On November 9, 2012, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation’s board of trustees met with area business and community leaders to share a vision aimed at creating global access to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum’s and Library’s exhibits and documents through the funding of a $15 million dollar capital campaign. The campaign will fund a 10,500-square-foot student learning center at the Museum located in Grand Rapids, Mich., and create interactive exhibits using the latest technologies. Online digital access to a significant number of historical documents in the Museum, and Library located in Ann Arbor, Mich. are also planned as part of the campaign. The campaign is expected to be completed in the spring of 2014 when construction is slated to begin at the Museum.
In addition a series of special events are also being planned to commemorate President Ford’s 100th birthday. Further details of the special events, expansion, exhibit renovations and digital access to historical documents will be announced in the coming months.
“The vision of this campaign is to attract students of all ages to the Museum and provide online access to the museum and library incredible holdings,” said David Frey, Gerald R. Ford Foundation trustee and campaign co-chair. “This expansion will let individuals explore the Ford Presidency, the lives of Gerald and Betty Ford and a significant number of historical documents associated with history of our nation in the 1974 – 1977 time period”.
The Foundation is collaborating with the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Grand Valley State University to develop a curriculum that will benefit students and individuals who visit the Museum, Library or online learning sites.
“Prior to today’s announcement, this plan was shared with the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation trustees and they collectively agreed to lead the funding efforts by pledging a combined $10 million to get the campaign moving quickly,” said Steve Ford, son of President and Mrs. Ford, and chair of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation. “The addition of an on-site student learning center will allow teachers to bring full classrooms into the Museum to study history, civics and see first-hand the core values mom and dad shared throughout their life.”
Individuals or businesses interested in donating to the Campaign for the Legacy of Gerald R. Ford can do so by contacting the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation at 616-254-0396 or by visiting the Foundation’s website at www.geraldrfordfoundation.org.
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum was dedicated in September 1981, and then updated in 1996. It is located in downtown Grand Rapids and is also the site of President and Mrs. Ford’s final resting place. Since January 1, 2012, more than 250,000 individuals have visited the Museum.
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation fosters increased awareness of the life, career, values, and legacy of America’s 38th President. It does so through activities designed to promote the high ideals of integrity, honesty, and candor that defined President Ford’s extraordinary career of public service and historical legacy of President Gerald R. Ford and further promotes greater civic engagement and recognition of integrity wherever it exists in the public arena. It supports permanent and changing exhibits designed to promote historical literacy, as well as conferences, educational outreach and other programs, both scholarly and popular, including at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum.