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Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum reopens to the public this week after major renovations

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Lindsey Smith
/
Michigan Radio
Thousands of tourists swarm the grounds near the Ford Museum Tuesday in Grand Rapids.

The Gerald R. Ford presidential museum reopens this week. The museum has been closed since October to undergo $15 million in renovations.

“We basically took the museum down to the cement floors and the outside walls,” said Joe Calvaruso, executive director Ford’s Presidential Foundation.

He says technology has changed a lot since the museum first opened in 1981. 

“What’s interesting with President Ford is that, during that period of time, history has had a chance to look back on some of those decisions in the first 30 days in office and add some meaning to those great stories and the things that took place during that period of time,” Calvaruso said.

He says the newly renovated museum includes a learning center for students, more interactive exhibits, and more about former first lady Betty Ford. He says they expect a “substantial increase” in the number of visitors to the museum and expect they’ll stay longer.

Before he was president, Ford represented Grand Rapids in Congress for 25 years and played football at the University of Michigan.

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s investigative reporter. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor and West Michigan Reporter.
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