$15M expansion, remodel planned for Ford Museum

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Museums of history need to update themselves every so often; that time is coming for the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum, which is expanding and undergoing $15 million in renovations.

Grand Rapids' most famous resident still has stories to tell and lessons to teach, eight years after his death, 40 years after he became the 38th President of the United States.

"It was a tough, tough time in American history and to look at what dad did, whether it be the Nixon pardon or ending the Vietnam War and getting the troops home, there's lessons to be learned," said son Steven Ford.

Those lessons will be learned in an 8,000 square foot expansion off the museum's west side; a new student learning center. Students will come to learn about civics, public service, and leadership

All of the exhibit space will be updated with interactive technology, yet emphasizing the timeless virtues of character and integrity that President Ford embodied.

"We just think it's a very exciting and needed thing because the public today asks for a lot more interactiveness when they get engaged in museum," said Red Cavaney, who served on President Ford's White House staff.

The refreshed Ford Musuem will also feature an increased focus on Betty Ford, going beyond her dresses and china settings, to her impact on women's rights, breast cancer and substance abuse. In fact, her son Steven says his mother's contributions to the country might outshine his dad's.

Renovations to the Ford will close the museum for several months in 2015 and 2016.


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