Tag Archives: Grand Rapids Public Museum

‘Curiosity Labs’ continue this summer at the Grand Rapids Public Museum

Participate in hands-on learning for both families & kids!

By Kate Moore, Grand Rapids Public Museum

 

Curiosity Labs will continue this summer at the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) as part of their ongoing science programming, making science accessible and fun for children and families. Curiosity Labs take place once per month on Saturdays and change focus each time.

 

July’s Curiosity Labs will focus on Mystery Solving Science, and will take place on Saturday, July 22. Participants can help the Museum solve mysteries using science! Learn to think like a scientist and conduct two hands on experiments. In this lab, kids will search clues to find out who stole a missing artifact from the Museum’s Collections, using hands-on scientific techniques.

 

On August 12, visitors can learn more about food in the What’s in My Garden? Lab. Are you interested in the food we eat and where it comes from? In this Curiosity Lab, kids will be hands-on learning about gardens, from how to care and harvest, down to what is in the soil that helps plants grow. Kids will prepare their own snack using some of the vegetables from the Museum’s urban garden. This lab will partially take place outside, weather permitting.

 

Labs take place at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on their scheduled date. Labs are designed for children to work alone or to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. It is recommended children 8 and under have a parent or guardian with them. Tickets can be purchased at grpm.org/science or by clicking here.

 

“This is a great way for kids and families to learn together about science!” said Dr. Stephanie Ogren, the Museum’s Science Director. “These special lab experiences were designed after our successful weekly ongoing science programs, Science Tuesdays. At the Museum our goal is to make science accessible to all learners.”

Additional Summer Family Programming at the GRPM

Camp Curious

Additional experiences at the Grand Rapids Public Museum this summer include Camp Curious summer camps that explore the wonders of science, history, culture, art and fun. For 9 weeks this summer, kids age 4-14 can use the Museum as a learning lab in a variety of camp themes.

 

Camp Curious runs through August 14 with various sessions available depending on age and interest. Discounts are available for enrollment in multiple camps and by registering multiple campers. Additionally, Museum members receive discounts off each camp.

 

Camp Curious offers sessions with a focus on a variety of themes from space exploration to building with Legos®, and from fossils to exploring what it was like to grow up in the Victorian Era. Camp options vary for each age group and are suited to their interest. Age groupings are 4-5 years old, 6-8 years old, 9-11 years old and 12-14 years old. To register and to learn more about Camp Curious, visit grpm.org/CampCurious or call 616.929.1700.

 

Special Exhibits — Creatures of Light & Mindbender Mansion

In Creatures of Light visitors will move through a series of luminous environments, from the familiar mushrooms on land to the extreme in the deepest parts of the ocean, to explore the diversity of organisms that glow and how they do it. Visitors will discover the ways in which light is used to attract a mate, lure unsuspecting prey and defend against a predator, and to learn how, where and why scientists study this amazing natural phenomenon. Creatures of Light is open through July 9.

 

In Mindbender Mansion, families will enjoy exercising their minds as they try to master each of the 40 individual brain teasers and the 5 group activities in this fun and unconventional new exhibit. Visitors to Mindbender Mansion will be greeted by the wacky Mr. E., master brainteaser and puzzler extraordinaire to explain the mysteries of Mindbender Mansion, then will set out to gather hidden clues and secret passwords. Upon completing each of the select brainteasers and group challenges, visitors will see if they gathered the necessary clues and passwords to become a member of the Mindbender Society and add their portrait to the “Wall of Fame.”  Mindbender Mansion is open through September 3.

 

For more information, please visit grpm.org.

 

Science Tuesdays

Science Tuesdays is an ongoing educational experience, offering science programming based on changing themes each month. Science Tuesdays take place throughout the day every Tuesday at the Museum and include a variety of activities and interactive displays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

July will focus on amazing explosions, and will teach about the minerals responsible for the fantastic colors in firework displays. Participants will learn about exothermic and endothermic chemical reactions through demonstrations and quick experiments.

 

August Science Tuesdays will focus on food. Learn about where the food we eat comes from. Visitors can discuss large scale agricultural science as well as community gardening. Museum artifacts will feature historical food-making devices and utensils to emphasize the relationship between food and culture.

 

For more information on Museum programming and exhibits, please visit grpm.org.

 

Grand Rapids Public Museum makes Maker Faire tickets available

Maker Faire is back in Grand Rapids on August 19 & 20 for its 4th year, once again held at the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) and nearby Grand Valley State University’s Hall of Engineering. Combining a traditional science fair with innovation and engineering, community makers will showcase what they have made and share what they have learned.

 

The Faire will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 19 and from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, August 20.

 

Grand Rapids Maker Faire tickets are on sale now! Receive $2 off with early bird tickets, now through Friday, August 4. Early bird tickets for a two-day pass are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and $6 for children, and single day passes are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $3 for children. Kent County residents receive discounted tickets and Museum members are FREE for early bird tickets! Visit GrandRapids.MakerFaire.com for tickets and more information.

 

Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new, Maker Faire gathers all-ages to learn and teach about new ideas and collaborations! Interactive stations and inventions will be showcased by tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and to share what they have learned. Visitors to this year’s Grand Rapids Maker Faire can expect to see and interact with more than 150 maker booths.

 

Featured Maker

This year the Grand Rapids Maker Faire will see a special Maker, the Chicago Crucible, doing the first ever iron pour on the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s lawn! Visitors are able to purchase a small cast to carve, and see the casts be poured during the event on Saturday, August 19! The casts will cool overnight, and be available for pick up at the event on Sunday, August 20!

 

The call for makers is now open through July 16. Any groups or individuals interested in participating in this inaugural event should complete the application at GrandRapids.MakerFaire.com.

 

The 4th annual Grand Rapids Maker Faire is sponsored by MAKE, DTE Energy Foundation, JR Automation Technologies LLC, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, Kent Intermediate School District, Koops, Inc. and Open Systems Technologies.

 

Follow Grand Rapids Maker Faire on Twitter @makerfaireGR and on Facebook at facebook.com/makerfairegr.

Get your tickets now for the annual ‘Front Row for the Fireworks’ event at the GRPM

Photo supplied

Kate Moore, Grand Rapids Public Museum


The Grand Rapids Public Museum’s (GRPM) annual Independence Day fundraiser, Front Row for the Fireworks, offers visitors an evening of entertainment, discovery and fun. The fundraiser will take place on Saturday, July 1 to coincide with the City of Grand Rapids celebration.


In addition to having front row seats in Grand Rapids underneath the fireworks, the night will include patriotic themed Mighty Wurlitzer Organ concerts in the Meijer Theater, exciting shows in the Chaffee Planetarium, rides on the 1928 Spillman Carousel, as well as a unique Museum-wide scavenger hunt for the family. Please note, the Museum will close at 5 p.m. on July 1 and re-open at 6:30 p.m.


The Museum Café will serve a meal deal for $5.00, featuring various summer menu items sure to please any palette. Ice cream and other treats will also be available for purchase. At dusk, visitors can head outside to the carousel walkway or the enclosed lawn seating area, or stay inside the Museum in air-conditioned comfort to have an amazing view of the fireworks as they burst over the Grand River.


Tickets are on sale now! Tickets are $10 for Museum members and $15 for non-members. For more information and to purchase tickets visit grpm.org, call 616.929.1700 or stop by the Museum’s front desk. Proceeds from this event support exhibits and programs of the Grand Rapids Public Museum.


Support Local Foster Children

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is once again working with Lutheran Social Services, West Michigan Ronald McDonald House and D.A. Blodgett Homes to bring foster children, who might otherwise not be able to attend, downtown to the Museum to enjoy the festivities. Ticket purchasers may sponsor a child with a $15 ticket donation that includes a meal for the child. For details, please visit grpm.org or call 616.929.1700.


Front Row for the Fireworks is sponsored by Varnum, LLP and Macatawa Bank.

Grand Rapids Public Museum to participate in Blue Star Museums

The Grand Rapids Public Museum. (Supplied)

By Kate Moore

Grand Rapids Public Museum

 

The Grand Rapids Public Museum announced it will once again be participating in Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

 

The program provides families an opportunity to enjoy the nation’s cultural heritage and learn more about their community, especially after a military move. A list of participating museums is available at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.

