Gerald R. Ford Museum

Tickets to the museum can be purchased at the door or online at Visit the Museum.

The Museum is CLOSED on Mondays.

For school visit information email: Fieldtrip. For adult tour information email: Group Visits.

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.

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

Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday: 10 AM - 5 PM
Wednesday: 10 AM - 5 PM
Thursday: 10 AM - 5 PM
Friday: 10 AM - 5 PM
Saturday: 10 AM - 5 PM
Sunday: 12 PM - 4 PM
The Museum is also closed on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Admission:

$12.00 for adults
$10.00 for senior citizens and military service members
$9.00 for college students with ID
$6.00 for youth ages 6-18
Free for children under the age of 5
Free Parking is Available for all Museum Patrons

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.

Feature Exhibit

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Exploring Watergate

The Watergate break-in on June 17, 1972, forever changed politics, the media, and Americans’ views of the Presidency. This exhibit explores the events of Watergate using a range of artifacts, including courtroom sketches and one of President Nixon’s tape recorders.

October 2022 - October 2024

Upcoming Feature Exhibit

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America at the Crossroads: The GUITAR and a Changing Nation

The new exhibition, America at the Crossroads: The GUITAR and a Changing Nation looks at America’s evolution through the lens of its most popular instrument. The exhibit displays forty instruments that serve as touchpoints to connect visitors with significant moments in America’s history and culture—from the earliest Spanish invasion to the nation’s modern status as a global superpower. The artifacts are supplemented with video, photographs, and illustrations that depict important events, artists, and instruments of the last century. This touring exhibition from the National GUITAR Museum is making its national debut at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.

January 27, 2023 - May 28, 2023

Upcoming Programs and Events - Grand Rapids


Date Event
  Exhibits in Grand Rapids
January 27-May 28, 2023

America at the Crossroads: The GUITAR & A Changing Nation

The new exhibition, America at the Crossroads: The GUITAR and a Changing Nation, looks at America’s evolution through the lens of its most popular instrument. The exhibit displays forty instruments that serve as touchpoints to connect visitors with significant moments in America’s history and culture—from the earliest Spanish invasion to the nation’s modern status as a global superpower. The artifacts are supplemented with video, photographs, and illustrations that depict important events, artists, and instruments of the last century. This touring exhibition from the National GUITAR Museum is making its national debut at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. Learn more here.

  Programs in Grand Rapids
February 16, 2023
NOON

Ford and the Recognition of Black History Month
with Dr. Mirelle Luecke, Curator

Learn about President Ford's role in recognizing Black History Month in 1976 by taking a peek into the Museum's artifact collection. Curator Mirelle Luecke will speak about how the museum's collection -- both what it has and what it doesn't have -- shed light on this moment in history.
Reserve your space. The talk will be held in the DeVos Learning Center.

February 17, 2023
7 PM EST
An Evening with Rev. Robert B. Jones, Sr.

Join the Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum in welcoming Reverend Robert B. Jones Sr. for an evening of music in conjunction with the new feature exhibit on display at the Ford Museum. America at the Crossroads: The GUITAR and a Changing Nation delves into the history of the instrument and its influence on American history. The exhibit is on loan from the National GUITAR Museum.

Seating is limited. Register here for in-person, or watch via ZOOM.

About Reverend Robert B. Jones, Sr:
Rev. Robert Jones, Sr. is a native Detroiter and an inspirational storyteller and musician celebrating the history, humor and power of American Roots music. His deep love for traditional African American and American traditional music is shared inlive performances that interweave timeless stories with original and traditional songs.

For more than thirty years Robert has entertained and educated audiences of all ages in schools, colleges, libraries, union halls, prisons, churches and civil rights organizations. At the heart of his message is the belief that our cultural diversity tells a story that should celebrate, not just tolerate. 

February 22, 2023
7 PM EST

O Say Can You Hear?
Mark Clague


Join the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation in welcoming University of Michigan musicology and American Culture professor Mark Clague to recount the history of “The Star Spangled Banner” and how its meaning has evolved. After the lecture, guests are invited to view the feature exhibit America at the Crossroads: The GUITAR and a Changing Nation. Crossroads is a traveling exhibit from the National Guitar Museum and is on display until May 28, 2023.

Reservations: In-person or ZOOM.

About Mark Clague:
Mark Clague, Ph.D., serves as Associate Professor of Musicology, Arts Leadership, and American Culture at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. He is also the Associate Dean of Collaborations and Partnerships. His book “O Say Can You Hear: A Cultural Biography of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was published by W.W. Norton. Mark’s research focuses on the social power of music in American life. His publications include the recording Poets & Patriots: A Tuneful History of The Star-Spangled Banner, which surveys historic versions and political parodies of the U.S. national anthem. This work also appears in the Star Spangled Songbook, a collection of sheet music. His anthem research work has sparked collaborations with the Smithsonian Museum of American History, Los Angeles Grammy Museum, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, and in recital with baritone Thomas Hampson at the Library of Congress. His ongoing research is featured at starspangledmusic.org and he posts to Twitter as @usmusicscholar.



School Group Visits and Current Programs


Coach Tours

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.

 

Email: Group Tours

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 10 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 is equipped with a T-coil loop.

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 Phillips 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.