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|
|December 1, 2019 - January 19, 2020|
Former Breton Village Train on display at Ford Museum
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is excited to host the train formerly shown Breton Village Mall again this holiday season. The train was acquired last year. This year we've added to the train and modified it to fit in our feature exhibit space. Members of the Grand River Valley Railroad Club operate the train while it is on display.
Admission fees apply, EXCEPT during Christmas Break! The Museum will be FREE during Christmas Break, December 23, 2019 - January 5, 2020.
|February 15 - May 10, 2020|
Canine Warriors – Courage and Sacrifice, Always Beside You
Canine Warriors was designed by Ohio
master craftsman James Mellick to not only bring attention to the service and heroism of military working dogs,
|February 20 - May 31, 2020||The Continual Struggle : The American Freedom Movement and the Seeds of Social Change
The Continual Struggle depicts the pain, sacrifice and emotion of those who fought for freedom during the civil rights movement. This selection of 23 works by artist Brian Washington offers a stark glimpse of those tumultuous times. Celebrate Black History Month at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum through his powerful and moving art. Exhibit sponsors: Fifth Third Bank and The Frey Foundation.
|Programs in Grand Rapids|
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Inside Camp David: The Private World of the Presidential Retreat
Join Michael Giorgione as he delves into American diplomacy's secret weapon, Camp David. The camp has played a vital role in American history over the past century, inviting Presidents and international leaders alike to converge, converse, and, perhaps most importantly, relax. Camp David has been selected to be the site of this year's G7 Summit. Books will be for sale in the Museum store. Following the lecture there a reception and book signing.
|Thursday, February 20, 2020
Join Brian Washington as he discusses his artwork on display in The Continual Struggle exhibit. Washington is a California based artist, attorney, and arts advocate. In explaining why he spent 13 years on the project, he said, "I wanted to depict the triumphant and poignant story of the American Civil Rights struggle through art, as a way of honoring those who have allowed me to live with the freedoms I now enjoy. There has been a continuum of important artists in history who have taken such an approach to art, and I want to carry on this tradition in today’s society."
Reservations are appreciated - click here.
February 27, 2020
With this Faith: Black Freedom Struggles and Democratic Faith
Black American communities have exhibited an abiding faith in democracy based in religion and culture. This talk will explore how various participants in Black Freedom Struggles and thought about democratic governance and the faith that it takes to live out its principles. The talk will highlight the collective genius coming out of historic experiences of Black Americans in constructing a more vigorous democratic society in the United States. This lecture is in conjunction with The Continual Struggle exhibition.
|Wednesday, March 18, 2020
2020 William E. Simon Lecture in Public Affairs
Please join us as Former Vice President Richard B. Cheney presents the 2020 William E. Simon Lecture in Public Affairs. This Friends of Ford members-only event will be held at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For more information on how to become a Friends of Ford member, please call 616-254-0396 or visit the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation's website.
Presidential Power: How Much Power Does the President Really Have?
Join Gerald R. Ford Foundation Trustee, Roger B. Porter as he examines the question: In what ways has presidential power expanded or receded during the period of the modern presidency? Mr. Porter is an American professor currently serving as the IBM Professor of Business and Government at Harvard University. Porter was selected as a White House Fellow (1974–75) and served as Special Assistant to the President and Executive Secretary of the President’s Economic Policy Board (1974–77) in the Ford White House. Click here for a more detailed biography.
Reservations are appreciated - click here.
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 John Sheehan at (616) 254-0379