 

“The Grand Rapids Public Museum is happy to participate in Blue Star Museums once again this summer, ” said Dale Robertson, President and CEO of the GRPM. We are proud and privileged to offer this benefit to those who are serving our nation and their families.”

 

“The Blue Star Museums program is a great opportunity for the NEA to team up with local museums in every state in the nation to support our service members and their families,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “It means a lot to offer these families access to high-quality, budget-friendly opportunities to spend time together.”

 

The free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty U.S. military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps – and up to five family members. Some special or limited-time museum exhibits may not be included in this free admission program. For questions on particular exhibits or museums, please contact the museum directly. To find participating museums and plan your trip, visit arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.

 

This year’s Blue Star Museums represent not just fine arts museums, but also science museums, history museums, nature centers, and dozens of children’s museums, including newly participating museums: the Edgar Allen Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia; The Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame Museum in Memphis Tennessee; the Hagerman Fossil 3 Beds National Monument in Hagerman Idaho; and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. Museums are welcome to join Blue Star Museums throughout the summer.

 

“Whether they want to blast off at a science museum, take a walk through nature, or encounter animals at the aquarium, Blue Star Museums will help service members and their families create memories this summer,” said Blue Star Families Chief Executive Officer Kathy Roth-Douquet. “This fantastic collaboration with the NEA brings our local military and civilian communities together, and offers families fun and enriching activities in their home towns. We are thrilled with the continued growth of the program and the unparalleled opportunities it offers.”

Reciprocal Membership Benefits for GRPM Members with Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum

At the Grand Rapids Public Museum ‘Creatures of Light’ exhibit

By Kate Moore, Grand Rapids Public Museum


The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) is partnering with the Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum to offer extended reciprocal membership benefits for the month of May.


Through this partnership, GRPM members can visit the Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum and receive free general admission. Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum members in return can visit the GRPM and receive free general admission, free planetarium shows and free carousel rides. Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum members will also be able to visit the traveling exhibit Creatures of Light free of charge for the entire month of May, as well as visit Mindbender Mansion as a GRPM member for free between May 27 and May 31.


“It’s great to be able to offer additional opportunities for our members,” said Jerica Starr, Education Coordinator at the Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum. “The Grand Rapids Public Museum will offer a great new experience for our members and we hope that the Grand Rapids Public Museum members enjoy their trip to the Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum!”


For more information on the reciprocal membership benefits or to become a member of the GRPM, please go here.


Grand Rapids Public Museum

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is a publicly owned institution that is home to more than 250,000 unique artifacts that tell the history of Kent County and beyond, houses the only planetarium in the region, and is responsible for protecting the Norton Indian Mounds, a national historic landmark. The Grand Rapids Public Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, with its main location in downtown Grand Rapids, MI at 272 Pearl Street, NW. For additional information including hours of operation, admission fees and exhibit/event listings, please visit www.grpm.org.


At the Mount Pleasant Discovery Museum

Mt. Pleasant Discovery Center

The Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to sparking creativity, nourishing learning, and inspiring curiosity of children through self-directed discovery in an engaging hands-on environment. The museum provides fun, hands-on exhibits to promote learning for children ages 0-12 in Mid-Michigan and surrounding areas. The discovery museum is a place that sparks curiosity and promotes learning. Each exhibit also aligns with Michigan’s Common Core Standards.


The discovery museum is located on at 5093 E Remus Rd, Mount Pleasant MI 48858 next to Morey Courts and the Isabella County Events (ICE) Arena.


For additional information please go here or call 989.317.3221.

 

Three community members to be honored at César E. Chávez celebration on May 5

 

By Michele Coffill, Grand Valley State University

 

The Committee to Honor César E. Chávez has partnered with the Grand Rapids Public Museum and the Unity Committee to host the 2017 César E. Chávez “5 de mayo” Celebration.

 

The public is invited to this annual event, Friday, May 5, at the museum, 272 Pearl St NW, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 per individual, or a table of 10 for $300; purchase tickets online here.

 

“We are proud to be a partner with the Committee to Honor César E. Chávez in hosting this important community celebration,” said Dale A. Robertson, Grand Rapids Public Museum president and CEO. “The museum is a fitting place for this historical event; we believe in the value of working together to share stories and lessons that inspire and expand cultural opportunities for all.”

 

Three community members will be honored for their service and social justice work:

  • Andrés Abreu, editor-in-chief, El Vocero Hispano;
  • Carol Hennessey, Kent County commissioner, 14th district; and
  • José Reyna, community health programs director for Spectrum Health.

The celebration will feature authentic Mexican food, music and dancing.

 

Area colleges and universities joining the Committee to Honor César E. Chávez to support this event include: Aquinas College, Calvin College, Kendall College of Art and Design, Davenport University, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, and Western Michigan University-Grand Rapids.

 

“Many of our campus partners serve a diverse populations and Grand Valley is proud to partner with and support this annual cultural event alongside our partner universities and colleges,” said Jesse Bernal, vice president for Inclusion and Equity at Grand Valley.

 

The Proud Aguila sponsors of the event are AT&T, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Grand Valley State University and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Lupe Ramos-Montigny “Si Se Puede” Legacy Endowed Scholarship at Grand Valley. Scholarships will be awarded in October to Hispanic students who are pursuing college degrees.

 

Questions about the event can be directed to Lupe Ramos-Montigny, chair of the Committee to Honor César E. Chávez, at lrmontigny@yahoo.com or 616.443.5922.

Summer fun activities abound in Grand Rapids

By Jeremy Witt

 

There is absolutely no excuse to be bored this summer, not with the variety of offerings from local schools and organizations.

Compass College in Grand Rapids offers interested participants help in making a movie this summer. Learn from professionals how to act on camera and make films in their Summer Film and Acting camps. Running from June 19th to 23rd, these camps are designed for teens ages 13 to 18. Each camp offers a completely different experience: as a Film Camp student, you’ll write, shoot, and edit your own short film with guidance from seasoned filmmakers; in Acting Camp, you’ll work on perfecting on-camera acting techniques with a film actor as your coach, and then star in a film produced by Film Camp. At the end of the week, walk the red carpet as the films premiere for family and friends on the big screen.


The Downtown Market in Grand Rapids has three- and four-day summer camps for the young foodie in your life. Camps are offered starting in late June and run through the beginning of August. Each camp has a distinct theme, ranging from Michigan’s fruits and vegetables to creating and utilizing a backyard farm. Sign up today for what Downtown Market cleverly calls their “Simmer Camps”.


Grand Rapids Treetop Adventure Park is hosting its first ever Treetop Climbing Camp, a climbing day camp for the curious, adventurous, and outdoor-lovers in your house. At the Treetop Climbing Camp, you will get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at what is involved in adventure climbing, including one-on-one training from their skilled park guides. Two sessions are now available, with session one from June 19th to 21st and session two from June 26th to 28th. The camp is best suited for kids ages 10 to 15, but more importantly, campers need to be able to reach six feet with their arms straight up.


The Grand Rapids Ballet has a variety of camps that are all centered around dance. Their Ballet School has programs for ballet, young dancers, boys ballet, and summer intensive training. They also have two Adaptive Dance programs, Explorer Dance (for children with Down syndrome) and Dancing with Parkinson’s (for adults with Parkinson’s disease). These Adaptive Dance classes allow students to experience the joy of dancing who may otherwise not have the opportunity to do so. Summer camps at the Grand Rapids Ballet are both fun and accessible for everyone.


The Grand Rapids Civic Theatre has summer camps that give students the chance to spend an entire week learning about theatre while having a blast making new friends. There are some fantastic additions to the extremely popular summer camp program this year, so you’ll want to take a look at their new offerings for the season. Camps range from age 4 all the way through high school.


Summer fun happens at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Join in and explore the wonders of science, history, culture, art and fun. For nine weeks this summer, kids ages 4 to 14 can use the museum as a learning lab, experimenting and growing, all while having a great time in one of the area’s most history-rich and “cool” environments.

 

Veen Observatory kicks off public observation nights on April 29

The James C. Veen Observatory in Lowell.

Public Observing Nights at James C. Veen Observatory, presented by the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association (GRAAA) and Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM), begin for the season on Saturday, April 29. This date corresponds with International Astronomy Day, when astronomy organizations throughout North America celebrate the science with stargazing! Public Observing Nights will continue on selected Saturday evenings twice monthly through October 2017.

