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Places to Visit in Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids Public Museum

The Grand Rapids Public Museum, which is located on the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, is one of the country’s oldest historical museums. Known before as “Grand Rapids Lyceum of Natural History”, it was founded in 1854. A cafe, a gift shop, and a 1928 Spillman carousel are all part of the museum, which is housed in a pavilion overlooking the Grand River. The carousel’s music is provided by a Wurlitzer #157 Band Organ, which plays 165 rolls. The Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium is also housed in the Museum building; Roger B. Chaffee, a Grand Rapids native who died in the 1967 Apollo 1 spacecraft fire, is honored. The Grand Rapids Public Museum has a long history as the region’s most important educational resource. Every year, the GRPM hosts a range of touring exhibitions on themes ranging from science to history to culture. With an emphasis on science, history, and culture, the Grand Rapids Public Museum is a site of never-ending inspiration and discovery. They exist to be a living monument of objects, ideas, and stories shared via exhibitions, events, and educational programming to inspire, motivate, and celebrate our human relationships. We improve the lives of our community by providing them with global experiences in a distinctly Grand Rapids setting. The Grand Rapids Public Museum has about 250,000 antiquities and scientific items in its collection. They host three full floors of core exhibits, various traveling exhibits each year, a 1928 Spillman Carousel for visitors to ride, and the newly updated Chaffee Planetarium. It has several core exhibits. 1. Anishinabek: The People of This Place, the story of West Michigan’s Native American culture. 2. The Streets of Old Grand Rapids is a quarter-scale reproduction of an allegorical Grand Rapids business sector from the 1890s. 3. West Michigan Habitats, a look into the ecosystems of Western Michigan as well as the museum’s history as a natural history interpreter. 4. Collecting A through Z, this alphabet-themed exhibit allows visitors to see objects from throughout the museum’s holdings. 5. Newcomers: The People of This Place, this exhibit highlights the diverse ethnic groups that have left their mark on the Grand Rapids community. The Voigt House Victorian Home, situated at 115 College Ave., is also maintained by the museum. The Carl Voigt family lived at the Voigt House (constructed in 1896 and last equipped in 1907) for nearly 76 years. After the death of the youngest child, Ralph Voigt, in 1971, the land was donated to the Grand Rapids Foundation, which eventually became the museum’s property. The Voigt house is a late Victorian time capsule, having never been renovated by the family over the decades. The Van Andel Museum Center, located downtown, community archives, an observatory, and a historic residence are among the Museum’s locations in and around Grand Rapids.

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