothing staple throughout the world. By delving into the history of these pants, one can discover a deeper relationship between what we wear and the society we live in.

Mobility in Crisis, Part III: Can Amtrak Midwest Ride Out the Pandemic?

The pandemic has halted progress for public transit systems nationwide, but Amtrak’s Director of Government Affairs for the Midwest discusses why the region was struggling with passenger rail long before COVID-19 and how we might move forward.

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.

What the Midwest Might Yet Be: A Review of Midwest Futures

The questions of what the Midwest is and who Midwesterners are have long been a subject of great debate with unsatisfactory answers. Now, in his new book Midwest Futures, Phil Christman offers his own answer—not by describing or defining, but by identifying the forces that have long shaped America’s heartland.

COVID-19 Risk Assessment for Ohio: Identifying Risks for Ongoing Reopening and Resilience to Future Hazards

As our researchers watched Ohio’s response to the pandemic, they wished to contribute meaningfully toward the next stage of disaster response and help to prepare our state for future crises. This risk assessment brief is a comprehensive look, county by county, of factors that put Ohio’s populations at risk for COVID-19, including socio-economic status, mobility, race, overcrowded housing and more.

Can We Be Re-infected with COVID-19? Answers from Immune System Experts

Recently, reported cases of “re-infection”—people testing positive only months after a previous instance of COVID-19—have led to worries about how our immune system responds to COVID-19. We speak with Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunobiology from Yale School of Medicine, and Dr. Sydney Ramirez, a researcher at La Jolla Institute for Immunology, about our immune response and immunity to COVID-19.

The Midpoint

The Midpoint is a platform for regional and national dialogues in health, policy, society, culture, the arts & more.

Film, Storytelling & the Midwest: A One-on-one with Brandon Li

The Midstory Team chats with Brandon Li, a travel videographer, about his unique style of filmmaking, the impacts of the pandemic on the travel and videography industry and his perspective as a nomad who grew up in and left the Midwest.

Public Libraries: Reopening & Addressing Social Inequities

The Midstory Team chats with Jason Kucsma, the director of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library, about the evolving role of the libraries during the crisis, the move of library resources toward digital infrastructure and considerations on policies for reopening.

What We Can Learn from Taiwan’s COVID-19 Response

The Midstory Team chats with Dr. Shao-Hsuan Hsia, the director of the Division of Pediatric Respiratory Therapy and the Chief of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taipei, about Taiwan's response to the pandemic, social responsibilities and the state of public health in Taiwan.

Film

A film review series that examines how cinema expands our understanding of city identity and how reemerging cityscapes in the post-industrial age have influenced cinema.

Bringing Home the Bacon: A Review of Okja

The world seems to be growing increasingly complicated, as evidenced by the past several decades, years or even months of—well, everything. And with more problems come more proposed solutions; how do we solve the coronavirus pandemic, systemic racism, political division or world hunger? But behind every solution is a who, a what and a why. This is exactly what South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho confronts us with in his Netflix original Okja: as an egotistical CEO hailing from a powerful family proposes to solve world hunger with a new species of super-pigs bred for their meat, complications soon arise that question the validity of such a solution, as well as whose problems it ultimately solves.

A Murder Mystery of Privilege & Politics: A Review of Knives Out

The palace—a potent symbol of wealth with its intricately-embellished architecture, remote and wide-open spaces and Instagram-worthy scenery—is a place that is far removed from the rest of society, often gated off and separated by a long driveway to keep out the woes (and the people) of the real world. Rian Johnson’s (The Last Jedi, Looper) 2019 mystery-comedy Knives Out is a movie of veneers and misdirection situated in such a palatial mansion.

War! Who Is It Good For? A Review of Da 5 Bloods

Da 5 Bloods, this June’s Netflix-exclusive Spike Lee joint, opens with archival footage from the American Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam...

Public Health

Articles looking at the state of public health during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

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.

COVID-19 Risk Assessment for Ohio: Identifying Risks for Ongoing Reopening and Resilience to Future Hazards

As our researchers watched Ohio’s response to the pandemic, they wished to contribute meaningfully toward the next stage of disaster response and help to prepare our state for future crises. This risk assessment brief is a comprehensive look, county by county, of factors that put Ohio’s populations at risk for COVID-19, including socio-economic status, mobility, race, overcrowded housing and more.

Can We Be Re-infected with COVID-19? Answers from Immune System Experts

Recently, reported cases of “re-infection”—people testing positive only months after a previous instance of COVID-19—have led to worries about how our immune system responds to COVID-19. We speak with Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunobiology from Yale School of Medicine, and Dr. Sydney Ramirez, a researcher at La Jolla Institute for Immunology, about our immune response and immunity to COVID-19.