 

The waxing crescent moon and planet Jupiter will be highlights on April 29, with views also of star clusters and galaxies through two of the Veen Observatory’s large telescopes, as well as portable telescopes provided by GRAAA members. Public Observing Nights take place only if the sky is clear, with status updates posted at graaa.org or by calling 616-897-7065 the date of each event.

 

Observation Nights have been selected to favorably align with optimum moon phases.  Additional dates and times of Observation Nights can be found online at graaa.org, and include a listing of what sky objects visitors will likely be able to see.

 

Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for those under 18. Grand Rapids Public Museum members and GRAAA members, as well as children under age 5, are free. Credit cards are not accepted.

 

For additional information about Public Observing Nights, including directions to the Veen Observatory located in Lowell, MI, please visit graaa.org.

 

The Grand Rapids Public Museum provides ongoing administrative and financial support to the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association in operation of James C. Veen Observatory.

Retired astronaut keynote speaker at Roger B. Chaffee 50th Scholarship event

Jack Lousma during a spacewalk in 1973.

The Roger B. Chaffee Scholarship Fund announced that retired Skylab and Space Shuttle Astronaut Jack Lousma (Colonel, USMC, Ret.) will be the key note speaker at the Scholarship’s annual award dinner to be held Thursday, May 4, at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, main floor, 6 p.m.

 

Roger B. Chaffee, a Grand Rapids native, perished with his crew mates Ed White and Gus Grissom in the tragic Apollo 1 fire on the launch pad at Cape Kennedy, January 27, 1967. The Scholarship Fund was established in 1967 by family and friends of Roger who graduated with him from Central High School. It is one of the oldest space memorial foundations in the country. The Planetarium at the Grand Rapids Public Museum is named in Roger’s honor.

 

Astronaut Jack Lousma  (Colonel, USMC, Ret.)  (Photo by Phil Konstantin)

Col. Jack lusma (Ret.), who also was born in Grand Rapids, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps and joined NASA in 1966. He was on of the nation’s first space residents, flying an Apollo capsule to Skylab in 1973. He spent 59 days aboard the first space station, including 11 hours on two space walks. Jack was also the commander on the third Space Shuttle Columbia STS-3 in 1982. Jack has amassed more than 7,000 hours of flight time including 1,600 hours in space. Jack retired from NASA in 1983 and has been active in space-related activities and high tech businesses.

 

The 50th Roger B. Chafee Scholarship award, presented each year to an outstanding Kent County High School senior, will this year go to Eric J. Pearson, from Northview High School. Col. Lousma will be doing a presentation in the newly renovated Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium following dinner.

 

The public is invited. Dinner tickets are $55 and space is limited. For reservations or information call Scholarship Director David Pequet at 800-237-0939 or visit the Scholarship website, www.rogerbchaffeescholarship.org. The Grand Rapids Public Museum is located at 272 Pearl St. NW.

Grand Rapids Public Museum hosts special spring break activities

The recreated Waitomo Glowworm Caves of New Zealand. (Photo courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Museum)

By Kate Moore

Grand Rapids Public Museum

 

Spend this Spring Break at the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) to enjoy intriguing exhibits, planetarium shows and hands-on activities. Visitors can explore the Earth’s most amazing creatures at current traveling exhibits, Whales: Giants of the Deep and Creatures of Light! Experience the Chaffee Planetarium’s newest additions, Escher’s Universe and Eclipses and Phases of the Moon, with additional show times daily.

 

This year, the GRPM invites families to enjoy special Spring Break activities planned from March 31 to April 9 and have even more time for fun and learning. Visitors are able to come eye to eye with whales in Whales: Giants of the Deep, and discover the wonder of bioluminescence in Creatures of light until 8 p.m. April 3 – 7 with the Museum’s special extended hours.

 

Whales: Giants of the Deep is a fully immersive exhibit bringing visitors up close to these mysterious creatures. Also, during spring break, current and new members will be able to visit Whales FREE of charge.

 

Recently opened, Creatures of Light gives visitors a unique experience of moving through diverse environments of creatures that use bioluminescence to glow. Explore and interact with familiar organisms such as fireflies to the unfamiliar of deep sea fish that use this phenomenon to attract a mate, lure prey or protect themselves. This exhibit is free with admission.

 

“Whales: Giants of the Deep” will be free to current and new members.

Visitors will enjoy free hands-on activities in the Museum’s main floor Galleria, including watercolor printmaking, making your own origami whales and playing BIG games. Activities will take place Monday, April 3, through – Saturday, April 8, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 2:30 – 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 2 and 9.

 

Visit the Chaffee Planetarium for the Museum’s newest shows. During Spring Break, the Museum offers additional show times for the most popular shows.

 

Newly opened, Eclipses and Phases of the Moon takes a trip through space, allowing viewers to discover how Solar and Lunar eclipses happen and the mythology surrounding them. Visitors will be able to experience the wonder of these eclipses in the Chaffee Planetarium and given the knowledge on how to safely see the astronomical event of a lifetime! The new planetarium show, Escher’s Universe, shows the viewer a peek into the mind and world of artist, astronomer, and mathematician, M.C. Escher. This show features the mathematically inspired graphic arts of Escher through an art documentary. It explores Escher’s marvel of shapes, 3D reconstructions, dual worlds and unreal buildings to revealing Escher’s continuous search for knowledge.

 

Planetarium shows are $4 with general admission, $5 for planetarium only tickets and free to Museum members. For more information on Spring Break activities including planetarium shows and for tickets visit grpm.org.

Public Museum puts out call for annual Maker Faire

By Kate Moore, Grand Rapids Public Museum

 

If you enjoy tinkering, designing, building and hacking new technology-based inventions, then Maker Faire is for you. This year’s Maker Faire will be held at the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) and nearby Grand Valley State University’s Kennedy Hall of Engineering on August 19 and 20.

 

Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new, Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and to share what they have learned.

 

Featuring both established and emerging local “makers”, this family-friendly celebration features tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, hobbyists, engineers, artists, students and commercial exhibitors. Visitors will see installations from local West Michigan inventors, innovators and tinkerers, as well as makers traveling greater distances to showcase.

 

The Faire will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 19 and from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, August 20. Tickets will go on sale in early summer for Museum members and the general public.

 

Any groups or individuals interested in participating in the Maker Faire should complete the application at GrandRapids.MakerFaire.com. Spots are first come, first serve basis with openings inside both the GRPM and GVSU as well as outside on the GRPM’s lawn. This year’s Maker Faire expects to see more than 7,000 visitors throughout the two-day event.

 

The Call to Makers will close on July 16.

Local author has signing in conjunction with Grand Rapids Public Museum’s ‘Whales’ exhibit

Christopher Kemp

By Kate Moore

Grand Rapids Public Museum

 

The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) is partnering with local author and scientist, Christopher Kemp to bring his book Floating Gold: A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris to the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Curiosity Shop.

 

Kemp will be in the main foyer of the Museum in front of the Curiosity Shop on Tuesday, March 21, from 4 – 7 p.m. Floating Gold: A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris will be available for visitors to purchase and have signed by Kemp.

 

Christopher Kemp lives in Grand Rapids and works as a scientist. He has a personal connection to the Whales: Giants of the Deep exhibit, as the author of the book Floating Gold: A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris. His book explores the entertaining and lively history of ambergris, a rare secretion produced only by sperm whales, and it’s fascinating use in perfume. Kemp’s book also contains images from the very same specimen of ambergris that is included in the exhibit.

 

Kemp’s journey begins with an encounter on a New Zealand beach with a giant lump of faux ambergris—determined after much excitement to nothing more exotic than lard—that inspires a comprehensive quest to seek out ambergris and its story. He takes us from the wild, rocky New Zealand coastline to Stewart Island, a remote, windswept island in the southern seas, to Boston and Cape Cod, and back again. Along the way, he tracks down the secretive collectors and traders who populate the clandestine modern-day ambergris trade.

 

Floating Gold is a history that covers not only these precious gray lumps and those who covet them, but presents a highly informative account of the natural history of whales, squid, ocean ecology, and even a history of the perfume industry. Kemp’s obsessive curiosity is infectious, and eager readers will feel as though they have stumbled upon a precious bounty of this intriguing substance.

