Gerald R. Ford Museum

At the core of the Museum is the permanent exhibit, which allows visitors to experience highlights from President and Mrs. Ford's lives. The exhibit teaches democratic citizenship and allows for quiet reflection. In addition to the permanent exhibits, changing temporary exhibits draw artifacts from Museums all over the country.

Not all museum programming revolves around the exhibits; we also offer a wide variety of family-friendly events and lectures on a regular basis; the Museum Store sells items relating to the Ford presidency, other Presidents and First Ladies, and other souvenirs.

The Ford Museum opened to the public in September 1981 and is part of the Presidential libraries system of the National Archives and Records Administration, a Federal agency.

The Ford Museum is in Grand Rapids, Michigan while the Ford Library is in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Despite the separation, the library and museum are a single institution sharing one director.

Hours of Operation

Open Monday - Saturday. 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Open Sunday, 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Closed: New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day


$8.00 for adults
$7.00 for senior citizens and military service members
$6.00 for college students with ID
$4.00 for youth ages 6-18
Free for children under the age of 5
Free parking is available

Information on the Gerald R. Ford High School Essay Challenge

Grand Rapids, MI

303 Pearl Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI  49504-5353


Coming soon! Tour of the NEW Permanent Exhibit Galleries

Other Exhibits

The Museum staff has created several online exhibits, either to supplement permanent exhibits or to publicize temporary exhibits. The current temporary exhibit is available for both viewing at the Ford Museum and online. All others are available only in their online form.

Featured Online Exhibit

Growing Up Grand - exhibit mural Growing Up Grand

Glimpse the early years of Gerald Ford and early 20th centuryGrand Rapids.

Upcoming Programs and Events - Grand Rapids

Date Event
  Exhibits in Grand Rapids
September 20 - October 8, 2017

Preview Week starts September 13

ArtPrize Nine

ArtPrize is an open, independently organized international art competition which takes place for 19 days each fall in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  More than five hundred thousand dollars in prizes are awarded each year, which include a $200,000 prize awarded entirely by public vote and another $200,000 prize awarded by a jury of art experts. The Ford Presidential Museum is a venue again this year with both indoor and outdoor art.


November 4, 2017 - February 2018

Louder Than Words: Rock, Power & Politics

Louder Than Words: Rock, Power & Politics, explores the power of rock to change attitudes about patriotism, peace, equality and freedom. Using video, multimedia, photographs, periodicals and artifacts, Louder Than Words showcases the intersection between rock and politics. It explores how artists exercise their First Amendment rights, challenge assumptions and beliefs, stimulate thought and effect change.

Beyond music’s influence on the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and gender equality, the exhibit also features other significant moments and figures, such as Bob Dylan, who rallied people against social inequality, the hip-hop music of the 80s that discussed police brutality in poverty stricken neighborhoods, and Pussy Riot, who utilized their music as an outlet for social activism in Russia.  


  Programs in Grand Rapids
August 31, 2017 5:30 p.m.

An Evening with The Duke

The John Shea Quartet will cover songs from Duke Ellington for this final jazz night in the Ford After Five series. There is no charge to attend this event, no reservations required. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., music begins at 6:00 p.m.

September 11, 2017 ALL DAY

9/11 Community Day of Remembrance - Scout Salute

Join us as we pay tribute to the lives lost on September 11, 2001. Join the Boy Scouts as they salute from dawn until dusk (7 AM—8 PM) at the Museum. Free Museum admission from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. Blood drive in the DeVos Learning Center (walk ins and by appointment - Red Cross). Police, Fire, EMS, and Disaster Readiness Demonstrations. Special Keynote speakers will be announced. Events happen rain or shine.

October 17, 2017
7:00 p.m.

Screening: The Vietnam War
A Film By Ken Burns and Lynn Novick

Join the Ford Musuem and other audiences at presidential libraries across the Nation for partial screening of The Vietnam War. Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s ten-part, 18-hour documentary series, The Vietnam War, tells the epic story of one of the most consequential, divisive, and controversial events in American history as it has never before been told on film. Visceral and immersive, the series explores the human dimensions of the war through revelatory testimony of nearly 80 witnesses from all sides—Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as combatants and civilians from North and South Vietnam.

November 14, 2017
7:00 p.m.

Tom Tudor
Arlington and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Join Tom Tudor as he gives a two part talk in one great event. The first part focuses on Mr. Tudor's personal connection with the historic cemetary as he recalls his time standing watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The second part gives the history of Arlington National Cemetery and discusses some of America's finest who are laid to rest with in the gates. There is no charge to attend, but reservations are requested.

