GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids will reopen to the public in June after getting its first major renovation in 19 years.
“It’s a much more open feel, much more airy and more vibrant colors than what we had in the past,” Jim Kratsas, the museum’s deputy director, showed 24 Hour News 8 during a tour on Wednesday.
With a new set of exhibits, the museum will enter a new era with a new appreciation for the service of President Ford and his wife Betty, Krastas said.
“Now their story is complete,” he said. “They’ve gone through a revision by historians and by the public and we wanted to reflect that in the new exhibits.”
“I think it brings President Ford’s legacy alive,” added Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation Executive Director Joseph Calvaruso.
The museum will seamlessly guide visitors through the life of a young Ford to high school, college, military serve and public life, all with a different feel.
“The technology we’re using today wasn’t available back then 20 years ago when the museum was last done,” Calvaruso said. “We have eight interactives where people can dig deeper.”
Inside the renovated Gerald R. Ford Museum – May 25, 2016
Inside the renovated Gerald R. Ford Museum – May 25, 2016 x
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While the museum has been closed since October for the renovations, the project has been in the works for much longer.
“This is a six-year endeavor that’s finally being drawn to a conclusion. We went through the capital campaign that (the late president’s son) Steve Ford really drove home. We were successful in the $15 million campaign. Then the approval, designs and the effort,” Calvaruso said.
The museum’s grand reopening is set for 10 a.m. June 7. The event will be open to the public and admission will be free.