Sunday, June 23, 2013

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum - Grand Rapids, MI

When RV and I made the decision to go on the road fulltime in 2007, we discussed a "bucket list" of places we would be interested in visiting.  One of the places on our list was to visit as many of the Presidential Libraries/Museums as we can.  We've been to the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, AR, and the Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta, GA, which we have written about in earlier blog posts.   Three down - ten to go!

While in southern Michigan we decided to visit the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, about 60 miles away from South Haven, MI, in Grand Rapids, MI.  Did you know that President Ford created a "one of its kind" in the presidential library system?  The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library is on the campus of his alma mater, the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is located in his hometown and former congressional district - 130 miles apart.   This year would mark the 100th birthday of Gerald R. Ford and an exhibit is on display which portrays Gerald Ford's early and formative years.
Pearl Street Entrance to Ford Presidential Museum

Grand River in front of Ford Presidential Museum

Front of Ford Presidential Museum

The Library offers visitors and scholars millions of documents, photographs, films, video and audio tapes for research and educational programs, while the Museum provides numerous personal exhibits and memorabilia about President Ford's life and political career.
President and Mrs. Ford's Family Picture

Replica of Cabinet Room in White House (donated by Bob and Dolores Hope)

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is located on the west bank of the Grand River overlooking downtown Grand Rapids, MI.   To be as close as the campus is to major traffic and concentrations of people we were surprised at the sereneness and beauty of the location.  Gerald and Betty Ford are both interred on the grounds of the museum.
Stone at Entrance to Gerald R. and Betty Ford Grave Site

Several sculptures, walking paths through mature tree-lined sidewalks and bridges, The Betty Ford Garden, and picnic areas add to the beauty of the area.
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Outside Fence surrounding Gerald R. and Betty Ford Grave Site

Betty Ford Garden at Presidential Museum

Looking from inside of Presidential Museum to Betty Ford Garden
When we were ready to leave we were surprised at a sudden influx of people.  A staff member explained that once a month a federal judge turns the Presidential Museum auditorium into a federal courtroom in which new citizens are administered the Oath of Allegiance and become naturalized U. S. citizens.  It seemed to be a very exciting time as there were many families and friends in attendance.  Did you know that prior to taking the oath prospective new citizens are required to pledge their allegiance to the flag and sing the National Anthem of the United States?   
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