Design Zone Exhibition Makes Debut at the Grand Rapids Public Museum This Fall

The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) is pleased to open Design Zone, a brand new, highly interactive, STEAM-based exhibit, on Saturday, October 19, 2019. 

In Design Zone, visitors of all ages can explore a variety of concepts to learn the processes and tools needed to create a successful design. Organized into three thematic zones, the activities featured in Design Zone highlight the importance of science and mathematical thinking in areas critical to building creativity and innovation in art, music and engineering. More specifically, visitors will discover the secrets behind how video game developers, music producers, roller coaster designers and other creative problem solvers do what they do in this new exhibition.

Design Zone’s themed areas include:

ART: Visitors design their own 2-D and 3-D art and explore visual creativity in the Video Game 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. 

“Students are going to be filled with curiosity when they enter Design Zone,” said Dr. Stephanie Ogren, Vice President of Science & Education at the GRPM. “The exhibit does a wonderful job of combining playful elements with critical thinking components that will allow students to revel in the excitement of seeing a task through from start to finish. 

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, 13 on Your Side, 94.5 FM The Q, Chris and Kim Branoff, 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. The exhibition was produced and is toured by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

About OMSI

Founded in 1944, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the nation’s leading science museums, a world-class tourist attraction, and an award-winning educational resource for the kid in each of us. OMSI is located at 1945 SE Water Avenue, Portland, OR 97214. For general information, call 503.797.4000 or visit 

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