Museums are calm, pleasant places to see interesting things, learn a little history, and be inspired by the place you live in and the people who once lived there. Michigan has some of the best museums in the Midwest, and we recommend these three in Grand Rapids to get started.
Grand Rapids Public Museum
This museum, founded in 1845, is an important historic landmark not only for Grand Rapids or Michigan, but for the entire country. Beautifully kept and modernized, the three-story building has amazing collections on bizarre items, the Anishinabek Native Americans, wild habitats of Michigan, and the role the furniture industry played in Grand Rapids’ growth. What’s more, those are only the permanent exhibits! There’s always something new to see, so be sure to visit again if you did months or years ago.
The Grand Rapids Public Museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, and noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. General admission is $8 for adults and $3 for children.
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
This museum celebrates the life of Gerald R. Ford, the 38th President of the United States, who replaced President Nixon when he resigned in 1974. He was president for less than a year and lived an intriguing life before and during the events that made him head of state. The permanent exhibits include a full-scale recreation of the Oval Office in that time, as well as the Cabinet Room and a piece of the Berlin Wall. There are also exhibits honoring Betty Ford, one of the most influential first ladies of the United States.
Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and military, $6 for college students, and $4 for youths ages 6-18.
Grand Rapids Art Museum
Fans of the visual arts will get more than a day’s worth of inspiration at one of the first ever eco-friendly museums. Also called GRAM, the museum has galleries displaying 19th- and 20th-century art from the Americas and Europe. For the summer, consider visiting on Thursday nights for GRAM on the Green, an event with free live music, games, and other fun stuff not typically seen at an art museum. New exhibits on time and fashion are coming later this year.
GRAM is closed on Mondays, but is open from 10:00 am. to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every other day. Admission for non-members is $8 for adults, $7 for students, and $5 for children.
These are the three museums we recommend first, but there are others that might be perfect for younger groups, like the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. Visitors and locals alike are sure to love a day at any of these museums, so don’t be afraid to bring vacationing relatives along. Feel free to tell us your experiences at these museums!