 

Tickets are currently on sale for the Whales: Giants of the Deep exhibition, which runs through April 15. Members will be $2 per ticket, and non-member adults are $13, non-member children are $8. Admission to Whales: Giants of the Deep includes general admission to the Museum. Further discounts to Kent County residents. Tickets can be purchased by visiting grpm.org/Whales or calling 616-929-1700.

Public Museum Beer Explorers, Brewery Vivant host ‘Beer The Change’

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is partnering with Brewery Vivant to offer a special Beer Explorers class. (Supplied)

By The Grand Rapids Public Museum

 

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is partnering with Brewery Vivant to offer a special Beer Explorers class on Thursday, March 23, where participants will learn about the impact beer brewing has on the environment and what can be done to make it more Earth-friendly, while enjoying a special beer tasting.

 

The class will be led by Brewery Vivant’s owner and sustainability director Kris Spaulding, and “Wandering Monk” and certified cicerone Ryan Engemann.

 

The class begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be held on the first floor in the museum’s Galleria. Admission to class includes three beer samples, as well as access to the museum’s first two floors. A cash bar will also be available.

 

Tickets for the event are $8 for members and $18 for non-members. Participants must be 21 and older. Tickets can be purchased at grpm.org

 

This Beer Explorers program will be the first of three with Brewery Vivant. On April 19, join the GRPM and Brewery Vivant for Pub Science at Brewery Vivant. Pub Science is free for participants age 21 and older. Registration is required. Please visit grpm.org/PubScience to register today. On May 11, the third class in the series will teaching participants about how to combine beer with cheeses. Tickets will go on sale in March for the May class.

 

Brewery Vivant is located in the East Hills neighborhood of Grand Rapids, in a renovated funeral chapel built in the early 1900s. It is the first commercial brewery in the nation to receive Silver LEED Certification, additionally they are 100 percent renewable powered, a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Business, and are a certified B Corporation.

 

River City Water Festival celebrates role of Grand River

By Dottie Barnes

Grand Valley State University

 

The third annual River City Water Festival, a community event celebrating the Grand River and its role in shaping the city of Grand Rapids, will be held March 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

 

The free event is sponsored by the Groundswell initiative through the College of Education at Grand Valley State University in partnership with the West Michigan Environmental Action Council.

 

The festival will feature hands-on, educational activities designed to engage participants about the need to protect water resources. Participants will learn how small actions at home can make a big difference in the quality of the Grand River.

 

An awards ceremony at 11 a.m. will be held to honor the top three winners of the Water Superhero Poster Contest that was open to area 5th, 6th and 7th grade students. The grand prize went to Jolene Barcelo, a 5th grade student at Grand Rapids Montessori. The top 20 posters will be on display at the museum during the festival.

 

Festival activities will be led by Grand Valley’s Annis Water Resources Institute, the Blandford Nature Center, John Ball Zoo, Plaster Creek Stewards, the City of Grand Rapids Environmental Services Department, Kent Conservation District, Macatawa Area Coordinating Council, and more.

 

Financial support for the event comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, as well as Grand Valley’s College of Education.

 

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is located at 272 Pearl St. NW. For more information visit http://groundswellmi.org/river-city-water-festival.

The Public Museum’s newest exhibit goes dark, allowing the creatures to light the way

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By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma

joanne@wktv.org

 

Fireflies dancing across the night sky. Jellyfish floating gracefully through a sea’s current. Each of these offer a colorful display of light in the darkness.

 

That generation of light by living things is called bioluminescence, which is created by chemical reactions. And it is not produced for beauty but used to attract a mate, lure unsuspecting prey and/or defend against a predator. These creatures who use bioluminescence are the focus of a new Grand Rapids Public Museum exhibit, “Creatures of the Light.”

 

“This is a very different exhibit for us,” said Kate Moore, the Public Museum’s vice president of marketing and public relations, adding that is partly because the exhibit is in very low light as to better showcase the bioluminescence of the plants and animals featured. “It is a different topic then what we have offered in the past and it has an emersion feel that you experience as you travel through the exhibit.”

 

Opening on Saturday and running through July 9, “Creatures of the Light,” starts by exploring the living things that are on the ground that utilize bioluminescence, such as mushrooms, or fly through the air, such as fireflies. From there, it travels to Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand where visitors can feel what it is like to view the worms in the caves.

 

The recreated Waitomo Glowworm Caves of New Zealand. (Photo courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Museum)

Then the exhibit heads to open water, where a majority of bioluminescence creatures live. “In the depths of the ocean, there is complete darkness so the animals living there survive using bioluminescence,” Moore said. Think of “Finding Nemo,” when Dory and Marlin, swimming in complete darkness, see a light and follow it almost right into the hungry mouth of a angler fish.

 

But before you can get to the depths, you must first explore the ocean’s surface where plankton organisms called dinoflagellates will follow your movement and creating a glowing halo around anything that moves. From there, is the Bloody Bay Wall, lit up by coral and fishes followed, of course, by jellyfish. And then finally, you are where almost 90 percent of the bioluminescence animals live, 2,200 feet below sea level in darkness, where the angler fish is waiting to greet you along with some other interesting animals.

 

While the exhibit is dark, it is not scary, Moore said with Public Museum’s Marketing Communications Manager Christie Bender liking it to a ride at Disney World that has little or no light. “It’s a fun experience,” Bender said. “It has that Disney ride, magical sense.”

 

Elements such as the illuminated floor with the dinoflagellates will easily entertain along with the wonderment of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Adding to the exhibit, will be a pop-up store by the entrance into the exhibit offering glow sticks, as well as other items, allowing participants to “glow” as they move through the exhibit.

 

“Creatures of the Light” is one of two new spring/summer exhibits at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Opening in May will be “Mindbender Manson,” which will feature 40 brain teasers and five group activities.

 

“The Museum is excited to bring in these two new, innovative exhibits that encourage our visitors to explore more about the world around us, as well as test knowledge and
skills in puzzle solving,” said GRPM’s President & CEO Dale Robertson. “’Creatures of Light’ reveals some of the most magical, wondrous, and truly extraordinary creatures and phenomena to be found in the natural world, and ‘Mindbender Mansion’ is a family friendly way to learn and adapt constructive thinking skills.”

“Creatures of Light” is part of the museum general admission which is $8 for adults, $5 for  Kent County resident adults; $7 for seniors, $3 for Kent County resident seniors, and $3 for students.  “Mindbender Manison” will be $10 for adults, $5 for children, $7 for Kent County resident adults and $2 for Kent County resident children, and free for Museum members.

For more information about exhibits and programs at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, visit www.grpm.org. The Grand Rapids Public Museum is located at 272 Pearl St. NW.

Explore the Science of Watersheds at the Public Museum

Science Tuesdays for March will focus on watersheds.

During the month of March, visitors can join the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) for hands-on Watershed Science. As part of monthly Science Tuesdays, hands-on science activities will highlight the Grand River watershed and its impact within the community.

 

Learners of all ages will be engaged by interactive activities including watercolor map painting, identifying and viewing aquatic organisms, and learning about indicator species whose presence alone give indication of the water quality. See GRPM artifacts, including historic log ends and specimens that live in our Grand River watershed.

 

Science Tuesdays take place throughout the day every Tuesday in the Museum’s Galleria and include a variety of activities and interactive displays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities are free with general admission to the Museum.

 

Special Saturdays at the GRPM will have Science Saturday with hands-on activities related to that month’s Science Tuesdays theme. Science Saturdays will take place in the Museum’s Galleria and be free with general admission. Science Saturdays will take place March 4 and 11.

 

On Saturday, March 11, join the GRPM for Glow Lab – this month’s Curiosity Lab. Kids will explore and interact with organisms and objects that use a variety of strategies to produce intriguing lights and colors. This lab features glowing dinoflagellates, fluorescent minerals, color-changing plant material and other unexpected objects that kids can view in the dark and under UV light. Curiosity Labs take place at 11 a.m. and at 1 p.m. Limited tickets available, recommended for ages 8 and older. Tickets are available at grpm.org/Science-Tuesdays.

 

Future Science Tuesdays are themed around activities happening in the community and at the Museum. For upcoming themes and activities, please visit grpm.org/Science-Tuesdays.

2017 Total Eclipse informational session at Public Museum set for March 1

The Grand Rapids Public Museum. (Supplied)

By Kate Moore

Grand Rapids Public Museum

 

The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) and the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association (GRAAA) on Wednesday, March 1, for a special presentation on what people in West Michigan can do for the 2017 total solar eclipse.

