For the first time since the Grand Rapids Public Museum opened in 1994, it is getting a makeover.  The museum announced a $64M expansion proposal that includes updates to the building as well as the surrounding grounds.

I had the chance to speak with the Public Museum's VP of Marketing, Kate Kocienski, about the project and she said that the goal of the expansion was to improve the customer experience and flow, to make the museum a reflection of the community, and to increase accessibility.

Among the improvements to the Grand Rapids Public Museum is a new four story tower on the south side of the building.  On the ground floor of the tower will be a café that will work in partnership with the local community.  The second floor will be dedicated to artifact labs where students, children, and patrons can interact and view with some of the museum's exhibits and artifacts.  The third floor is reserved for exhibition space and the fourth floor will be a rental space for gatherings and events both private and public.

The grounds surrounding the museum are getting updates to improve accessibility and give universal access to the river.  The riverwalk path system is being fully integrated into the museum grounds and the river bank is being fully reimagined.  There will be seating areas and terraces added to the grounds for groups, classes, and other pedestrians.

The additions to the grounds are designed to work in conjunction with the Restore the Rapids in the Grand River project.  The banks of the river along the museum will have seating and river access so people can interact with and view the rapids from the museum grounds.

You can see some concept images of the museum expansion proposal below.

GRPM Expansion Project

According to an article by Wood TV 8, the museum is using a combination of public and private funds for the expansion and construction is expected to start sometime in 2023.

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