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Grand Rapids Public Museum Announces Digital Resources Available Through Virtual Museum at Home

The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) announced today various resources that are available during the Museum’s temporary closure due to the ongoing coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, including exploring their Collection online, at-home activities, new content and more!

“The Museum is committed to continuing to deliver content digitally to the community during our closure,” said Kate Kocienski, VP of  Marketing and PR for the GRPM. “We want to continue to entertain, educate and spark curiosity within our virtual visitors while many are safely in their homes during this time. Keep in touch on our website and social media channels, we are planning different live stream opportunities and more.”

Curious Content
The Museum has shifted their live stream camera to showcase the two 10-month-old Lake Sturgeon featured in the Grand Fish, Grand River exhibition. You may visit the fish anytime during the day (the tank lights are off at night so the fish can sleep) online at grpm.org/live-stream. The GRPM works with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) to host these fish for nearly two years, in efforts to educate the community about this threatened species that lives in our great lakes, and spawns in the Grand River, right outside the Museum. At about two years old, the Lake Sturgeon will be returned to their home in the Black Lake system in coordination with MDNR, and the Museum will become home to two new baby Lake Sturgeon.

Engaging with the GRPM Collection – for all ages!
The GRPM’s Collection of more than 250,000 artifacts and specimens can be explored online at grpmcollections.org for free, anywhere, anytime. The Collections database is intended as a resource for all. Students, teachers, researchers, and learners of all types are encouraged to explore. The GRPM team of curators, educators and volunteers, continuously update the online database with more media content and information about the Collection. 98% of the Museum’s Collections were donated by people in the West Michigan community since the Museum’s founding in 1854. The Collection contains objects related to history, science and culture from all over the world and right here in Grand Rapids.

In addition to exploring the Collection online, visitors may also create a login for the website, and begin to curate their own collections and digital exhibits. If they choose to make their saved collection public in the website’s Community Galleries, they may see themselves featured on the Museum’s social media channels. Learn more about curating your own collection of Museum artifacts here.

“Our goal is to encourage the community to keep their minds active by exploring the GRPM’s vast Collections database,” said Alex Forist, Chief Curator for the GRPM. “There’s something new to discover with each click whether you’re interested in furniture made in Grand Rapids, fashion from the turn of the century or rocks and minerals from right here in Michigan. We also want to hear from you – if you have a story or information about an object, leave a comment, send us an email, or make your own digital exhibit. We’re happy to provide the community with a unique opportunity to spark their curiosity and learn in the comfort of their homes.”

Educational Content for Families and All Learners
The Museum is curating additional digital content specific for families. This includes activities, lessons and curriculum to engage with the Museum’s Collections in deep and meaningful ways.

As many families navigate through schooling from home, the GRPM offers Virtual Discovery Kits to help augment lessons and keep kids learning and engaged with content. The Museum currently offers an Egypt: Be Curious Virtual Discovery Kit, where kids will explore the GRPM’s digital Collections for Egyptian artifacts that are thousands of years old, to learn what ancient Egyptians beliefs were for life and the afterlife. Through engaging activities and questions, virtual visitors will not only gain a better understanding of ancient Egypt, but also have fun while learning. The GRPM will continue to post new Virtual Discovery Kits on a routine basis during this time.

“It is important to us to continue connecting with the community and fostering a sense of curiosity and joyful learning during this time,” said Erin Koren, Director of Education for the GRPM. “We plan to keep drawing from the best of what the Museum has to offer by highlighting our unique historical artifacts and scientific specimens that provide concrete connections and examples of topics at local, national and global
levels.”

In the coming days the Museum plans to launch additional resources and ways to engage virtually. Check out the digital resources and content available at grpm.org/HomeMuseum, or visit the Museum’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages (@grmuseum).

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 www.grpm.org.