 

On Aug, 21, the first significant total eclipse of the sun visible across a broad area of the continental United States since 1970 will take place midday. As the moon slips between the earth and sun, observers within the 70 mile wide band of the total eclipse, stretching from Oregon to South Carolina, will witness complete darkness for up to two minutes and forty seconds.

 

On March 1 at 7:30 p.m., Dave DeBruyn, Curator Emeritus of the GRPM’s Chaffee Planetarium and current GRAAA President, along with WZZM Meteorologist George Lessons will give a presentation about this year’s eclipse including useful tips to potential eclipse chasers and answer questions. The duo will also share information about the GRPM’s eclipse event that will take place at the GRPM on August 21, 2017.

 

DeBruyn will discuss how the motions of the sun and moon produce eclipses, but rarely total solar eclipses over a given location. Participants will learn what to look for and concentrate on during the eclipse, as well as what not to do. DeBruyn has traveled the world to see five total solar eclipses.

 

Lessens will discuss prospects for clear weather at various places along the path of totality. A weather system at the place of observation at eclipse time or midday convective cloudiness in the air could ruin viewing opportunities. Lessens will suggest locations where that is least likely to happen.

 

The presentation on March 1 will take place in the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Meijer Theater and is free to attend for the general public.

Grand Rapids Public Museum opens registration for Camp Curious Summer Camps

By Kate Moore

Grand Rapids Public Museum

Camp Curious is now open for registration at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Camp Curious is the Museum’s summer camp program that explores the wonders of science, history, culture, art and fun. For nine weeks this summer, kids ages 4-14 can use the Museum as a learning lab in a variety of camp themes.

Camp Curious runs from June 19 through Aug. 14 with various sessions available depending on age and interest. Discounts are available for enrollment in multiple camps and by registering multiple campers. Additionally, Museum members receive discounts off each camp.

Camp Curious offers sessions with a focus on a variety of themes from space exploration to building with Legos®, and from fossils to exploring what it was like to grow up in the Victorian Era. Camp options vary for each age group and are suited to their interest. Age groupings are 4-5 years old, 6-8 years old, 9-11 years old and 12-14 years old. To register and to learn more about Camp Curious, visit grpm.org/CampCurious or call 616.456.3977.

Camps range in dates and duration, including Be Curious Day Camp offering one day sessions on Mondays and new this year one day camps on Fridays! Others camps are multiple days and have options between morning or afternoon sessions.

New camps for 2017 include our “Farm to Table” Camp for ages 9-14. Campers will learn about the gardening process from the science of soil to the fun of harvesting! The Museum is partnering with Urban Roots, a non-profit dedicated to connecting people to soil and table, for this one-of-a-kind experience.

Brand new for 2017 is adult camps. This summer adults can be a part of “Date Night Out” where Museum staff watches the kids while the adults enjoy an evening exploring the Museum. Adults can also enjoy “Dinner at the 1895 Voigt House,” one of the Museum’s sites that serves as a time capsule of the late Victorian period.

Beer Explorers program teams breweries for barrel-aged comparison

Last year’s Beer Explorers program at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. (Supplied)

WKTV Staff

 

The Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Beer Explorers program will team with Founders Brewing Company and Brewery Vivant for a “learn while you taste” class where participants will sample barrel-aged beers on Thursday, Feb. 16.

 

The program includes discussion the topics of what makes barrel-aged beers unique, including sampling barrel-aged beers along with a non barrel-aged beer to taste the differences, according to supplied material. Representatives from Founders Brewing Company and Brewery Vivant will lead this tasting and answer any questions participants have on beers. Brewery Vivant will give participants an even more unique experience by offering a sour barrel-aged beer to taste.

 

The class begins at 6 p.m. Admission to each class includes general admission to the museum as well as three beer samples. A cash bar will also be available. Tickets are $8 for museum members and $18 for non-members. Participants must be 21 and older.

 

Tickets and information available by visiting grpm.org.

 

Public Museum’s Under the Stars continues with local performer Janga

Theo Ndawillie II (Janga)

Join the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) Thursday, Feb. 9, for the next performance of Concerts Under the Stars – a new series in the Chaffee Planetarium. Visitors enjoy a live concert with a fully immersive audio and visual experience.

 

Following a sold out performance on Jan. 19, Janga will be performing funk music accompanied by a live full-dome light show, while visitors sit back and experience the wonder of the cosmos with the wonder of music.

 

This show will feature the music of Janga, the solo project of Grand Rapids-based composer, keyboardist, percussionist and cyclist Theo Ndawillie II, accompanied by musicians from Vox Vidorra and the Grand Rapids Symphony. Theo spends most of his time performing and writing with his band Vox Vidorra, teaching at Triumph Music Academy, and working on commissions. Theo has been commissioned by the Grand Rapids Symphony, Symmetry Films (shehimher), ADAPT Theatre Company and others. His hobbies include finding ways to combine musical endeavors with various forms of environmental and social activism. Theo has been a member of the Well House Board of Directors since January 2016.

 

The Concerts Under the Stars series features visuals by Nate Eizenga. For the past decade, Nate has been fascinated by performances that use visual imagery to enhance the experience of live music. Frustrated with preprocessed, press-play videos, he taught himself to mix and manipulate video in real-time, finally playing his first live show with musician Darkly in early November 2015. Since then he has continued to refine his craft, playing alongside Darkly as well as DJs from Rocksteady Disco, FourFour SoundSystem and Vinyl Fetish. Possessing both musical synchronization and artistic spontaneity, his work is guaranteed to mesmerize even the most reserved viewers.

 

Concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments, beer and other beverages will be available for purchase.

 

Tickets are $10 for GRPM members, $12 for non-members if purchased in advance, and $15 for non-members on the day of the concert. Tickets are currently on sale at grpm.org, by calling 616-929-1700 or at the Museum’s front desk.

 

The 2017 Concerts Under the Stars Series will continue on March 16 with jazz-inspired electronic by Mishigami, and on April 6 with folk music by Emma Loo and Sam.

 

The Chaffee Planetarium is located at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, 272 Pearl St. NW.

Grand Rapids Public Museum expands science programs to Saturday

Science Saturday will feature programs similar to those in Science Tuesdays.

By Christie Bender

Grand Rapids Public Museum

 

During the month of February, join the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) for hands-on Zoology Science Tuesday programming. Each month at the Museum highlights a different science topic all part of the ongoing educational experience offering, Science Tuesdays, based on changing themes each month.

 

Explore the diversity of the animal kingdom by viewing a variety of animal skins, skulls, and specimens out of the Museum’s education collection. Identify various teeth structures based on an animal’s diet, try your hand at investigating a barn owl’s prey by dissecting owl pellets and use a microscope to get an up-close view of some interesting animal features.

 

Science Tuesdays take place throughout the day every Tuesday in the Museum’s Galleria and include a variety of activities and interactive displays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities are free with general admission to the Museum.

 

New beginning the month of February, Special Saturdays at the GRPM will have Science Saturday with hands-on activities related to that month’s Science Tuesdays theme. Science Saturdays will take place in the Museum’s Galleria and be free with general admission. Science Saturdays will take place Feb. 18 and 25, and Mar. 4 and 11.

 

On Saturday, Feb. 25, join the GRPM to help solve mysteries in February’s Curiosity Lab.

In this lab, kids will search clues to find out who stole a missing artifact from the Collection, using the hands-on scientific technique of chromatography. This Curiosity Lab will take place at 11 a.m. and at 1 p.m. Limited tickets available, recommended for ages 8 and older. Tickets can be found at grpm.org/Science-Tuesdays.

 

Future Science Tuesdays are themed around activities happening in the community and at the Museum. For upcoming themes and activities, please visit grpm.org/Science-Tuesdays.

Public Museum makes good on campaign promise, reduces admission for Kent County residents

The Grand Rapids Public Museum. (Supplied)

By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma

WKTV News

 

Heading to the Grand Rapids Public Museum today? Well, Kent County residents will be pleased to know that the admission fee has been reduced.

 

The Grand Rapids Public Museum announced that admission for Kent County residents would be free for children ages 17 and under; $5 for Kent County residents; $3 for Kent County seniors; and free parking with paid Museum admission and parking valdiation. Kent County residents will need to show a government issued ID to receive these benefits.

