Years of Play!


Years of Play!
Years of Play!
Mission Statement
The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum celebrates childhood and the joy of learning by providing an
interactive, hands-on environment that inspires learning and encourages self-directed exploration.
Board of Directors
Past President
Member-at-Large Maggie Lancaster Community Volunteer
Michael Lamfers Plante Moran, PLLC
Jason Schnelker Schnelker, Rassi & McConnell, PC
Sharon Smith Aquinas College
Stephen Scholler Wells Fargo
Rachael Ruiz WOOD TV8
Peter Albertini RE/MAX Sunquest
Maxwell Barnes Miller Johnson
Dana Boals Partners Worldwide
Donald Burke Rehmann
Paul Lothschutz H & S Companies
Carla Morris Glenn Morris & Associates
Christopher Rauch Priority Health
Dale Rietberg Varnum Law, LLP
Tony Roussey Elzinga & Volkers, Inc.
David Sebastian Sebastian Foundation
Ed Wong-Ligda Grand Valley State University
A message from the Executive Director and Board President
Reflecting back upon the 2011-2012 Fiscal Year fills us all with gratitude, pride and smiles. It was a very solid year of
progress for the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, moving us forward as we began to celebrate our 15 years of play.
The year began with the successful conclusion of a generous match challenge gift by The Hansen-Balk Foundation. The
Balk Challenge enabled us to upgrade our IT system and replace a 13 year old database program, along with several other
technological improvements. The renovation of our interior a few years back, was extended to our exterior with new awnings
and paint. Probably most noticeable, was our totally revamped website, logo and brand. We feel all new inside and out.
Admittedly, most of our young customers probably didn’t appreciate this necessary infrastructure improvement. But, they
did appreciate the new Imagination Playground Exhibit which arrived in July. This new exhibit is a permanent example of the
joys of open ended play. The large foam blocks and parts and tubes, can be transformed into anything a child (or adult) can
imagine. We have seen first-hand what such play can produce; unbridled creativity, exercise, building, cooperation, making
new friends and joy. The completely immersing fun of playing with the Imagination Playground has taught how to persevere,
how to rebound from failure (sometimes things fall down), and the great feeling which comes from accomplishing something
you have never, ever done before. That is why the GRCM exists.
About eight thousand friends also enjoyed the 2012 Kids Artfest. This festive day of exploration of the arts, in all its mediums,
during ArtPrize has become a staple in this area for involving the children of our community in the celebration of art. That,
too, is why the GRCM exists.
So….we are filled with gratitude for all the donors who made this year possible, pride in giving another year of enriching play
to West Michigan, and smiles……just because we are happy.
We hope the same for you.
Robert W. Dean, Executive Director and Maggie Lancaster, Board President
Have you ever played a
wrench-o-phone or heard
the sound of a whale
drum? These are just two
of the unusual instruments
in the Just Playin’ Around
exhibit that debuted this
year at the Grand Rapids
Children’s Museum. Our
exhibits are designed to
accommodate a variety of
learning styles and to fulfill
objectives of the Michigan
Department of Education’s
curriculum for preschool
through grade three.
Hands-on, interactive exhibits encourage innovative
thinking by using objects in
uncommon ways. Through
the focus on play and fun,
mathematical and scientific
concepts are introduced;
theories are tested and
proven. Our staff is trained
to encourage experiential
learning by utilizing openended questions and other
techniques that inspire
thinking. Teachers tell us
that, as their students play
during their Discovery Field
Trips, classroom learning is
reinforced. The children are
having so much fun they
want to stay and play.
Families enjoy the opportunity to play together. Family
bonds are strengthened.
Stress is relieved through
simply playing and laughing together. Through
interaction with other children or with adults, our
young guests are building
their communication skills,
learning to problem-solve,
and discovering the fun of
working together.
A new monthly-themed
program initiative was
introduced in FY2012,
allowing guests to
explore the topic of the
month in many ways. For
example, during January’s
Get Healthy programs,
visitors could traverse an
obstacle course, learn
how to prepare nutritious
snacks from a local chef,
experience yoga for kids,
get up and groove at a
dance party, and more.
There is no additional fee
for general programming
which is offered Monday
through Saturday from
10 a.m. until noon and
Thursday evenings from
Throughout the year, local
performers and experts
share their talents by
leading programs. We also
collaborate with other local
organizations like the John
Ball Zoological Society,
Blandford Nature Center,
Paws with a Cause,
Helen DeVos Children’s
Hospital, West Michigan
Dental Society, the CARE
Ballet, and Farm Bureau.
Programming is on a dropin basis to accommodate
guest schedules.