The Midwest in Literature

A book review series that examines and expands our understanding of city identity and other themes in Midwestern literature.

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.

What the Midwest Might Yet Be: A Review of Midwest Futures

The questions of what the Midwest is and who Midwesterners are have long been a subject of great debate with unsatisfactory answers. Now, in his new book Midwest Futures, Phil Christman offers his own answer—not by describing or defining, but by identifying the forces that have long shaped America’s heartland.

The Unsung Poetry of Working-class Women: A Review of The Daughters of Erietown

Author Connie Schultz told a Glamour reporter in July that until hearing Bruce Springsteen’s music, “I didn't realize that our people lead...

Think

Thought pieces about different themes and subjects in the Midwest.

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...

Interactive

Interactive projects on Toledo's cultural, historical, and innovative destinations.

Lake Erie Park and Casino: A Text Adventure

Click below to begin. The early 20th century was a transformative period...

Lost in the Pythian Castle: A Text Adventure

It's late. You're on the edge of an empty parking lot in downtown Toledo.

Timeline of the Skyline: Toledo’s Horizon through the Years

You may not immediately recognize this skyline as Toledo's: "Timeline of the Skyline" is an interactive project showing a chronological representation of Toledo's horizon. Click on a specific building on the timeline below to learn more about its history and present...

In the Midst

An exploration of the cultural, historical, and innovative products of Toledo.

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The Reopening of a Library (and a Legacy): Anna C. Mott and the Future of Libraries

Today, libraries are about more than just reading and studying. With the new Mott Library location, the changing space of the library is given the name...

The Cannaley Treehouse Project: A Space of Intersection

The “midstory” is the middle tier in a canopy of trees—a balancing force that provides coverage to the lower story and support...

Living La Vie en Rose at Boyd’s Retro Candy

A few years ago, I heard a rumor about the city deciding to bring in public opinion before it embarked on a project to...

Home in the Swamp

Toledo, the Great Black Swamp, and the region’s settlement history.

The Forgotten History of Ohio’s Indigenous Peoples

In a landmark case this July, the Supreme Court ruled that about half of Oklahoma is Native American land, a decision that...

Trailblazers of the Great Black Swamp: 31 Miles, 31 Taverns

If you’ve ever driven from Perrysburg to Fremont or Fremont to Perrysburg—or anywhere along the way, for that matter—you’ve experienced a pleasant, roughly 40-minute...

Memoirs of a Toledo Childhood

The recollections and reflections of Michael Murray, a Toledoan born and raised in the South Side in the 1950s.

Memoirs of a Toledo Childhood: “Someday I Will Own It”

In 1977, I bought my dream house at 2210 Robinwood Avenue in the Historic Old West End. I first spotted this home when I...

Memoirs of a Toledo Childhood: Paper Deliveries

Every day after school I would ride my bike to the Blade station at Carlton and Spencer Street. I learned the art of pitching...

Memoirs of a Toledo Childhood: Hand-me-downs

My parents’ house payment was $52 a month back in the '50s. We had nothing, and there were no extras; we had one pair...

l👀k

The story of an individual experiencing Toledo through weekly journal entries, finding beauty in the ordinary, everyday things.

(Re)claiming Toledo Legacies

The Toledo legacies that shaped the past and continue to shape our present and future.

(Re)claiming Toledo Legacies: SSOE and Post-Industry Innovation

The Toledo we know today was made in industry and manufacturing; WWII and the subsequent economic boom made Midwestern city centers the iconic American...

Finding a Midstory in Environmental Crisis: The Toledo Plastics Project

Everyone now knows that there is an island of plastic sitting in the middle of the ocean, and, most recently, that companies like Starbucks...

From Luxury Living to Beer Brewing: The Oliver House’s Adaptive Life Through the Centuries (Of Industries)

Toledo’s Alegae Bloom will return this year on August 2. No, not the one filled with toxic microcystins—although this one is just as vibrantly...

Toledo | On The Map

We compare and contrast Toledo with cities across the globe, focusing on crucial issues our city faces today.

TOLEDO | ON THE MAP: New York City & the Museum

While the Met in NYC is internationally well-known and has a lot of resources, the Toledo Museum of Art is also world-renowned and is...

TOLEDO | ON THE MAP: Chicago & the Library

The Chicago Public Library system may be more well known, but the Toledo Lucas County Public Library has more resources per resident and many outstanding comparable...