mission & values

We are an environment for play.

We advocate for the value of play.

We build minds through play.

Play is essential for healthy development. Play has the power to transform. Play benefits all ages. Everyone has the right to play. Play benefits families.

history

The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum first made its debut as a museum “without walls” in August 1993 at Woodland Mall. The Museum featured two exhibits, Funstruction and Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles!, which were a huge success and exposed over 30,000 children and their families to “hands-on” exploration and learning.

 

Due to the exciting success of the museum “without walls,” Museum founders Georgia Woodrick Gietzen, Alyce Greeson, Carla Morris, Mary Smith, and Aleicia Woodrick, continued their dream to develop

a cultural and educational institution, a children’s Museum, where all programming, exhibits and events would focus on children. By the winter of 1994, the “Museum without walls” had found a home at 11 Sheldon Avenue; a building which had caught fire in August 1980 leaving it vacant until purchased by Bob and Aleicia Woodrick and Jim and Shirley Balk, who donated the building to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. A capital campaign was then launched to help fund the renovation of the Museum, exhibits, a two-year operating budget, campaign costs and an endowment. With the help of many generous community contributors, the campaign goal of $4 million was reached as the Museum opened in the summer of 1997. The outpouring of community support has truly made this goal a reality for the children and families of West Michigan. Since then, the Museum has seen more than 3 million guests and over 200,000 visitors annually.

 

In July 2017, the GRCM celebrated 20 years of learning through play with a special proclamation from Mayor Rosalyn Bliss declaring  July 31 "Grand Rapids Day Of Play" in honor of the GRCM. 

"every child has a different learning style and pace. each child is unique, not only capable of learning but also capable of succeeding."

– robert john meehan

board of directors

Carolyn King, MD

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services

Board President 

Michael Lamfers

Plante Moran

Past Board President

Abeba Berhane, MD

HDVCH, Spectrum Health

President Elect

 

Jason Schnelker

Schnelker, Rassi, & McConnell, PLC

Vice President

Paul Lothschutz

H & S Companies

Board Treasurer & Secretary

 

Kelley Stoppels

Miller Johnson

Member at Large 

Jolynne Dobson

Byron Center Public Schools

 

David Gregory

Kelley Cawthorne

Steve Huizinga

Allied Mechanical

Sandy Jager

Mercantile Bank

Jason Joseph

Spectrum Health

Mandy Jurkovic

Community Advocate

Terrence McCarthy

PNC Bank

Carla Morris

Glenn Morris & Associates

Angela Nelson

Experience GR

Lisa Oliver-King

Our Kitchen Table

Nick Paradiso

National Heritage Academies

John Parker

Elzinga & Volkers

Dale Rietberg

Varnum, LLP

Kari Sherry

Community Advocate

Sharon Smith

Aquinas College

Ed Wong-Ligda

Fine Artist

Grand Rapids Children's Museum
11 Sheldon Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
phone: 616.235.4726
fax: 616.235.4728
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