GRPM Public Programs
The Grand Rapids Public Museum offers a variety of public programs for the community on an annual basis, bringing the community together to experience science, history
Anishinaabe Culture Day
Anishinaabe Culture Day is an annual, one-day event for visiting school groups to celebrate the history and culture of the Anishinabek. The Museum partners with local tribal members and organizations including Anishinaabe Circle. Students learn first-hand about Native American regalia, dance, and music, and immerse themselves in the rich history of local Native American cultures. Authentic dancing and drumming sessions leave a memorable impression and activities include traditional storytelling, information tables hosted by area tribal members, GRPS, and others.
Additionally, the Museum hosts two core exhibitions year-round, having a primary focus on diversity and culture: Newcomers: The People of This Place which highlights the cultural groups that have settled in the Grand Rapids area, and Anishinabek: The People of this Place which focuses on the Native American culture in the region.
Camp Curious and
Camp and educational classes and programs are held throughout the year to encourage curious minds to dive into science, history and culture through guided exploration, hands-on experiments, prima- ry-source learning and more. Offerings are available for ages pre-K through high school, with some programs that encourage parent/guardian attendance.
Carla Hartman’s Chair Camp program has been a popular tradition at the GRPM for the last nine years, serving over 5,000 students. This event pays tribute to Grand Rapids’ history as Furniture City and allows participants of all ages to design miniature chairs and seating using recycled materials, drawing inspiration from furniture design examples. This program offers workshops for various age groups, including a special evening for adults and a family day, all centered around the creative and practical aspects of furniture design.
Concerts Under the Stars
Concerts Under the Stars is a series of fully immersive audio and visual concert experiences in the Museum’s Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium that highlights local music groups and visual artists. This series takes place January through March, and includes two performance each month.
Cultural Heritage Festival
The Cultural Heritage Celebration brings in cultural organizations throughout West Michigan to share with the community their background, connection to West Michigan and the country they represent. This is done with visual presentations, music, art, food and more.
This day of cultural celebration will feature a variety of organizations, performances and presentations. The Museum Café offers a selection of various cultural foods, available for purchase. Event activities are included with general admission to the Museum.
Engineering Day is a one-day event where 4th-8th grade students and the general public can explore various applications of math, engineering, problem-solving, drawing, estimation, mechanics, and other STEAM concepts through fun hands-on activities.
Grand River Adventure
This exciting gathering aims to bring community members together and highlight the past, present, and future of the Grand River. Attendees will have the opportunity to visit various stations where they can learn about the efforts made to preserve this valuable resource. Additionally, they will discover actionable steps they can take as community members to contribute to the ongoing preservation of the river.
Created to dive deeper into the local community, GR Stories takes us throughout the Greater Grand Rapids to hear from the people themselves, sharing their rich history and contributions to the area. With in person and virtual options, these programs are bridges being built to better understand one another. As part of these programs, the Museum is actively collecting the stories and artifacts of our diverse community in the Collections. Programs in 2021 included: The History of Grand Rapids in Black and Brown: A Conversation, Polish Halls, and The 49507 Project. Programs are available for viewing on the GRPM’s Youtube channel.
The 1928 Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Organ is an impressive icon of Grand Rapids and an artifact preserved in the GRPM’s Collections used to entertain and educate all ages. Mighty Wurlitzer Organ Concerts are themed concert experiences held October through December, featuring three professional organists. Each organist hosts one performance.
Roger That! takes place in February and celebrates space exploration and the life of Grand Rapids native, Roger B. Chaffee, a former American naval officer and aviator aeronautical engineer, and NASA astronaut in the Apollo program. The GRPM and Grand Valley State University partner each year to provide a weekend full of interactive space activities, facilitated in collaboration with community partners, engaging keynote addresses, insightful panel discussions and more.