If you’re visiting Grand Rapids, Michigan, be sure to check out the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum. This museum is dedicated to the life and legacy of former President Gerald Ford, who served from 1974 to 1977. The museum features exhibits on Ford’s time in office, his childhood in Grand Rapids, and his post-presidential years. There’s also a research center where you can learn more about Ford’s impact on history. Whether you’re a history buff or just want to learn more about this important figure, the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum is worth a visit.
Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. (born Leslie Lynch King, Jr.; July 14, 1913 – December 26, 2006) was an American politician who served as the 38th President of the United States from 1974 to 1977. He was the first person appointed to the vice presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment and became president upon Richard Nixon’s resignation on August 9, 1974. Ford is the only president in American history who has served as both vice president and president without being elected to either office.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Ford moved with his family to Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1913. After a brief stint in the Navy, he attended the University of Michigan, where he played football and became a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. After graduating, Ford worked as an industrial engineer for two years before joining the Navy again in 1942. He served on the USS Monterey during the World War II Battle of Okinawa.
Ford returned to Grand Rapids after the war and started a business career. In 1948, he was elected to the House of Representatives from Michigan’s 5th congressional district. He served in the House for 25 years, rising to become the Republican Minority Leader. In 1973, Nixon nominated Ford to be his Vice President after Spiro Agnew resigned amid corruption charges. When Nixon resigned in 1974, Ford became president.
The Gerald Ford Presidential Museum is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was dedicated on September 18, 1981. The museum is dedicated to the 38th president of the United States, Gerald Ford. It contains exhibits on the history of the United States from 1973 to 1977. The museum also contains Ford’s presidential papers and artifacts from his time as president. Admission to the museum is free.
Through exhibits such as an Oval Office replica and a multimedia recreation the 1944 Typhoon that nearly swept Jerry Ford from the deck of an American aircraft carrier, you can explore the life, marriage and political experiences of Grand Rapids’ most beloved son. You will find 60 displays that showcase mementos, memorabilia and other memorabilia about the life and times the President and First Lady Betty Ford. The permanent exhibits are not the only ones that will be on display. Temporary exhibits that change regularly draw artifacts from all across the country.
The museum staff hosts and organizes special events, which include activities for schoolchildren and workshops for teachers. Each year, the museum hosts naturalization ceremonies for newly-arrived citizens. It also opens its grounds to community celebrations and Independence Day fireworks. The museum also hosts the Great Decisions Lecture Series, which features guest speakers on select foreign policy topics. It also features audience discussions and the completion of “opinion polls”. It has an ongoing partnership with Close Up Foundation, which encourages student awareness about public issues. The museum sponsors Citizens Bee, a competitive exam for high-school students that focuses on politics and history. Eight motion pictures are presented annually by the American Political Film Series. These films often deal with controversial topics. Children from the area are invited to make ornaments for the large Christmas tree in the lobby of the museum.
Some interactive displays delve into stories and events that influenced President Ford’s personal life as well as his professional life, from a user-controlled 3-D fly-through of the White House with details from the Ford Management’s time there, to attending to global crises and even plating a State Dinner, a surprisingly difficult task.
Along with the permanent exhibits, a series of temporary exhibitions draws on the extensive holdings of the entire Governmental collections system, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives, and others. Museum collections, which house over 20,000 objects from President Ford’s life and occupation. Mrs. Ford’s life is also depicted.
The Library served as the taping location for a PBS series on the Presidency and the Constitution, which broadcast in 1987. In December 1988, it hosted an All-Democracies Conference with representatives from 44 countries. Humor and the Presidency, released by the museum on January 10th 1987, was possibly one of the most notable seminars sponsored by the collection and museum.
Visitors who have been immunized are not required to wear masks, but they are strongly advised to do so. Visitors aged 2 and up who have not been immunized are required to use masks. The Gallery will ask visitors to keep 6 feet apart from other attendees.
Groups of more than six people are currently not permitted. At the moment, guided scenic tours are typically available. The Gallery is cleaning the gallery as well as high-traffic areas more thoroughly. Hand sanitizing stations are located throughout the Gallery. Food and drink are not permitted inside the galleries. Water fountains are available.
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is a favorite destination for school groups of any age because it makes history alive through state-of the-art technology-based displays, including many interactive features. It’s also a great place to take school-age children.
Current hours are Monday-Saturday from 10am-5pm and Sunday from noon-5pm. Admission is $11 for adults, $9 for senior citizens and military service members, $8 for college students with ID, $5 for youth ages 6-18 – and FREE for children under the age of 5. Prices are subject to change, please confirm with museum.
The museum is located at 303 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504. It is accessible via Route 131 or I-196.
The museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. For more information, please call (616) 254-0400 or visit the museum’s website.