Regarding the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Section 106 Review of Grand Rapids Public Museum Community Access to Collections

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has offered the Grand Rapids Public Museum, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a Challenge Infrastructure and Capacity Building grant (CHA-295875) to renovate a portion of the Community Archives and Research Center facility into a new public space.

NEH is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.  This public notice is issued as part of NEH’s responsibilities under 36 C.F.R. Part 800, the regulations which implement Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended, 54 U.S.C. 306108.  NEH, a funding agency, is required by regulation to identify and assess the effects of any proposed actions on historic properties.  If any proposed action will have an adverse effect on historic resources, NEH works with the appropriate parties to seek ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any adverse effects.  Additionally, the Section 106 regulations require NEH to consider the views of the public on preservation issues when making final decisions that affect historic properties.

The project will take place at the Grand Rapids Public Museum Archives center at 223 Washington St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.  The Grand Rapids Public Museum Archives center in large addition, constructed in 2000, that is connected to the former Grand Rapids Public Museum (constructed in 1930, now the Grand Rapids Museum High School) on its rear façade. The Grant Rapids Public Museum is a contributing resource to the Heritage Hill Historic District (National Register of Historic Places #82000406).

The proposed undertaking will create a better entry for archive visitors utilizing a curved connection entry already in place on the south façade and adding windows and a small vestibule into that façade (2000). All work will be to the year 2000 portion of the building and patio area.

Most of the work will be done to the interior making the new archive entry more useful by removing hallways and combining into a larger entry space. The historic former museum building attached to the archives center facing Jefferson will not be altered. The exposed rear brick wall of the former museum will continue to be seen on the interior of the entry space to the archive center (see photos). The existing boarded windows on the former museum’s rear east end wall will remain, but the boards will be replaced or freshly painted. The exterior work will include adding the airlock vestibule on the existing patio area and adding outdoor furniture seating and planters to soften the space. There will be no ground disturbing activities.

On May 23, 2024, Ryan M. Schumaker, the Michigan State Historic Preservation Officer, indicated that the project will have No Adverse Effect. Therefore, NEH, after reviewing Section 106 documentation, issues a determination of No Adverse Effect.

As required by Section 106, NEH is providing the public with information about this project, as well as an opportunity to comment on any knowledge of, or concerns with, historic properties in the proposed project area, and issues relating to the project’s potential effects on historic properties. Comments may be submitted to the NEH by e-mail to  The deadline for submitting comments is Tuesday, June 11.