Tours and Programs

Tours and Programs

Select a tour or program below to find out more


Guided Tours

Grades: K - 12
Time: 1 - 2 hours

If you would like to schedule a guided tour of the New Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum for your class, our staff and docents will work with you to tailor the tour to meet the age and interests of your students.

  • Trained docents work with you and guide your students
  • Includes our interactive exhibits
  • Let us help you meet your teaching goals
  • Add a 30 – 45 minute Dig Deeper component to enhance your visit
  • Dig Deeper topics using primary source material: Gerald Ford and Civil Rights, Our Last Days in Saigon, Shuttle Diplomacy, Betty Ford, and Entertaining at the White House ... or you suggest a topic.

Self-guided Visits

If you are short on time, or feel comfortable leading your students through our exhibits on your own, self-guided visits are the perfect option for you and your students. We do ask that you schedule your self-guided visit in advance. You might also be interested in building your own tour.

Create Your Own Tour

This option allows you to focus on the subject that interests you, incorporating our exhibits, primary source materials, and activities you design to meet your specific classroom goals. Our staff will be happy to give you guidance to get you started on this fun journey.

Amending the Constitution

Grades: 8th
Time: 2.5 hours

Used in conjunction with classroom study of the U.S. Constitution, this hands on program utilizes examples from Gerald and Betty Fords' lives to explore the amendment process. Documents and Museum exhibits will provide students with content and context.

  • Explore two proposed amendments to our Constitution: ERA and Presidential Continuity And Vice Presidential Vacancy Amendment
  • Hands on experience analyzing primary sources
  • Learn what these amendments are about and why they were important to President and Mrs. Ford
  • Use analysis worksheets to learn about "reading" primary sources
  • Engaging pre-visit activities to prepare your students

Betty Ford: Woman of Action

Grades: 6 - 12
Time: 1.5 hours

Explore the extraordinary life and achievements of our beloved First Lady through exhibits (including the all new In Step with Betty Ford), audio visuals, original source materials, and classroom activities. From young girl to polished and outspoken advocate, your students will be inspired by Betty Ford’s life.

  • Learn about Betty Bloomer's family and early years in Grand Rapids
  • Explore her interests in fashion, dance and American arts and crafts
  • Life as the wife of a Congressman
  • Outspoken First Lady and advocate for health and women's issues
  • Betty Ford's significant health struggles and candor

Curriculum Ties:
H1.2-4, U4.3.3, U5.4.1, U8.2.4, U8.3.3-4, G4.3-4, C5.1, C5.3, USHG6.3.3

Beyond Presidential Elections

Grades: 7 - 12
Time: 2 hours

Elections provide the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum the opportunity to teach our next generation of voters the importance of actively participating in our electoral process exercising both our rights and responsibilities as Americans. This program can be adapted for local, state, and national elections.

  • Non-partisan information and activities
  • How the Electoral College has changed
  • Where to go for the facts – learning from multiple sources
  • Tour includes the "how tos" of registration and voting, campaigns and debates then and now
  • Time is divided between our exhibits and hands on learning in our new learning center

Curriculum Ties:
7C1.1, 7P3.1-2, 8P2.1, P3.1-4, P4.1-2, C2.1-2, C2.4, C5.1.1, C5.4.1-2, C5.5.1, C6.1.1

Civil Discourse in 21st Century America

Grades: 7 - 12
Time: 2 hours

In today's partisan-charge world, finding common ground and solutions to complex problems has become seemingly impossible. This program will provide students with experience using the National Issues Forums' method of deliberative dialogue to have conversations about difficult contemporary issues. Overview information and historical content to set the stage for each theme will be provided.

  • Issue books used for this program are developed by the Kettering Foundation and explore each topic from multiple perspectives
  • Deliberative dialogue promotes conversation and listening to one another
  • Students will have time at the end to explore our new exhibits
  • Current themes include Climate Choices, America’s Energy Future, What Should Go on the Internet?, America’s Role in the World, Immigration in America, Youth and Violence, and Preventing Mass Shootings in our Communities.

Curriculum Ties:
7-P3.1.1, 8-P3.1.1, C2.2.5, C3.5.1, C3.5.3-4, C3.5.6, C5.4, C6.1.1

Mom’s Three Rules

Grades: K - 3
Time: 1 - 1.5 hours

Family, school, and community play a vital role in the development of children. They not only contribute to physical, social, intellectual, and emotional growth and well-being, they lay the groundwork for the development of responsible adults and citizens.

  • Mom’s Three Rules is based on the rules young Jerry Ford and his brothers grew up with
  • Uses Museum exhibits and hands on activities to help students explore self, family, and community in the context of Gerald and Betty Ford's early lives
  • Makes connections to the students, their families, schools, and everyday life
  • Receive information on a self-guided tour of important sites connected with Ford's early years

Presidential Decision-Making: Vietnam, Eisenhower through Ford

Grades: 10th - 12th
Time: 2.5 – 3 hours, including Museum tour

Our Presidential Decision-Making Series utilizes our exhibits and classroom activities to allow students to delve into major decisions about U.S. involvement in Vietnam made by President Ford and his predecessors. Students explore original source materials drawn from the Gerald Ford Presidential Library, as well as the Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ, and Nixon Libraries, to learn about how our involvement in Vietnam evolved and difficult decisions required of Presidents from both parties.

Presidential Decision-Making: Watergate and the Pardon of Richard Nixon

Students will use a variety of primary source documents and media, exhibits, and group activities to learn about President Nixon, Watergate, and Presidential Pardons. President Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon will be explored from a variety of perspectives; historical, public, media, and congressional.

Presidential Decision-Making: The New York City Financial Crisis

Grades: 10th - 12th
Time: 2.5 – 3 hours, including Museum tour

Presidents deal with both domestic and foreign issues large and small. One of the most pressing for President Ford was the nation’s economy, but he also faced economic troubles in New York City. Students will documents, readings, and deliberative dialogue to explore New York City’s financial troubles and the President’s work with staff New York State and City officials to resolve the crisis.