Toddler Tuesday programs
provide multi-sensory
learning fun for children
ages 1 ½ to 3 years of age
from 10 a.m. until noon.
Caregivers are encouraged
to join in the play. Some
of the activities offered for
toddlers and their adults
include making a textured
book, waving streamers
and dancing to music,
creating with play-doh, and
beanbag bowling.
Our 15th birthday
year provided lots of
opportunities to celebrate
and, since our official
birthday is July 31st, the
year-long festivities will
continue into FY2013.
The fun began with the
opening of our gift to the
community. After an official
ribbon-cutting ceremony,
children helped unwrap
a birthday present, our
new exhibit, Imagination
Playground! These giant
blue block-like pieces
were an instant hit with our
guests, who immediately
began building forts,
rocket ships, spiders,
and everything you could
PALS members enjoyed
a special Birthday Party
event and each month
throughout the year
brought even more reasons
to celebrate: Tooth Time,
Doc’s Day, Dairy Day,
Halloween and, the biggest
party of them all, Kids’
ArtFest. The fun never
stops as kids imagine,
explore, and create.
During FY2012, there
were two Kids’ ArtFest
events. Each was filled
with performances by
artists who urged kids to
sing, dance, hula-hoop,
sculpt, paint and just enjoy
discovering the arts. Held
in conjunction with the
city-wide ArtPrize event,
Kids’ ArtFest is a free day
of fun for families. We are
grateful to our corporate
and individual sponsors
for making Kids’ ArtFest
Service to the Community
The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is
committed to the principle that all children deserve
a safe, healthy environment for play. Our Access
Programs provide for admission scholarships
for day care and school classrooms. Service
Memberships are given to local agencies and
organizations who serve children and families in
stressful situations. Library Memberships allow
patrons to check out an admission pass for up
to two adults and four children to visit free of
charge. Thursday Family Night admission is only
$1.50/person. Children under the age of one
year are always free and Adults over 65 receive
reduced admission. Our annual Kids’ ArtFest
event is free. Supported through grants as well
as corporate and individual gifts, our access
programs account for approximately one-quarter
of the Museum’s admissions per year.
The Grand Rapids Children’s
Museum developed a new
outreach program, Discovering
Play. Offered in collaboration with
area agencies that serve preschool
children and families, Discovering
Play shares the importance of play
in child development. Caregivers
discuss how their child’s play
can improve school readiness
and help develop social skills
their child will use throughout life.
Having fun together and making
memories that build strong family
relationships is emphasized. This
new program is made possible
through grants and philanthropic
Thank You Contributors October 1, 2012 - Septemeber 30, 2013
Annual Campaign Support
Champion $10,000 and above
Sebastian Foundation
Believer $5,000-$9,999
Explorer $1,000-$4,999
Kenneth & Judy Betz
Timothy & Dana Boals
Dan Clark
Gerald & Jane Feldman
Tom & Mickie Fox
Michael & Brenda Lamfers
Dr. Charles & Mary Luttenton
Jack H. Miller
Tony & Carolyn Roussey
Stephen & Anne Scholler
Robert & Aleicia Woodrick
Dreamer $500-$999
Architectural Metals, Inc. in
honor of Vos Glass Inc.
Brewery Vivant
Cornucopia Family Foundation
Robert Dean & Susan Hopkins
Donna Hockstra
Johnson Controls Foundation
Howard (Buzz) Miller
Chris & Melissa Rauch
Dale & Sharon Reitberg
Sharon Smith through United Way
Mary Kay Thome-Shaw
Kevin & Sarah VanderWoude
Imagineer $250-$499
Charles & Sandra Bennett
Gerald & Suzanne Callahan
Blake & Mary Krueger
Jeffery & Jennifer Mesler
Glenn & Carla Morris
Jon Eric & Gina Notarnicola
PH Gives
Glenn & Claudia Place
Robert & Marcia Schaub
James & Deb Sears
Jeff & Deanna Stout
The Gremel Group, Inc.
Marilyn Titche
Ed Wong-Ligda &
Carol Ligda-Wong
through United Way
Seeker $100-$249
Julia Atherton
Jean Breay
Michelle Johnson Covington
Alan & Michelle Davis
John & Marilyn Dooge
Dr. Peter G. & Carol Hallas
Dirk & Victoria Hoffius
Hospira Employee
Giving Campaign Foundation Match
Marguerite B. Jones
Howard & Linda Keegstra
Claire & Debbie Larson
Charles & Janet Lippert
Linda B. Patterson
Shirley J. Silverman
Bob & Jan Stone
Patrick Ziegler
Kids Art Fest Support
Nick & Shellie Adamy
Apple Tree Christian
Learning Centers
Arts Council of
Greater Grand Rapids
Elzinga & Volkers, Inc.
