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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.
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
Past Board President
Abeba Berhane, MD
HDVCH, Spectrum Health
Schnelker, Rassi, & McConnell, PLC
H & S Companies
Board Treasurer & Secretary
Member at Large
Byron Center Public Schools
Glenn Morris & Associates
Our Kitchen Table
National Heritage Academies
Elzinga & Volkers