 

As part of the millage, exhibits and programs at the Grand Rapids Public Museum and the John Ball Zoo will be expanded and updated.

The benefits for Kent County residents officially kicked in today and are the result of a voter-approved millage for the Grand Rapids Public Museum and the John Ball Zoo which was on the 2016 November ballot. The proposal was overwhelmingly approved, 173,152 to 108,333.

 

“Thanks to the financial support of the voters of Kent County, the Museum can continue to serve as an irreplaceable community resource and a symbol of regional importance,” said GRPM President and CEO Dale Robertson. “As a thank you to voters and to our community, we are pleased to offer these benefits, making the Museum more accessible to all.”

 

The new rates for Kent County residents are good for the life of the millage, which is 10 years.

 

Admission for residents outside of Kent County will remain the same: $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $3 for students and children. Admission for members is free. Special exhibits do have an up charge; however, those rates will be reduced for Kent County residents. Members pay $2 for special exhibits.

 

The funds from the 2016 millage – which was estimated to raise around $9.2 million in the first year – are designed to help both the Public Museum and the John Ball Zoo create a stable funding sources, ensuring that essential maintenance and facility repairs can take place. It also will provide quality care for the 1,600 animals and 250,000 artifacts at the John Ball Zoo and Museum along with updating and expanding education and exhibits at both facilities. As part of its commit to the millage passing, John Ball Zoo has made all school trips for elementary level students free.

Roger That!: Local astronaut remembered for contributions to the space program

Astronauts (left to right) Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee, pose in front of Launch Complex 34 which is housing their Saturn 1 launch vehicle. The astronauts died ten days later in a fire on the launch pad. (NASA/photographer unknown – NASA [1] Great Images in NASA Description, Public Domain)
By Joanne N. Bailey-Borosma

joanne@wktv.org

 

Whether you have traveled the road, visited the planetarium, or seen the American legion post in your travels through Wyoming, there is a good chance you have seen or heard the name Roger B. Chaffee.

 

And for some the question during those travels may have been who was Roger B. Chaffee?

 

Chaffee was one of the first NASA astronauts, who tragically never made it to the stars. On Jan. 27, 1967, there was a fire in the Apollo 1 capsule during a training exercise killing Chaffee and his two crew mates, Virgil “Gus” Grisson and Edward H. White II, who was the first person to perform a space walk.

 

The inside of the Apollo 1 capsule after the fire. (NASA/photographer unknown – NASA [1] Great Images in NASA Description, Public Domain)
This Friday, fifty years to the date of the accident, the Wyoming Roger B. Chaffee American Legion Post 154 will host a dinner and memorial ceremony at the post, 2327 Byron Center Ave. SW. The dinner is at 6 p.m. and the ceremony is at 7 pm.

 

“From what I know, his father was a member of the post and they asked if they would name it after him,” said Jerry Smith, an adjunct with the post. American Legion posts have a tradition of bringing named after a local veteran.

 

Chaffee was a Navy officer before being accepted to the NASA program, said Glen Swanson, a Grand Valley State University physics professor who worked for NASA in Houston as the Johnson Space Center’s chief historian. Swanson credits some of his love for space from Chaffee’s parents, Donald and Blanche Chaffee. In their later years, the couple had moved to the city of Wyoming and Swanson would bike over to visit them and talk about NASA and the space program.

 

A photo of Don and Blanche Chaffee with their daughter after the Apollo 1 accident. The photo is in the ‘Roger That!’ exhibit.

“Don and Blanche were huge supporters of the space program even after their son’s death,” Swanson said, adding the couple would visit area schools to talk about NASA and space and Don Chaffee even wrote a book.

 

The Chaffee family was from Greenville. Due to Don Chaffee having scarlet fever, Blanche Chaffee was forced to stay with relatives in Grand Rapids until Roger was born. The family later moved to Grand Rapids and Roger attended Central High School.

 

After graduation, Chaffee would attend Purdue to pursue his passion of flying and earned a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering. He joined the Navy and in 1962 applied for the astronaut training program. He wold be one of 14 out of a pool of more than 1,800 to be chosen for the Astronaut Group 3, all of who would be part of the Apollo program.

 

In January 1966, Chaffee was selected for the first Apollo mission, which was a surprise, Swanson said, adding that Chaffee had no previous flight experience unlike his crew mates Grissom and White. None would make it into space as the following year, the fire happened.

 

The accident also happened shortly after the move of the then Kent County Airport, which was located in Wyoming, formerly Paris Township. The landing strip was being paved and it was decided to name the road Roger B. Chaffee Boulevard.

 

“There was the local connection and since it was the former runway, it probably made sense,” Swanson said, adding that there was some debate on naming the airport after Chaffee but eventually it would be named after the former president and is now called the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

 

The ‘Roger That!’ exhibit will be up through Mar. 31 at the GVSU Eberhard Center in downtown Grand Rapids.

Wanting to remember Chaffee’s contributions to the space program, Swanson help put together a photo exhibit, “Roger That!,” on the West Wall Gallery at the GVSU Eberhard Center in downtown Grand Rapids.

 

“We didn’t want to focus just on the tragedy of what happened, but rather on his life and accomplishments,” Swanson said. The exhibit will be up through Mar. 31.

 

There was plans to host an event on the actual anniversary, but since family members were booked for the NASA event this week in Florida, GVSU officials instead worked with the Grand Rapids Public Museum to plan a two-day conference and celebration in February, which was Chaffee’s birth month. On Feb. 10, there will be a conference featuring discussions on a variety of space-related topics including science, society, and the arts. The event concludes with a ticketed dinner with Chaffee’s wife and daughter, Martha and Sheryl Chaffee, and the planetarium show “Dark Side: The Light Show.”

 

On Feb. 11, Brother Guy Consolmagno of the Vatican Observatory and winner of the Carl Sagan Medal for excellence in public communication in planetary sciences will present at 11 a.m. at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, 272 Pearl St. NW. This is a ticketed event. For more on the Roger That! activities, visit www.gvsu.edu/rogerthat.

 

Swanson said he hopes the activities will not only remind people of who Chaffee was, but encourage others to follow in his footsteps by pursuing their passion whether it be space or something else in the great beyond.

Government Matters: Kent County commissioners lists 2016 accomplishments

News of Your Government

WKTV Staff

Last year was a big year for the Kent County Board of Commissioners with 2016 including such accomplishments as the approval of the 70 cents per month increase in dispatch surcharge to improve dispatch services and the .44 mill property tax increase for the Grand Rapids Public Museum and the John Ball Zoo.

 

The new financial support for the John Ball Zoo was one of the accomplishments of the Kent County Board of Commissioners last year. (Supplied)

Board Chair Jim Saalfeld and County Administrator/Controller Daryl Delabbio, in a recent press release, recently detailed several other major tasks achieved by the board and county staff during the year, as well as upcoming 2017 efforts and plans.

 

“While there will certainly be other issues that we face during the course of a year, as you can see, it is already shaping up to be a very busy 2017,” Saalfeld said in supplied material. “This Board remains committed to providing effective services to our residents while operating transparently and with a balanced budget. We look forward to great results in 2017.”

 

Along with the dispatch and the museum/zoo millage, those tasks include implementation of a “space needs” study for the detention facility, correctional facility and new Circuit Court courtrooms; a Lakeshore Regional Partnership; successful negotiations of the corrections officers and court employees contracts; receiving a triple-A credit rating; creating the first Renaissance Zone to enable Switch to move into the area; and transitioning the airport from a county department to an airport authority.

 

Several items will continue in 2017, including the “space needs” study, the Agri-Business Work Group, the Lead Task Force and the FOC Engagement Task Force. Also this year, the board will appointing a new administrator/controller as Delabbio will be retiring on July 1. This is the first time since 1998 that the Board of Commissioners will be faced with the selection of a county administrator/controller.

 

Also up for 2017 is more collective bargaining; discussions of the potential merger of the Area Community Service and Employment Training Community Action Agency with the County’s Department of Community Development and Housing; a review of the board’s standing rules; and the 2018 budget.

 

Secretary of State details ExpressSOS advantages to citizens

 

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and a rapping kangaroo are teaming up to encourage Michigan residents to hop online to do their Secretary of State business as part of an online effort to spread the word about its ExpressSOS.com website.

