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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Gerald R. Ford Museum Prepares for Reopening

Mariano Avila

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids got a major redesign. 

“Oh, We’re hearing the final throws of getting the exhibits ready, that’s what we’re hearing; sounds like a table saw.”

That’s Jim Kratsas, Deputy Director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, which just underwent a $15 million renovation.

“First of all, it’s more open, it’s more airy, it’s much more vibrant colors as well.”

The popular, oval office display is still there, but Kratsas says the new exhibits can now offer a more complete historic picture.

“With the passing of President and Mrs. Ford, their life stories are complete and now we can tell the whole story. When we redid the exhibits, back in '96/'97, there was still more to tell about President and Mrs. Ford.”

Aside from new exhibits boasting artifacts like the former president’s college football uniform, there is a new area for school groups.

“It is a learning center. We have two floors with about 7300 square feet and that’s for classrooms, for school groups to come in and utilize.”

There will be a reopening ceremony as well as family-friendly activities on June 7. Events that day will be free and open to the public. 

Mariano Avila is WGVU's inclusion reporter. He has made a career of bringing voices from the margins to those who need to hear them. Over the course of his career, Mariano has written for major papers in English and Spanish, published in magazines, worked in broadcast, and produced short films, commercials, and nonprofit campaigns. He also briefly served at a foreign consulate, organized for international human rights efforts and has done considerable work connecting marginalized people to religious, educational, and nonprofit institutions through the power of story.
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