The Carousel at the Grand Rapids Public Museum is Gone
DECEMBER 20, 2021 UPDATE: The Spillman Carousel is still gone from it's location overlooking the Grand River at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. The restoration of the carousel continues. You can follow the restoration through videos posted on the museum's website.
In 1983, magician David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear. At the Grand Rapids Public Museum there is a different type of magic happening...the Cook Carousel Pavilion at the museum is empty because the 1928 Spillman Carousel has been dismantled and removed.
"Where did it go?" That was the question that was asked when the Statue of Liberty disappeared. The same is being asked about the beautiful carousel.
Much like David Copperfield's magic act, the Spillman Carousel will once again reappear, but it will be awhile before that happens. The wood carousel that is nearing 100 years old is being completely restored.
The carousel features 50 animals, two chariots, a band organ, and thousands of moving pieces. Stevie Hornyak, an exhibit specialist at GRPM, says they stopped making wooded carousels in the 30s, so the one that resides at the museum is one of the last one. She is one of the people participating in the restoration of this museum piece. along with a staff of in-house talent at the museum who work on keeping the exhibits looking so nice.
Parts of the carousel are being stripped, sanded, primed and repainted -- a process that takes hours for each piece. While those pieces are being worked on locally, many of the mechanical pieces have been sent to a company in Ohio called Carousels and Carvings to be worked on.
The hope is to have Spillman Carousel put back together and operational sometime this year. When the carousel does reappear, there will be upgrades for the hearing and visually impaired, along with bilingual safety instructions and a new way in and out of the carousel.
WOOD TV-8 recently did a story on the restoration of the carousel:
The Grand Rapids Public Museum is located at 272 Pearl Street NW in downtown Grand Rapids. Their website is www.grpm.org.