The Furniture Factory, located on the Museum’s second floor, is a space dedicated to the history or Grand Rapids as the “Furniture City.”
About The Furniture Factory
The Porter Lathe
The Porter Lathe found in the exhibit was made by a West Michigan company and is typical of machinery used in the local furniture industry. The Porter Lathe is being used for demonstrations given by volunteer Woodturners.
The Chairmania collection is a group of miniature chairs collected and curated by George M. Beylerian. Beylerian chose to offer his collection to the Grand Rapids Public Museum because of the city’s reputation as the “Furniture City.”
The Porter Lathe is entirely staffed by volunteer Woodturners. Outside of demonstrating the working lathe, volunteers also engage guests with complimentary woodwork such as spinning tops as well as answering questions about The Furniture Factory.
In 2022, volunteers donated over 850 hours of service to the GRPM.
Remnants of Furniture City
Furniture City was one of the signature core exhibits installed at the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s new Van Andel Museum Center when it opened in 1994. The exhibit occupied a significant portion of the museum’s second floor and contained hundreds of pieces of Grand Rapids Furniture. The exhibition was significantly reduced in size in 2013 to make room for a new gallery and was closed in 2019. Guests can see artifacts that were featured in this exhibit on display in The Furniture Factory.
Take a look at the GRPM’s virtual Collections & Cocktails video for an in-depth look at the Museum’s extensive furniture collection.