Monday, February 21, 2011

Gerald Ford Museum offers a look at American history

As our nation observes Presidents Day, there's a big focus on Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, both great leaders who happened to be born during the month of February. While both Illinois and Indiana have several Lincoln related attractions to explore, Michigan also has an impressive museum to honor another past president, Gerald Ford.

Last year my family and I visited Grand Rapids for the first time and among all the places we saw and things we did, my favorite was our visit to the Ford Museum. As much as I enjoyed the natural surroundings of Meijer Gardens and the John Ball Zoo, the excitement of a professional hockey game and the exhibits of the children's museum and public museum, the Ford Museum was the place I didn't really want to leave.

We had a nice surprise when we arrived, finding out that there was free admission that day in honor of Betty Ford's birthday. The exhibits cover Ford's childhood and road to the white house and give a glimpse into what was going on in the country throughout his presidency.

Opened in 1981, the museum is part of the Presidential Libraries system, with a Gerald Ford Presidential Library located off-site in Ann Arbor. There are six permanent exhibit galleries and additional space for temporary exhibits. Currently, a temporary exhibit is running on the life of Betty Ford. The site along the river is a lovely place for a walk outdoors. Behind the museum you'll find Ford's final resting place. If you're heading to the Grand Rapids area, I'd definitely add this museum to your list of places to see while in town. Find out more at FORDLIBRARYMUSEUM.GOV.

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