The Grand Rapids Public Museum has been building its Collection of 250,000 artifacts and specimens since 1854. Although some of these objects were purchased with fundraising campaigns, at auctions or collected by curators in the field, most of them were donated to the Museum by the people of West Michigan.
The Collections and Preservation Department is always accepting new objects for the Museum's Collections. If you have something that you would like to donate, please contact our staff BEFORE you bring your donation to the Museum.
If you have a research question that you think the Museum might be able to answer, please contact us. Please be sure to provide us with your name, your contact information and the details of your question.
Access to Collections for research is by appointment only. To set up a research appointment, contact us. Please be sure to provide us with your name, your contact information and details about your research project. The majority of research appointments will take place at the Grand Rapids Public Museum's Collections storage facility, the Community Archives and Research Center (CARC). CARC is located less than a mile from the Van Andel Museum Center, at 223 Washington Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (map).
The Museum's Collection of more than 250,000 objects is far too large to be exhibited all at one time. The Museum rotates Collections to show the greatest number of objects to the public, and to preserve fragile items that can be damaged by long - term exhibition. Many items owned by the Museum are used for public programs, loaned to other museums, or used by researchers and authors when they are not on display. Some objects are important to preserve for research, but are too fragile for exhibition.