 

The “Kangaruth” video is being aired at youtube.com/michsosoffice or www.Michigan.gov/kangaruth.

 

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and a rapping kangaroo are teaming up to encourage Michigan residents to hop online to do their Secretary of State business. (Supplied)

“I am asking you to help out and share the video and the message of hopping online at ExpressSOS.com with as many people as possible to help shorten the wait times at Secretary of State branch offices,” Johnson said in supplied material. “The more people that know about using the online services the shorter the wait times are for those who must visit an office in person.”

 

Residents can renew their registration/tabs for your car, truck, motorcycle and watercraft. Most people can renew or replace a standard driver’s license or state ID. And with its Print ’N Go feature, customers can print their receipt and drive legally until they get their card or sticker in the mail. (Every eight years, customers need to visit an office to get an updated photo).

 

Customers can get a duplicate vehicle registration or title, and change/update their address and personal information. You can even join the organ donor registry, all from the comfort of your home, library, office or on the go.

ExpressSOS.com, launched in 2011 and having conducted 9.6 million online transactions, saves customers the trip and avoiding standing in a line.

 

Customers may call the Department of State Information Center to speak to a customer-service representative at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).

 

‘Fashion and Tea’ vintage fashion returns to Grand Rapids Public Museum

 

By Kate Moore

 

The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) kicks off its 2017 Fashion and Tea programming on Saturday, Feb. 11. Learn about fashion, customs and culture from the Civil War Era into the 20th Century and explore the Museum’s Education Collection of vintage clothing, down to the tiniest detail.

 

3-piece champagne silk dress

The programs will begin in the Streets of Old Grand Rapids exhibition which transports guests back in time to the Victorian era. The program will continue in a classroom at the Museum where guests can indulge in sweet treats and tea, while enjoying a visual feast.

 

Fashion and Tea programs will be held from 2-4 pm. Additional Fashion and Tea program dates are March 4, April 22 and May 13. Tickets are $15 for non-members and $13 for members. Tickets are limited, purchase early online at www.grpm.org, by phone at 616.456.3977 or at the Museum’s front desk.

 

Registration for Science Night at Grand Rapids Public Museum now open

The Grand Rapids Public Museum. (Supplied)

WKTV Staff

 

The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM), recently announced that registration is open to host a science booth at this year’s Science Night at the Museum, taking place on Tuesday, April 18.

 

GRPM is inviting local and regional researchers, students and faculty to host a hands-on table display related to their research or field of study, according to supplied material  the event will be  from 5 to 8 p.m. The vision is to have lab groups or individuals putting together innovative ways to engage the public and communicate their research to the community.

 

A cash award will be given for the most innovative and hands-on interpretation of their research. One winner will be chosen by public vote and a second chosen by the Museum’s education staff.

 

Applications are open through Feb. 10 and can be found at grpm.org/ScienceNight

 

Public Museum’s Beer Explorers pairs beer, doughnuts this month

The Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Beer Explorers program will pair Founders beer with Robinette’s doughnuts. (Supplied)

WKTV Staff

 

Beer and doughnuts … what’s not to like?

 

The Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Beer Explorers program continues on Thursday, Jan. 12, with a event pairing Founders beer with Robinette’s doughnuts, allowing participants to explore their sense of taste and what combinations appeal to individual palates.

 

The series of winter programs are held in partnership with Founders Brewing Company one Thursday evening each month through the mid-winter.

 

The third and final installment of Beer Explorers with Founders Brewing Company will take place on Feb. 16, and focusing on barrel aging beers. Participants will learn about the process of barrel aging and how different factors affect the taste and quality of the beer.

 

Classes begin at 6 p.m. and will be held on the 1st floor of the museum. Admission to each class includes general admission to the museum as well as three beer samples. A cash bar will also be available. Tickets to Beer Explorers is $8 for museum members and $18 for non-members. Participants must be 21 and older.

 

For more information and ticket, visit grpm.org

 

Expanded, more inclusive programs part of Public Museum’s future plans

By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma

joanne@wktv.org

 

It has been almost six weeks since the millage for the John Ball Zoo and the Grand Rapids Public Museum passed with overwhelming support and during that period officials have been determining what the next steps will be.

 

About 63 percent of the votes from the Nov. 8 election favored the millage which will add .44 mills to Kent County residents’ tax bills. For a owner of a $170,000 home, that would be about $37.40 per year increase through the year 2025. Residents will see the increase with their winter tax bill.

 

Science Tuesdays is one of the programs the Grand Rapids Public Museum is looking to expand.

“It really is a strong level of support for the institutions, both of which have a long history in this community,” said Grand Rapids Public Museum Director Dale Robertson. “It was a nice validation for what we have done and gave us the encouragement to take the dreams and ideas we have for engagement and programs to the next level.

 

“It told us that the public is right with us on this.”

 

And museum officials are already moving forward on future programs. In the short term, the goal is to enhance access to the museum’s Science Tuesdays, which provides hands on science stations, by expanding the program to Saturdays. Also to create museum school lessons utilizing the institution’s vast collection that can be made available to all the schools in Kent County.

 

There are bigger projects down the road such as partnership with the Hope Network Center for Autism in creating a universal design that will accommodate a spectrum of accessible for a broader population, Robertson said. This will mean some physical changes inside the museum.

 

The millage will bring in about $9.2 million the first year. According to state law, more than $414,000 of the money raised from the millage will go to the 18 Kent County Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts that keep taxes collected on property in their boundaries for local improvements.

 

The Wyoming Downtown Development Authority would be one such organization, however City Manager Curtis Holt said the DDA would not receive any funds due to negative property value changes in recent years. Traditionally, the City of Wyoming has returned such special millages and in this case would give any additional funds from the zoo/museum millage back to those organizations, Holt said.

 

Two local graduates help national Christian singer produce music video

Compass Alum, Kevin Sytsma (left), sets up the next shot with Director Harold Cronk (right).
Compass alum and Wyoming resident Kevin Sytsma (left), sets up the next shot with Director Harold Cronk (right).

By Jessie Hollet

Compass College of Cinematic Arts

 

Renowned film director, Harold Cronk (“God’s Not Dead,” “God’s Not Dead 2”), teamed up with film students from Compass College of Cinematic Arts to create a music video featuring singer-songwriter Micah Tyler and his chart-topping song, “Never Been a Moment.”

 

Filming took place at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, in the Streets of Old Grand Rapids located on the main floor and in the former Grand Rapids City Hall clock tower located on the third floor. The video was released earlier this week on FreeCCM.com.

 

“It was a huge confidence builder receiving the role of production coordinator on a professional music video,” said Stephanie Norton, a Kentwood resident who is a senior at Compass. “I was really excited but at the same time terrified I might screw up. The production coordinator is a big job.

“The production coordinator makes sure everything is running smoothly before, during and after the shoot. I had to book the accommodations. During the shoot, I was in charge of making sure everyone is happy.”

 

Micah Tyler sings “Never Been a Moment” while filming at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. (Photo courtesy of Compass College of Cinematic Arts.
Micah Tyler sings “Never Been a Moment” while filming at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. (Photo courtesy of Compass College of Cinematic Arts.

Cronk currently is in post-production for his next feature film, “God Bless the Broken Road,” which features Tyler’s music. Tyler is well-known for his parody on the millennial generation called “You’ve Gotta Love Millennials,” which was for a Christian leadership conference earlier this year. The video received more than 23.1 million views on social media and almost 2.5 million views on YouTube.

 

“Micah Tyler was very kind and worked really hard. He kept the energy high and was very down to earth,” Norton said.

 

Several Compass College interns and alumni have been working on Cronk’s film. When the opportunity arose to create a music video for Tyler, Cronk reached out to Compass College offering interns and students in the music video and sound design courses experience working with professionals.

 

“Harold is an excellent teacher who continually offers Compass students excellent on-set opportunities,” said Compass College President Keri Lowe. “Even with his success as a filmmaker, he continues to look for ways to serve and give back to his community.”

 

Compass students worked on many different aspects of the music video project, from scouting locations to camera work, to assistant directing, to sound and editing.

 

Compass College Senior, Jonathan Clark (right), holds the film slate as Micah Tyler (right) prepares for the next take. (Photo courtesy of Compass College of Cinematic Arts.)
Compass College Senior, Jonathan Clark (right), holds the film slate as Micah Tyler (right) prepares for the next take. (Photo courtesy of Compass College of Cinematic Arts.)

