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.
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.
Glimpse the early years of Gerald Ford and early 20th centuryGrand Rapids.
|Exhibits in Grand Rapids|
|April 10, 2018- January 6, 2019|
In Step With Betty Ford: A Celebration of Her Centennial
Betty Ford never imagined she would be First Lady. She grew up training to be a dancer, then became a Congressman's wife and mother of four children. When she and her husband were thrust into the White House in 1974, Betty was determined to be herself. She spoke honestly, candidly, and courageously to the press and to the American people. She lent her voice to women's rights, children's health, the American arts, and more. Betty faced her own health issues openly and with sincerity. As America watched her move across this unexpected stage, many found themselves in step with Betty Ford.
|September 12 - September 18|
ArtPrize Preview Week
September 19 -
ArtPrize is an open, independently organized international art competition which takes place for 19 days every other fall in Grand Rapids, Michigan. More than five hundred thousand dollars in prizes are awarded each year, which include a $200,000 prize awarded entirely by public vote and another $200,000 prize awarded by a jury of art experts. The Ford Museum is showcasing 24 artist in this year's display. No admission is charged during ArtPrize.
|Programs in Grand Rapids|
|September 11, 2018||
9-11 Community Day of Remembrance and Scout Salute
Join area Scouts, Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Personnel from dawn till dusk as we salute the flag non-stop in memory of the lives lost on 9-11. No reservations are necessary. The salute takes place from sunrise to sunset. There will be a short program at 6:00 p.m. on the grounds of the museum. From 10:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. there will be an American Red Cross Blood Drive in the DeVos Learning Center, appointments are not required, but welcome - 1(800) RED CROSS for details.
|September 13, 2018
Hear Lisa McCubbin discuss her new book, Betty Ford: First Lady, Women's Advocate, Survivor and Trailblazer. It is based on intimate in-depth interviews with family friends and colleagues. McCubbin reveals a fiercely independent woman who had a lively sense of humor, unwavering faith, and an indomitable spirit - the true story behind of the most admired and influential women of our time. Click here to make a reservation!
|September 20, 2018
Ford After Five: Mix & Mingle
Meet with some of the artists whose work is on display this year at the Ford Presidential Museum. Ask questions, find out what inspired their works and just enjoy the beginning of ArtPrize 10. No reservations required. No cost to attend.
October 9, 2018
China Town Hall with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice is currently the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, and professor of Political Science at Stanford University. She is also a founding partner of RiceHadleyGates, LLC.
From January 2005 to 2009, Secretary Rice served as the 66th Secretary of State of the United States, the second woman and first African American woman to hold the post. She also served as President George W. Bush’s Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (National Security Advisor) from January 2001 to 2005, the first woman to hold the position. Read Secretary Rice's full bio. No reservations required.
|November 1, 2018
The War of 1812 saw America threatened on every side. Encouraged by the British, Indian tribes attacked settlers in the West, while the Royal Navy terrorized the coasts. By mid-1814, President James Madison’s generals had lost control of the war in the North, losing battles in Canada. Then British troops set the White House ablaze, and a feeling of hopelessness spread across the country.
|November 13, 2018
Building Integrity, Building Ford: A Documentary
Relive the 21-year journey of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) from concept to commissioning through Building Integrity, Building Ford, a documentary produced by Newport News Shipbuilding. Building Integrity, Building Ford features footage of important milestones and interviews with many of the shipbuilders who helped bring the first-in-class aircraft carrier to life. Click here to reserve your seat!
|November 15, 2018
The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote
The nail-biting climax of one of the greatest political battles in American history; the fight to ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote. Following a handful of remarkable women who led their respective forces into battle, along with appearances by Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Frederick Douglass, and Eleanor Roosevelt, The Woman's Hour is an inspiring story of activists winning their own freedom in one of the last campaigns forged in the shadow of the Civil War, and the beginning of the great twentieth-century battles for civil rights. Click here to make a reservation!
Guided tours of our permanent exhibits are offered weekdays, during the school year. Advance scheduling a minimum of two weeks in advance is required.
For groups larger than 75 students, we encourage you to divide into smaller groups and stagger your arrival times by at least one hour.
One teacher per class admitted FREE.
For 3rd – 12th grades: One chaperone for every ten students required and admitted FREE.
For Pre-K – 2nd grades: One chaperone for every five students required and admitted FREE.
Admission for additional adults is $8.00 per person.
ALL school programs and guided tours must be scheduled a minimum of two weeks in advance.
Bus parking is on Scribner, NW located directly west of the Museum.
E-mail: send school group reservations to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Group admission discounts are available for groups of 20 or more. Wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis. All adult groups are self-guided.
We suggest approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours to view and enjoy the 15,000 square feet of permanent and temporary exhibit space. Tour buses are encouraged to use the circle drive to safely drop off their passengers on the Museum plaza.
Parking is free in the south lot (located off Pearl Street NW), and several handicap spaces are available. If you bring a motor coach, bus, or an RV, parking will be on Scribner Avenue, located directly west of the Museum. It is a one-way street and runs north/south.
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is the final resting place for President and Mrs. Ford. Their memorial gravesites can be viewed daily from 7:45 AM to 5 PM.
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.
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: email@example.com
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.
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).
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.
Visitors, who require Service Animals, such as guide-dogs, are welcome to bring them into the Museum.
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.
The Gerald R. Ford Museum is always seeking volunteers to assist with tours, educational programs, and public events. If you enjoy history, join us! For more information about volunteer opportunities at the Museum, please download the Volunteer Service Application Form.
For more on volunteer opportunities, contact:
Kristin Mooney at (616) 254-0374
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