Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
303 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids
In remembrance of 9/11, take a step back and view it from the witnesses’ point of view in The Only Plane in the Sky. Award-winning journalist and historian Garrett Graff will be giving an oral history of the event, from the words of those who witnessed it themselves. It also includes a look into never-before-seen documents, transcripts and more.
You can step further back in time to visit what it was like to live with and experience the presidency of Ford himself in the Extraordinary Circumstances exhibit. This exhibit dives in with photos taken by President Ford’s White House photographer, David Hume Kennerly.
If you’re looking for something that might bring comfort close to home or a look into the future, 3D Expressions is perfect for you. With art quilts from 14 states and 10 countries, you might learn something new about textile and how it is fabricated into the world today.
The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11, Sept. 23
3D Expressions, Sept. 23-Nov. 3
Extraordinary Circumstances: The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford, Through Nov. 3
Grand Rapids Public Museum
272 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids
The rich history of Grand Rapids itself can be told through history books, but is much deeper when you see artifacts from our community in an exhibit up-close and personal. In Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963, take a glance at what it was like in those time periods and how history has changed from these events and how they affected America.
In October, learn about Native Americans’ rich culture and traditions. Feel and move to the beat as dancers perform traditional dances. This event, including ancient storytelling and games, is followed by Anishinabek: The People of this Place, which looks at both current and past history of some of Michigan’s Native tribes.
In November, the iconic Bodies Revealed returns, thanks to popular demand. Explore actual whole and partial bodies that have been preserved. The goal of this exhibit is not only to teach about the body, but to hopefully teach how to take better care of the body and make healthier decisions.
Check the museum’s website regularly for new exhibitions throughout the season.
Changing America, Through Oct. 13
Native American Culture Days, Oct. 23-24
Ethnic Heritage Celebration, Oct. 26
Bodies Revealed, Nov. 16
|Mathias Alten in the Netherlands: Newly Acquired Works at Holland Museum. Courtesy Photo|
31 W. 10th St., Holland
Never before exhibited pieces of art by the German-American artist Mathias Alten will be on the walls in the Holland Museum thanks to Anita M. Gilleo, one of Alten’s grandchildren. Alten was an active impressionist painter in Grand Rapids, but will keep the memory alive through landscape paintings in the Dutch museum.
You can also get hands-on almost any day of the week here. The Spark!Lab inspires and encourages interaction and bringing STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, history and math) to children and families in West Michigan. Test your skills or create new ones at this interactive lab.
One permanent exhibit you can check out is all about the history of Holland. This highlights the transformation of Holland, including its agricultural beginnings, ships from the Great Lakes and much more.
The Dutch Galleries are also a part of the permanent exhibits. Thanks to a community known for its Dutch identity and history, the gallery has made a mark. The museum has enough pieces of Dutch artwork to keep it all on a rotation, so every time you visit, you can see a new bit of international art.
Mathias Alten in the Netherlands: Newly Acquired Works, Through Oct. 19
History of Holland
Kalamazoo Valley Museum
230 N. Rose St., Kalamazoo
Kalamazoo’s museum is all about interactive exhibits that are fun for the whole family. Running now is The Secrets of Bees, where you can learn everything about our buzzy friends that Bee Movie didn’t teach you.
Then, Mindbenders Mansion 2 comes to town, bringing puzzles, brainteasers and other interactive challenges to the museum to help you work out your brain muscles. Shortly after, the Willard Wigan Microsculptor exhibit features works of art so small, you have to look at them under a microscope. Many of them are created inside the eye of a needle, which seems much harder than simply threading it.
Next year, Wicked Plants arrives, taking visitors through a big, creepy Victorian home full of villainous plants from around the world. It’s a botanical journey full of history, medicine and legends, such as the weed that killed Abe Lincoln’s mother. Finally, Patient No More shines a light on the stories of those overlooked in the fight for civil rights: people with disabilities.
The Secrets of Bees, Through Sept. 30
Amusement Park Science, Through Sept. 8
Mindbenders Mansion 2, Sept. 21-Jan. 5
Willard Wigan Microsculptor, Oct. 12-Jan. 26
Wicked Plants, Jan. 25-May 17
Patient No More: People with Disabilities Securing Civil Rights, Feb. 9-June 7