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

Admission:

$10.00 for adults
$8.00 for senior citizens and military service members
$7.00 for college students with ID
$4.00 for youth ages 6-18
Free for children under the age of 5
Free Parking is Available for all Museum Patrons

Information on the Gerald R. Ford Student Essay Challenge



Grand Rapids, MI

303 Pearl Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI  49504-5353

616.254.0400

Tour the NEW Permanent Exhibit Galleries: Explore the Museum

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
On display through November 3, 2019

Extraordinary Circumstances: The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford

An exhibition of photography by President Gerald Ford's personal White House photographer, David Hume Kennerly, who personally selected each image, creating what he calls "a close-up portrait of President Ford's humanity." Special thanks to the exhibit sponsors: Frey Foundation and Bank of America.

September 23 - November 3, 2019

3D Expressions
Juror: Bruce Hoffman

Explore a New Dimension in Contemporary Fiber Art
SAQA's Global Exhibition 3D Expression offers an intriguing glimpse into a new dimension of art quilts, creatively interpreted by artists from 14 US states and 10 countries (in fact, 36% are from outside the US).

The wide variety of pieces include vessels, wearables, wall-pieces, and sculptural artworks. This cutting-edge exhibition shows how textile art can expand both into the third dimension and into the future.

  Programs in Grand Rapids
Thursday, July 25, 2019
7:00 PM

Ford After Five: Phones & Photos
Dianne Carroll Burdick

Join Grand Rapids photographer Dianne Carroll Burdick as she teaches step-by-step methods to take better digital photographs. Those attending the class will also get a free copy of  On the IPhone by David Hume Kennerly.  Kennerly was President Gerald R. Ford's White House Photographer.  The class is FULL.  To be put on a waitlist call: 616.254.0384 or email ford_events@nara.gov.

Friday, August 9, 2019
7:00 PM

Ford After Five: Swinging and Swearing In!
Swing Music by The John Shea Trio featuring John Montgomery (Tenor Sax) and Max Colley III (Trumpet)

Celebrate the 45th anniversary of the swearing in of our 38th president.  Dancing and music will be outside on the Museum's plaza (weather permitting).  If it is raining, we will move inside! No reservations or charge to attend.  All ages welcome.

Saturday, October 19, 2019
1:00PM

“Fabric Mosaic” 
with ArtPrize winner (2013 and 2015) Ann Loveless

The Ford Presidential Museum is hosting a 3-hour class, taught by Master Quilter, Ann Loveless.  During the class, you will make a 4” x 6” mosaic-like art quilt. It will involve fusible web and free-motion machine quilting. Participants may choose any of Ann’s mosaic designs by looking on her website.  Cost to attend is $20.00 per attendee. Reservations can be made at 616.254.0384 or ford_events@nara.gov. The class will be limited to 25. If registration is over 25, we will put names on a wait list.



School Group Visits and Current Programs


Coach Tours

Please use our online form and email to:
Group Visits

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.

Plan an Event

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

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: ford.museum@nara.gov

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

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

Wheelchairs

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

Restrooms

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.

Volunteers

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

Internships

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