The Grand Rapids Public Museum is set to undergo its first major renovation since opening in 1994.

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Experience Grand Rapids, Facebook - Current View of GRPM
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$50M in Renovations Coming to Grand Rapids Public Museum

The $50 million project will include enhancing the Museum's outdoor spaces to include new river access, accessible trails, outdoor teaching, and event space.

GPRM - Rendering of Renovations

Representatives from the Museum say that the number of visitors has tripled in the past decade and the expansion aims to accommodate even more of the community than ever before:

The role of our Museum has transitioned from archival storage, interpretation and display to a dynamic educational community center that welcomes and represents all of its users.

Cook Carousel Pavilion

Renovations will include work on the Cook Carousel Pavilion which houses the iconic 1928 Spillman Carousel.

Experience Grand Rapids, Facebook
Experience Grand Rapids, Facebook

The focal point of the design will be the Carousel itself. Upgrades will be made to the Pavilion structure to detach it from the Museum’s main facility to allow for accessible trail connection along the riverfront.

Ramps will be added for viewing opportunities of the Grand River and the Carousel’s walkway roof will become accessible from the inside of the Museum.

GRPM - Rendering of Renovations

 Van Andel Museum Center

Outdoor space will be added to the Van Andel Museum Center, to provide a welcoming approach to the Museum featuring a park-like lawn with artifact displays, seating, and a connection to the riverfront trail. Two additional elevators will be added as well.

Community Archives and Research Center

About 95% of the GRPM’s collections, over a quarter-million artifacts and specimens, are preserved at the Community Archives and Research Center. The GRPM plans to renovate a portion of the Community Archives and Research Center into a new public space.

Other Upgrades to GRPM

GRPM is also investing in innovative technologies, new program development, human resources, and operations systems. Several of the Museum’s core exhibition spaces will be refreshed and reimagined as well.

Funding and Timeline for Grand Rapids Public Museum Renovation

According to WZZM-13, multiple sources are funding the project:

  • $11 million from the 2023 state budget.
  • $1 million from Kent County.
  • $800,000 ARPA placemaking grant from The Right Place.
  • Plus private donations, all currently totalling $25MM

Construction is starting at the Grand Rapids Public Museum this fall. The project is expected to be completed some time in 2025.

Find out more on the GRPM expansion here.

Check Out All These Kid-Friendly Museums in Michigan

Whether you're looking for local children's museum where you can take the kiddos for an afternoon, or looking for an excuse to take a road trip to another part of the state, Michigan offers a wide selection of kid-friendly museums where you and the family can lose yourselves.

Gallery Credit: George McIntyre

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