“The most exciting part of the process was the first shot of day. It is exhilarating when you see everyone working hard, but also having fun,” Norton said.

 

For Compass College senior Paul Rice, the most exciting part of the process was post-production. “I was selected to work as the primary editor for the project,” Rice said. “It has been a great opportunity for me to work on a professional project.”

 

The music video is scheduled to be released Friday, Dec. 9 on Vevo.com and Tyler’s YouTube channel, MicahTylerVEVO.  “God Bless the Broken Road” is expected to hit theatres summer, 2017.

 

It’s a Charlie Brown Christmas as Public Museum hosts musical

charlie-brown-logo-01By Kate Moore

Grand Rapids Public Museum

 

Just in time for the holidays the Grand Rapids Public Museum, in partnership with Stage GR, will present Clark Gesner’s classic musical, “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” which ties into the Public Museum’s current exhibit “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown.”

 

 

Visitors will enjoy six of the Peanuts characters; piano prodigy Schroeder, Bossy Lucy, Sally the perfectionist, Blanket toting Linus, beloved Snoopy and of course the old “blockhead,” Charlie Brown. Brief vignettes through the show span the months from Valentine’s Day to Beethoven Day, from wild optimism to utter despair.

 

The show will run on various dates and times starting on Saturday, Dec. 10, and continuing through Dec. 31. All shows will take place in the Meijer Theater at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Show-only tickets are $10 for non-members, and $5 for museum members. Show tickets with general admission to the GRPM included are $18 for adults and $13 for children. Tickets may be purchased at grpm.org, by calling 616-929-1700 or at the Museum’s Front Desk.

 

The cast includes Kevin O’Neil as Charlie Brown; Sarah Dickens as Snoopy; Carter Strobel as Schroeder; Pheobe Dawson as Lucy; Hayden Strobel as Linus; and Alyssa Rose Mason as Sally. The stage director is Ella Morgan and music director is Bethany Schutter.

 

“Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown” Exhibit

In addition to “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” visitors can also plan to see the special holiday exhibit “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown” now open at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Admission to the exhibit is included with general admission to the Museum.

 

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown,” which is at the Public Museum through Jan. 29, is made up of high-quality digital reproductions of Charles M. Schulz’s original Peanuts strips with thematic graphics and features 3D Peanuts novelties. Kids can write to Santa at the interactive letter writing station, and the whole family can take a photo with the iconic Snoopy’s Doghouse outside the exhibit! Visitors see a behind the scenes look at the making of the animated classic, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

‘Let It Snow’ Holiday Show returns to GRPM’s Chaffee Planetarium

promoshot_flatBy Kate Moore

Grand Rapids Public Museum

 

This holiday season relax and recline as the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s (GRPM) Chaffee Planetarium celebrates the holiday season with a holiday show, “Let it Snow.” This show features holiday music with visually enhanced animation making it a must see this season for both adults and children.

 

“Let it Snow” features a new variety of festive classics from Frank Sinatra and Chuck Berry to Burl Ives and Brenda Lee, and includes a stunning multi-media finale by the Trans Siberian Orchestra. The soundtrack is visually enhanced with thematic animation, and special effects.

 

The program is a fun and entertaining experience for all ages, especially families. Tickets are $4 each with general admission to the Museum, free to Museum members and $5 each for planetarium only tickets. For more information and show times, visit grpm.org/Planetarium.

 

The recently renovated Chaffee Planetarium offers brand new shows featuring the latest Digistar projection technology and immersive surround sound for an unbelievably rich and realistic experience. The Chaffee Planetarium reopened in March 2014 after a major renovation, including all new technology, sound system, full dome and seating. The renovation was made possible through the generosity of our donors, including the lead gift from The Wege Foundation.

Popular Mighty Wurlitzer Organ Concert holiday show set for mid-December

Dave Wickerham returns for the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ holiday concerts at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.
Dave Wickerham returns for the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ holiday concerts at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum’s (GRPM) welcomes back Dave Wickerham for two holiday performances on the Mighty Wurlizter Theater Organ Dec.16 and 17.

 

Wickerham began playing the organ at the age of four. He then began his studies of the instrument at seven and carried out his formal studies of the classical organ at the University of Arizona. His career of organist has led him to travel across the country, as well as across the world. Throughout this career, he has been a Staff Organist at various venues including Organ Stop Pizza Restaurants, Pipes and Pizza, and Piper Music Palace, as well as internationally for the Theatre Organ Society of Australia, touring in Australia and New Zealand.  Wicker ham and his family currently live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where he holds the position of co-manager and organist in residence at the historic Crystal Theatre in Crystal Falls.

 

Organ concerts are held at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, in the Meijer Theater at the GRPM. Tickets for this show do sell out, according to Public Museum officials. Tickets for individual concerts are $10 for the general public, $8 for Museum members, and $5 for children 17 and under. Tickets are available by visiting www.grpm.org/Organ or calling 616-456-3977.

 

The Mighty Wurlitzer Organ

 

The Wurlitzer Company of North Tonawanda, New York, manufactured and shipped Opus #1836, a “3 manual special,” to the Stanley Theater of Jersey City, New Jersey, on Feb. 9, 1928. The Mighty Wurlitzer Organ spent two decades entertaining customers at the Roaring 20’s Pizza Parlor on 28th Street in Grand Rapids, before it was moved to its current location at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

GR Public Museum returns Beer Explorers, with pour by Founders

Last year's Beer Explorers program at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. (Supplied)
Last year’s Beer Explorers program at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. (Supplied)

By K.D. Norris

ken@wktv.org

 

Grand Rapids area beer lovers this fall will again get a chance to belly up the bar and learn more about their favorite libation as the Grand Rapids Public Museum returns its Beer Explorers program starting Thursday, Dec, 15.

 

A sampling of beers at the Grand Rapids Public Museum's Beer Explorers program -- yes there is glasses of what you like available for purchase. (Supplied)
A sampling of beers at the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Beer Explorers program — yes there is glasses of what you like available for purchase. (Supplied)

The series — which explores the roots of brewing beer with hands-on experiences related to the brewing and tasting of beer — will include programs on Jan. 12 and Feb. 16.

 

Classes begin at 6 p.m. and will be held on the 1st floor of the museum. Admission to each class includes general admission to the museum as well as three beer samples. A cash bar will also be available.

 

The December program is titled “History of Beer” and will feature museum curator Alex Forist talking about the history of beer but focused on the brewing history of Grand Rapids, as well as Michael Steil, from Founders Brewing Company, discussing the science of brewing.

 

The January program, “Beer Pairings”, will feature Founders experts discussion why certain beers and desserts work together. The February program, “Barrel Aging”, will focus on the process of barrel aging and how different factors affect the taste and quality of the beer.

 

Tickets to Beer Explorers is $8 for museum members and $18 for non-members. Participants must be 21 and older.

 

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is located at 272 Pearl Street, NW. For tickets and more information visit grpm.org.

 

Did you catch our story on the expanded Beer City Passport and Brewsader program?

 

‘Dark Beer, Dark Side’ premieres at Grand Rapids Public Museum Nov. 25

darksideSpend an evening on the dark side at the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM), 272 Pearl Street NW in Grand Rapids. GRPM, in partnership with Brewery Vivant, is hosting a new event, Dark Beer, Dark Side on Friday, Nov. 25, which coincidentally is this year’s Black Friday.

 

Beginning at 6:30 pm, Ryan Engemann, the Wandering Monk from Brewery Vivant, will wax eloquently on the differences between various dark beers including Brewery Vivant’s highly anticipated ‘Tart Side of the Moon’. Between 7:15 pm and 7:45 pm visitors have the chance to explore more of the Museum, have further Q&A with Engemann, and grab another beer to enter the Chaffee Planetarium for the Museum’s original production, Dark Side: The Light Show.

 

Dark Side: The Light Show is a one-of-a-kind light show featuring music from Pink Floyd’s album The Dark Side of the Moon. The show features stunning 4k visuals, brilliant LED sequences and incredibly clear 5.1 surround sound. Dark Side: The Light Show is the GRPM’s first original production since the planetarium underwent major renovations in 2013/2014.

 

Tickets include three beer samples, general admission to the Museum and admission to the evening’s planetarium show. Get tickets here.