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We reopened in June 2021 with a focus on accessibility & inclusion:

New Exhibits


for All


A national program providing free or reduced admission to those who qualify for EBT or WIC.


GRCM welcomed more visitors through this program than any other museum in Michigan (a notable accomplishment considering our pandemic closure)


Among 800 member museums, GRCM is in the top 25 for total visitors 

Pay What

You Can Memberships


A GRCM-initiated program that offers discounted memberships to families that qualify for EBT or WIC.


Families give what they are able, starting at $20 per family membership.


6 re-imagined exhibits that are more accessible, including:

  • Little Meijer

  • The Spin Zone

  • Train Table

  • Bubbles

  • Kristen’s Corner

  • The Stage


Play increases creativity and resilience, and it’s all about the generation of diversity—diversity of interactions, diversity of behaviors, diversity of connections. ”

­—Isabel Behncke

Field ethologist and primatologist

The Vision­

One picture can say it all. I don’t know who to credit this photo to, but I look at this photo at least once a week for inspiration. It speaks volumes as to why we have made it 25 years. Those smiles of pure happiness do a magnificent job of hiding the stress our founding mothers endured as not only women leaders, but ones that were fighting for the critical importance of play. Still today we strive to overcome that “frivolous” factor. Only a pandemic could bring play to the forefront - we are here to support our community any way we can alongside the supporting men who wrote the original bylaws, insurance policies and (still) led the play committee - thank you Glenn Morris, Ed Wong-Ligda, Dale Rietberg. But one thing that people know us most for is our iconic building…thank you to the Woodricks and Balks. What a gift.

The Building

I’ve always told my children that the structure where you live is secondary to the people inside. When Aleicia & Bob Woodrick and Jim & Shirley Balk decided to donate the building to us, I am not sure if everyone could predict the future value or impact. Almost 4 million people have been given the opportunity to play, create lifetime memories, and spend time with loved ones, but the evolution of the GRCM has changed our neighborhood, too. The financial boost our organization provided our city at a time when not many people came to the corner of Fulton and Division is measured by the statistic that a current museum attendee spends $23 beyond their entrance fee. Those dollars are significant, and the women in the photo’s smiles belie the economic impact of what they set in motion.

The Team

I love to hear when people say, “I worked at the GRCM as an intern 20 years ago” or reading anecdotes at the end of the night from our play facilitators about what happened on the floor. “We were robbed….after a child shared that he took all the play money out of the Wee Bank” or “Bagger on aisle 5 needed right now” in our Meijer Grocery store or how to get that perfect bubble over your entire body. All of these memories have been made possible because of an extremely generous community of corporations, foundations and individuals, a fiscally wise group of board members and a hard working, gritty staff that always has the mission at the forefront. The past 25 years have intertwined these groups like a beautifully woven tapestry.

The Future

I am so proud of the foundation we have established around inclusivity, belonging and accessibility, but our next 25 years needs to be filled with more programs such as Museums For All, Pay What You Can, and Outreach Programs that extend our mission to our schools, parks and our neighborhoods. We have a path set thanks to the women in that photo, the iconic building, and our Team, but how quickly we get there depends on YOU. When I mentioned that PLAY was brought to the forefront during the pandemic is not a statement to take lightly. We all have suffered and endured over the last three years, but it does reinforce that we need outlets where our kids have the right to PLAY in their lives. Please continue to buy memberships, attend our State of Play Breakfast (one of the most playful events of the YEAR), and give what you can to operations and/or exhibits. You will be giving a gift that will extend the next 25+ years.

Thank you for your support. Thank you for believing in our mission. 


Playfully and gratefully,

Maggie Lancaster, CEO (of play)




2019 Revenue Total $3,262,866

MEDC Grant $1,500,000

Donations $917,590

Admissions $542,455

 Membership $222,633

 Other $44,738

 Rentals $35,450


2019 Expenses Total $1,892,707

Programs $1,412,398

General & Administrative $320,202

Fundraising $160,107




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