Grand Rapids Public Museum Announces Fall Exhibits – Design Zone, Bodies Revealed & TOYS! Extension

The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) announced today the extension of the popular special exhibition TOYS!, and two new exhibitions  opening at the Museum this fall, Design Zone and Bodies Revealed.

Influenced by its popularity and positive visitor feedback, the GRPM will be extending the TOYS! exhibition for an additional year. The exhibition has been widely popular, engaging visitors of all ages in a trip down memory lane of toys from their childhood, while having opportunities for play within the space.

“We are overwhelmed by the community response to the TOYS! exhibit,” said Alex Forist, Chief Curator at the GRPM. “This exhibit was designed with the community in mind, to create an exhibition they could connect with at a deep level related to science, history and culture of toys across generations. We spent a year in the design and planning process, working with community experts to make TOYS! accessible to all, and the visitor feedback we’ve received has confirmed that our process was critical to a positive experience within the exhibit.”

“There is so much to see and do right now at the Museum,” said Dale Robertson, President & CEO at the GRPM. “With three special exhibitions this fall, in addition to our three floors of current exhibitions, the Chaffee Planetarium, the carousel and more – there is something for every age and interest within our community. Thanks to continued support from the Kent County millage, we continue to offer free general admission to children within Kent County, and discounts to adults and seniors, as well as free parking for your Museum visit.”

TOYS! will continue to be offered free with general admission through August 2020 at the GRPM. TOYS! is sponsored by: Meijer, David and Amy Leonard, the David and Carol Van Andel Family Foundation, Keller Ford, Chris and Kim Branoff, Jim and Barb Haveman Family, Fastsigns, Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown, Old National Bank, Finji, and Harder and Warner Landscaping. Media sponsors include: 13 ON YOUR SIDE, Hot 105 FM and La Mejor GR.

Design Zone

A brand new exhibit, Design Zone will open at the GRPM on October 19, 2019. Visitors will discover the secrets behind how videogame developers, music producers, roller coaster designers, and other creative problem solvers do what they do in this new exhibition.

Highly interactive, Design Zone gives all ages a chance to be hands-on and explore creative concepts, learning the processes and tools needed to create a successful design. Organized into three thematic zones, this exhibit highlights the importance of science and mathematical thinking in areas critical to building creativity and innovation: art, music and engineering.

Design Zone’s themed areas include:

ART: Visitors design their own 2-D and 3-D art and explore visual creativity in the Videogame Design Lab, Architecture Studio, and the Digital Design Domain. Area highlights include Drawing in Motion, where visitors use a digital pen to trace a line art masterpiece on a giant screen and create their own images, and Jump on it—similar to many classic arcade games—where visitors choose a character, adjust the jump power and gravity, and land on targets to collect points.

MUSIC: Visitors explore relationships between length and pitch in musical instruments, ratios and rhythms, and visual representations of sound in On Stage!, Dance Party, and the DJ Recording Studio. Area highlights include Laser Light DJ where visitors discover how laser light show technicians create mesmerizing patterns, and Turntables, where they can practice their DJ skills by trying to seamlessly match beats per minute to the tempo of a new song.

ENGINEERING: Visitors experience the Theme Park and the Action Sports Arena where they’ll discover the math and physics behind anything that moves. Area highlights include Bike Race, where they can climb into bike stations, test gear combinations, and compete in a virtual race, and Design a Skate Park where visitors manipulate slope to create essential skate park features, test their design with a virtual skater and ride the course!

Design Zone will be especially great for school groups to experience.

Design Zone will show students many fun, creative applications for common mathematical concepts,” said Erin Koren, Learning Specialist at the GRPM. “They will see that math is not just a subject in school, but that it is used by innovators in exciting fields such as video game design and music production.”

Schools interested in reserving a visit to the Museum can do so by visiting or calling 616.929.1734. The GRPM has guided programs available for schools to reserve in addition to their visit to Design Zone.

Design Zone will be in a new space on the Museum’s second floor and be free with general admission to the GRPM. A members-only preview will take place on Saturday, October 19, from 8 to 10 a.m., Members may RSVP at The exhibit is sponsored by: the DTE Energy Foundation, Gentex Corporation, 94.5 FM The Q, Kent Intermediate School District, and the Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown.

The creation of Design Zone was made possible by the generous support of the National Science Foundation, and was produced and is toured by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).

Bodies Revealed

On November 16, the after nearly a decade, the exhibition Bodies Revealed will return to the GRPM. The exhibition features real, whole and partial body specimens that have been preserved through an innovative process, allowing visitors to learn about their own bodies and, ultimately, teach how to take better care of one’s own health and make positive lifestyle choices.

Tickets for Bodies Revealed will go on sale to Members on Monday, September 9, and to the general public on Wednesday, September 18, 2019. A members-only preview will take place on Saturday, November 16 from 8 to 10 a.m.

Bodies Revealed is sponsored by: the David and Carol Van Andel Family Foundation, Bank of America, Meijer, The Steve and Amy Van Andel Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Lacks Enterprises, David and Amy Leonard, Media Place Partners, Williams Kitchen & Bath, AMR of West Michigan, Hope Network Foundation and Old National Bank.

Bodies Revealed is brought to the GRPM by Premier Exhibitions.

Grand Rapids Public Museum

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is an invaluable, publicly-owned institution that is home to more than 250,000 unique artifacts that tell the history of Kent County and beyond, houses the only planetarium in the region, and is responsible for protecting the Mounds, a national historic landmark. The Grand Rapids Public Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, with its main location in downtown Grand Rapids, MI at 272 Pearl Street, NW. For additional information including hours of operation, admission fees and exhibit/event listings, please visit