EXPLORE MICHIGAN: The Grand Rapids Public Museum

Explore Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WLNS) – The Grand Rapids Public Museum is one of the oldest museums in the U.S. and it’s located right off of Pearl Street downtown.

“The Grand Rapids Public Museum is a great spot for anyone in the area to come visit because it truly touches on the history of our city,” said Alee’a Cherry, marketing manager for the museum.

Cherry says the museum has been around since the 1850s and has 3 floors of interactive exhibits for visitors to explore.

One that sticks out is the Streets of Grand Rapids, which shows what the city looked like in the early 19th century.

“Being able to see storefronts that were active during this time, learn about the people who migrated here from different places of the country, and more you’re able to appreciate the city and how much it’s evolved throughout the time,” said Cherry.


“All of the stuff around that you see is real and I’m familiar with it, it is fun to present it back to people,” said volunteer Ronald Marsteiner.

He says it’s fun to play the role as a pharmacist from the past.

“It’s exactly the same size as the shelving, the bottles, the stuff that’s in the bottles is all about 130 years old. This is all real.” Marsteiner said.

You can stop by and see temporary exhibits like POPnology until January. This exhibit explains pop culture from the past and present.

All ages can have fun the museum even offers a LEGO display that portrays Grand Rapids. This display takes up space for an entire room. The museum also has an area dedicated to teaching people about furniture, because at one point Grand Rapids held the title, ‘Furniture City of The U.S.’

John Nelson volunteers as a turner. He gives away tops to kids so they can take a piece of history home.

“We can still demonstrate how things were done when we were making furniture and when we were the furniture city of the United States,” said Nelson.

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