Gerald R. Ford Museum

At the core of the Museum is the permanent exhibit, which allows visitors to experience highlights from President and Mrs. Ford's lives. The exhibit teaches democratic citizenship and allows for quiet reflection. In addition to the permanent exhibits, changing temporary exhibits draw artifacts from Museums all over the country.

Not all museum programming revolves around the exhibits; we also offer a wide variety of family-friendly events and lectures on a regular basis; the Museum Store sells items relating to the Ford presidency, other Presidents and First Ladies, and other souvenirs.

The Ford Museum opened to the public in September 1981 and is part of the Presidential libraries system of the National Archives and Records Administration, a Federal agency.

The Ford Museum is in Grand Rapids, Michigan while the Ford Library is in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Despite the separation, the library and museum are a single institution sharing one director.

Hours of Operation

Open Monday - Saturday. 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Open Sunday, 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Closed: New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day


$8.00 for adults
$7.00 for senior citizens and military service members
$6.00 for college students with ID
$4.00 for youth ages 6-18
Free for children under the age of 5
Free parking is available

Information on the Gerald R. Ford High School Essay Challenge

Grand Rapids, MI

303 Pearl Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI  49504-5353


Coming soon! Tour of the NEW Permanent Exhibit Galleries

Other Exhibits

The Museum staff has created several online exhibits, either to supplement permanent exhibits or to publicize temporary exhibits. The current temporary exhibit is available for both viewing at the Ford Museum and online. All others are available only in their online form.

Featured Online Exhibit

Growing Up Grand - exhibit mural Growing Up Grand

Glimpse the early years of Gerald Ford and early 20th centuryGrand Rapids.

Upcoming Programs and Events - Grand Rapids

Date Event
  Exhibits in Grand Rapids
November 5, 2016 through May 29, 2017
SPACE: A Journey to Our Future

Experience the past, present and future of space exploration. The "SPACE: A Journey to Our Future" exhibition immerses visitors in the discoveries of the past and introduces them to today's explorers who are shaping our destiny in the universe. 

Visitors will experience the sights and sounds of space exploration through live performances, easy-to-use interactive exhibits and state-of-the-art projection and audio technology. Visitors can ride a lunar module simulator on a journey to the surface of the moon and visit a simulated scientific base camp on Mars. Although SPACE is geared to young people ages 9 to 17, visitors of all ages will enjoy learning about space exploration.

The 12,000-square-foot exhibition is one of the largest touring space exhibits ever developed. Over the next four years, it will visit Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

  Programs in Grand Rapids

February 13, 2017
10:30 a.m.

Kara S. Alaimo
The Role of Social Media and Other New Technology in the 2016 Election

Kara Alaimo, Assistant Professor of Public Relations at Hofstra University, will discuss how social media and other new technology were used in the 2016 election - including President Trump's use of Twitter and the role of hackings and fake news. She will propose changes that technology companies should make to their platforms before 2020 to promote a more deliberative and democratic election process. Reservations can be made by calling 616.254.0384 or via email at:

February 15, 2017 7:00 p.m.

Paul Brandus
Under This Roof: The White House and the Presidency

Through triumph and tragedy, boom and bust, secrets and scandals,Paul Brandus takes you to the presidential bedroom, movie theater, Situation Room, Oval Office and more. Under This Roof is a “sensuous account of the history of both the home of the President, and the men and women who designed, inhabited, and decorated it. Brandus captivates with surprising, gloriously raw observations.”

Paul Brandus founded West Wing Reports ® in 2009 and provides reports for television and radio outlets around the United States and overseas. He is also a contributing columnist for USA Today, MarketWatch (Dow Jones) and his work has appeared in publications such as The Guardian, Real Clear Politics, National Review and The Week. In 2011, he won the Shorty Award for "Best Journalist on Twitter," sponsored by the Knight Foundation. 

Reservations can be made by calling 616.254.0384 or via email at:

February 19, 2017
2:00 p.m.

Space Film Series
The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)

An alien lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets.
Director: Robert Wise
Writers: Edmund H. North (screen play), Harry Bates (based on a story by)
Stars: Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe

February 26, 2017
2:00 p.m.

Space Film Series
Gravity (2013)

Two astronauts work together to survive after an accident which leaves them alone in space.
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Writers: Alfonso Cuarón, Jonás Cuarón
Stars: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris

March 5, 2017
2:00 p.m.

Space Film Series
Wall -E (2008)

In the distant future, a small waste-collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.
Director: Andrew Stanton
Writers: Andrew Stanton (original story by), Pete Docter (original story by)
Stars: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin

March 9, 2017
7:00 p.m.