Farmers Insurance Group
H&S Companies
Law & Weathers
Miller Johnson
Northern Trust
Notions Marketing
Plante & Moran, PLLC
Schnelker, Rassi, & McConnell, PLC
Technology Improvements
Nick & Shellie Adamy
Architectural Metals, Inc.
The Hansen-Balk Foundation
through United Way
Daun Bichler
Larry & Christine Burns
Barbara Dean
Robert Dean
Farmers Insurance
Dirk & Victoria Hoffius
Lisa Klaasen
Dr. Charles & Mary Luttenton
Kevin & Jessica Lyons
Mason & Company
Donald & Susan McClure
Thomas & Dawn McDonald
Dr. James & Sharon Norman
Jeff & Deanna Stout
Clayton & Sara J Trapp
Stephen Tularak
John Tuttle
Eric & Sally Warren
Robert & Aleicia Woodrick
Accessibility Support
Amway Corporation
Fifth Third Bank
Steelcase Foundation
VanderWeide Family Foundation
Wege Foundation
Have-A-Heart Scholarship
Keller Foundation
Program/Exhibit Support
Advanced Radiology Services, PC
Alloy Exchange, Inc.
ArtPrize Grand Rapids
Bee Steel, Inc.
Betten Baker Chevrolet Buick
BISSELL Corporation
Chemical Bank
Doug & Amy DeLeeuw
Farmers Insurance
Forest Hills Foods
Gerber Foundation
Holton’s LP Gas
Independent Bank
Lacks Enterprises, Inc.
Momber Pharmacy
Nucraft Furniture
PNC Foundation
Retina Specialists of Michigan
West Michigan
Dental Foundation
Julie Wolf
Wolverine World
Wide Foundation
In Memory of Bettie J Beahan
(by Elizabeth Hines)
In Memory of Peg Cope
(by Robert & Aleicia Woodrick)
In Memory of Michael Moy
by Donald & Lisa Allen
by Robert & Judy Bellamy
by Jim & Joan Boyce
by Walter & Susan Culver
by D. Dopp
by Gail Holmes & Roxanne Denson
by Diane Marks
by Tracey Salzemnieks
In Memory of Bob Thome
by Jeffery & Georgia Gietzen
by Glenn Morris & Associates
by STOPWOWGR Committee
The Hansen-Balk Foundation
(donated to the
GR Community Foundation)
In-Kind Support
2B Studios
A-1 Accurate
AllRout, Inc.
Alro Plastics
Amway Corporation
Armentality/ Laura Armenta
Julia Atherton
Barnes & Noble, Woodland Mall
Victor S. Barnes
Blue Fish Aquariums
Brewery Vivant
C.G. Witvoet & Sons
CARE Ballet
Celebration Cinema
Chemical Bank
City of Grand Rapids
Scott & Sandra Cole
Contract Specialties, Inc.
DeYoung Orchards
DVS Creative
Family Fare- Allendale
Freedom Manufacturing
David & Mary Freyer
Jeff & Georgia Gietzen
Grand Rapids Griffins
GRCC Suzuki Strings
Great Turtle Toys/Caddywampus
GVSU Renaissance Club
Mayor George Heartwell
Humane Society of West Michigan
John Ball Zoo
Kevin Kammeraad & Family
Kent Conty Farm Bureau
Koetsier’s Greenhouse
Dr. Scott & Maggie Lancaster
Macatawa Bank
MadCap Coffee Company
Magnum Engineering
Maranda - WOOD TV 8
Marshall Music Co.
Meijer Corp.
Meyer Music
James G Perry, The Balloon Guy
Susan Pickering
Glenn & Claudia Place
Pooh’s Corner/Sally Bulthuis
Recycle Bin Box
Schuler Books & Music
Emily Stavron Schaefer
Alfred B. Swanson Foundation
Happy Taylor
The Edge Salon
Robin Toldo, Chef Toldo
Aaron D. Vande Wege
West Michigan Shredding
West Michigan Therapy Dogs
Total Attendance for FY2012: 178,313
Total Number of Students visiting on Discovery Field Trips: 16,107
Data for FY2012 Annual Report
Total Number of Students on Discovery Field Trips who received scholarships: 10,590
Percentage of above receiving scholarships: 66%
Number served in General Programs:
6,050 (KIDS) + 13,184 (ADULTS) = 29,234
Number served in Toddler Programs:
1,357 (TODDLERS) + 1,147 (ADULTS) = 2,504
#PALS Memberships as of 9/30/12: 2,478
#Volunteers: 464
#Volunteer Hours: 6,522