November 16, 2017
7:00 p.m.

Annual Outdoor Tree Lighting Ceremony

Join the Ford Presidential Museum as the holiday season begins with live music, a sing-along, snacks and of course, the annoucement of the Community Tree Awards. Following the short outdoor program, visitors are invited inside to cast their own vote for the People's Choice Award. There is no charge to attend and no reservations are required.

December 3, 2017
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Holiday Open House

This annual event will feature a visit from Santa and his Mrs. and a few of their reindeer! Holiday stories and music from various choirs. There is no charge to attend the event, and reservations are not needed.

School and Tour Group Policy

Docent-Guided Tours

Limited to one class. Guided tours are Monday through Wednesday, during the school year. Reserve two weeks in advance.

Self-Guided Tours

Limited to 75 students per visit. For groups larger than 75 students, divide into smaller groups and stagger arrivals by at least one hour.


For both docent-guided and self-guided tours, we require 1 adult chaperone for every 10 students. Teachers are included in this figure. The required chaperones are admitted free of charge. Children 15 and younger, and High School students visiting as part of an organized school visit are admitted free of charge. You will receive a confirmation letter when you schedule your visit.

Scheduling a Visit

Call: 616-254-0400

E-mail: send school group reservations to:

Facility Rental

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is a 54,000 square foot educational and cultural facility, located on the bank of the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids. This setting provides a prestigious venue for a meeting, reception, and/or dinner. The Museum offers a 15,000 square foot permanent exhibit, and a 3,500 square foot changing exhibit gallery. Convenient parking.

Venue highlights

library main lobby

Museum Main Lobby

The expansive main lobby of the Museum is an exceptional setting for dinners, special addresses, and receptions. Visitors can also browse the Museum store which offers a variety of unique gifts and books.

Capacity: Sit-down dinner - 100 / Standing reception - 250

library auditorium


The 250-seat auditorium, complete with stage and audio/visual equipment, has the versatility to accommodate symposiums, educational presentations, cultural events, award ceremonies, and musical performances, among others.

Capacity: 254

library courtyard

Museum Grounds

Visitors can enjoy the beautiful Betty Ford Garden and the reflecting pool and fountain. The Museum grounds are also home to President Ford’s distinguished burial site.

More Information

General availability for all spaces is Monday - Friday, between the hours of 8 AM – 9 PM. Contact the Museum for information about scheduling an event, rental fee structure, or to review regulations on the use of the facility and the application process. Events must be consistent with the public perception of the Museum as an educational, research, or cultural institution (no weddings, proms, or similar events).

Call: 616-254-0400 / E-mail:

View/Download Rental Document:

For Individuals and Groups with Special Needs

All areas of the Museum and Library are ADA compliant , and are accessible to people in wheelchairs via ramps and elevators. All Museum and Library exhibits are wheelchair accessible.


Parking at both facilities is free, and accessible parking spaces are located in both the main and over-flow parking lots.


Standard wheelchairs are available at both locations at no charge. Strollers are also available at the Museum.


All public restrooms include accessible facilities, and are ADA compliant. All restrooms have baby-changing stations.

Hearing Impaired

To help visitors who are hearing impaired, a number of exhibits include closed captioning or text panels. The Museum Auditorium is equipped with a T-coil assisted listening loop, and hand-held units are available upon request. The Library Auditorium will be equipped with a T-coil loop (summer 2008).

Sign Language Interpreters

With a minimum of two weeks notice, the Museum is able to provide Sign Language Interpreters at no charge. Sign Language Interpreters who are accompanying school groups or the public and assisting visitors who are hearing impaired are admitted to the Museum at no charge.

Assistive Animals

Visitors, who require Service Animals, such as guide-dogs, are welcome to bring them into the Museum.

Visually Impaired

With a minimum of two weeks notice, the Museum will provide an interpretive guide to groups or individuals at no charge.

Single visitors, adult groups or school groups with special needs can be accommodated at both the Museum and Library with guided tours. Please call (616) 254-0374 (Museum) and (734) 205-0540 (Library) for more information.

Internships / Volunteers

The Museum accepts a limited number of college interns each year to assist with processing, preservation, and digitization of museum holdings. The Padnos Museum Internship Program provides the necessary skills students need to attain a certain level of marketability in the field. For its nearly twenty years in operation, the program has provided lasting experiences for students from around the country.

For more on internships and other volunteer opportunities, contact:
Collections Manager James Draper at (616) 254-0379