Andy Boyan
Political Bias in American News Media

Conservative media figures say the mainstream media is rigged in favor of liberal viewpoints. Liberal media figures say the same about conservative media presence. What is the actual state of the research on political bias in the media? And does it seem like more regular citizens have become more polarized in their opinions and media choices? This talk will take a look at recent research, and take a step back to look at the larger picture of political media content in the wake of the 2016 Presidential Election. We will also take a peek into the role of social media like Facebook and Twitter in how people come to make judgments about whether their news is really fair and balanced.

Please RSVP by Friday, March 3 at Direct any questions to College Events at 517/629-0448 or by email,

School and Tour Group Policy

Docent-Guided Tours

Limited to one class. Guided tours are Monday through Wednesday, during the school year. Reserve two weeks in advance.

Self-Guided Tours

Limited to 75 students per visit. For groups larger than 75 students, divide into smaller groups and stagger arrivals by at least one hour.


For both docent-guided and self-guided tours, we require 1 adult chaperone for every 10 students. Teachers are included in this figure. The required chaperones are admitted free of charge. Children 15 and younger, and High School students visiting as part of an organized school visit are admitted free of charge. You will receive a confirmation letter when you schedule your visit.

Scheduling a Visit

Call: 616-254-0400

E-mail: send school group reservations to:

Facility Rental

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is a 54,000 square foot educational and cultural facility, located on the bank of the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids. This setting provides a prestigious venue for a meeting, reception, and/or dinner. The Museum offers a 15,000 square foot permanent exhibit, and a 3,500 square foot changing exhibit gallery. Convenient parking.

Venue highlights

library main lobby

Museum Main Lobby

The expansive main lobby of the Museum is an exceptional setting for dinners, special addresses, and receptions. Visitors can also browse the Museum store which offers a variety of unique gifts and books.

Capacity: Sit-down dinner - 100 / Standing reception - 250

library auditorium


The 250-seat auditorium, complete with stage and audio/visual equipment, has the versatility to accommodate symposiums, educational presentations, cultural events, award ceremonies, and musical performances, among others.

Capacity: 254

library courtyard

Museum Grounds

Visitors can enjoy the beautiful Betty Ford Garden and the reflecting pool and fountain. The Museum grounds are also home to President Ford’s distinguished burial site.

More Information

General availability for all spaces is Monday - Friday, between the hours of 8 AM – 9 PM. Contact the Museum for information about scheduling an event, rental fee structure, or to review regulations on the use of the facility and the application process. Events must be consistent with the public perception of the Museum as an educational, research, or cultural institution (no weddings, proms, or similar events).

Call: 616-254-0400 / E-mail:

View/Download Rental Document:

For Individuals and Groups with Special Needs

All areas of the Museum and Library are ADA compliant , and are accessible to people in wheelchairs via ramps and elevators. All Museum and Library exhibits are wheelchair accessible.


Parking at both facilities is free, and accessible parking spaces are located in both the main and over-flow parking lots.


Standard wheelchairs are available at both locations at no charge. Strollers are also available at the Museum.


All public restrooms include accessible facilities, and are ADA compliant. All restrooms have baby-changing stations.

Hearing Impaired

To help visitors who are hearing impaired, a number of exhibits include closed captioning or text panels. The Museum Auditorium is equipped with a T-coil assisted listening loop, and hand-held units are available upon request. The Library Auditorium will be equipped with a T-coil loop (summer 2008).

Sign Language Interpreters

With a minimum of two weeks notice, the Museum is able to provide Sign Language Interpreters at no charge. Sign Language Interpreters who are accompanying school groups or the public and assisting visitors who are hearing impaired are admitted to the Museum at no charge.

Assistive Animals

Visitors, who require Service Animals, such as guide-dogs, are welcome to bring them into the Museum.

Visually Impaired

With a minimum of two weeks notice, the Museum will provide an interpretive guide to groups or individuals at no charge.

Single visitors, adult groups or school groups with special needs can be accommodated at both the Museum and Library with guided tours. Please call (616) 254-0374 (Museum) and (734) 205-0540 (Library) for more information.

Internships / Volunteers

The Museum accepts a limited number of college interns each year to assist with processing, preservation, and digitization of museum holdings. The Padnos Museum Internship Program provides the necessary skills students need to attain a certain level of marketability in the field. For its nearly twenty years in operation, the program has provided lasting experiences for students from around the country.

For more on internships and other volunteer opportunities, contact:
Collections Manager James Draper at (616) 254-0379