Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Rizzo

Musuem Center

16 posts in this topic

Some relatives of mine started in on talking about the old museum. If memory serves me -- that location is reserved as a community archive. The conversation turned into a remembrance of what is there (even rumors) and wondering why the "good stuff" isn't rotated into the newer Museum Center. I figured it was all possible especially since the museum is one of the oldest historical museums in the country. Possible reasons might have been attributed to funding, lack of space, no relevance to the current museum, or the "good stuff" doesn't exist. Like many of you I remember the streetcar and the streetscape scenes as a prominent display. Which of course some of the exhibit is displayed at the Museum Center. Is there anything else you remember that isn't currently on display?

Objects told to be in storage:

  • Dinosaurs (completed or nearly completed skeletons?)

  • Local industry artifacts (Steelcase chairs, Bissell products, prototypes?, etc.)

  • Mummies (A queen?)

  • Strange oddities (bizarre scientific exploration)

  • More extensive street scene

  • Local historical artifacts relating to founding fathers and other local figures

  • Mammoth?

What's really in storage these days? Is there a reason why its not seeing light?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


More extensive street scene

Local historical artifacts relating to founding fathers and other local figures

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe not the street scene, but anything related to local history would seem worth a second look. Have you been to the Museum Center? I get the feeling of a resounding, "boooring...." Of course I love local history and I can see a permanent exhibition 20 times and still go back for more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Have you been to the Museum Center? I get the feeling of a resounding, "boooring...."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've also been very curious what's happening with the museum....almost started a thread on this recently. It is one o f my favorite buildings in GR. I loved it as a kid- beside Gaslight Village, what I remmeber most is the eerie "hall of biology" with body parts floating around in jars of formaldehyde.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nitro, I have the same memories... Gas Light Village was awesomely well done. There was always this foreshadowing feeling, the darkness about the cobblestone street and all that jazz. I would be very interested in seeing this again. I remember inquiring about this a few years back but was never responded to. The Archives don't have to even move or rotate with the Museum Center, but to open the place up and let the light in would really peak the local interest again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also loved the old Museum building. THe original Gas Light Village was incredibly cool, and was far superior to one in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago upon which it may have been based. I also loved the stuffed animals in the diorama room -- I wonder whatever happened to them.

Speaking of architecture, I believe that the building is the only significant example of WPA architecture in the city. If you look inside the entrance, you can see the plaques commemorating public funding for the structure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You mean the old Gas Light Village wasn't based off of old EGR?

hmmm well then my whole childhood needs to be reevaluated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


No, I do remember this being a model of a local scene. The exhibit had many shops with many local historical products such as Bissell Cleaners. I don't think it was necessarily a EGR scene as it was as overall compilation of the urban area. That is if memory serves me well.

The concept of a recreated street scene may be loosely based on Chicago's, but not modeled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No, I do remember this being a model of a local scene. The exhibit had many shops with many local historical products such as Bissell Cleaners. I don't think it was necessarily a EGR scene as it was as overall compilation of the urban area. That is if memory serves me well.

The concept of a recreated street scene may be loosely based on Chicago's, but not modeled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be more fun if there were actually people in that street dressed up as the old days and people walking around the street...maybe people on the street playing music.....now that's history (and art!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My aunt was 'shopkeep' at one of the storefronts in the new museum. I don't remember if the original scene was staffed, I do remember the shops being open once in a great while. Having a gas light village with volunteer street performers and shopkeeps would complete the experience :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It would be more fun if there were actually people in that street dressed up as the old days and people walking around the street...maybe people on the street playing music.....now that's history (and art!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The old Gaslight Village had no connection with East Grand Rapids. It was intended to represent a scene in old Grand Rapids. I seem to recall that at one end there was the entrance to a covered bridge which may have represented the old Pearl Street Bridge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm hopeful that with the transfer of power from the city to a private foundation that we will see a stronger museum. While I agree, the old Gaslight Village was better; they have a great building and collection with tons more potential. I know they were working on an "A to Z" exhibit that would feature allot of the collection that has been in storage for years. I don't know if they finished that yet?

BTW, I was there for the dedication in 1994, and Gerry Ford cut the ribbon. :) I wonder if the VMC has any artifacts related to Ford, or if everything is over at his museum?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I'm hopeful that with the transfer of power from the city to a private foundation that we will see a stronger museum. While I agree, the old Gaslight Village was better; they have a great building and collection with tons more potential. I know they were working on an "A to Z" exhibit that would feature allot of the collection that has been in storage for years. I don't know if they finished that yet?

BTW, I was there for the dedication in 1994, and Gerry Ford cut the ribbon. :) I wonder if the VMC has any artifacts related to Ford, or if everything is over at his museum?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.