Final beam placed for new DeVos Learning Center at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

 Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum to close until late spring2016 for renovations, new exhibits

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Oct. 12, 2015 – The final beam for the new DeVos Learning Center at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum was ceremonially placed on Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. Steven Ford, son of President and first lady Ford,  was joined  by Rich DeVos, Amway co-founder; Doug DeVos, Amway president and Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation trustee; Red Cavaney, chairman of Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation; and  Dr. Jim Gardner, National Archives and Records Administration executive for legislative archives, presidential libraries and museum services as steel workers from Grand Rapids based Pioneer Construction secured the 30-foot beam. The topping off ceremony also marked the museum’s closure for several months as crews install new permanent interactive exhibits and begin renovations to the facility. 

“I am proud to be a part of this important addition to West Michigan, which will inspire young minds and the leaders of tomorrow,” said Rich DeVos.  “The learning center and museum renovations will be special for our community and beyond.”

The topping off ceremony marked a milestone in the construction phase of the project. The museum will reopen to the public during late spring 2016 and the 8,000-square-foot DeVos Learning Center will be complete in fall 2016. More than $15 million in private funds have been raised to build the learning center, update the museum exhibits, and create global access to many of the library’s important documents.

“The addition of the DeVos 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 lives,” said Ford. “I’m sure they would be honored by this project.” 
The intent of the interactive exhibits is to create conversations about the character and integrity of President and Mrs. Ford, noted Gardner. “The state-of-the-art improvements to the museum will bring to life a challenging period in the history of our nation, and help visitors better understand the tough decisions President Ford faced.”

Cavaney said the entire project will attract and inspire younger visitors.  “The DeVos Learning Center will target students and help them better understand civil engagement in local, national and global communities. With the new exhibits, our hope is to teach the next generation of leaders the importance of leading with integrity just as President Ford and the first lady demonstrated.”
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation fosters increased awareness of the life, career, values, and legacy of our 38th President... through activities to promote the high ideals of integrity, honesty, and candor that defined Pres. Ford’s career of public service.