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Grand Rapids Public Museum Awarded National Grant from Institute for Museum and Library Services to Digitize Fashion Collections


Grand Rapids, MI: The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) announced today that it was recently awarded a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Studies: Museums of America to document the Museum’s extensive Collection of fashion and accessories. This grant will allow the GRPM to digitize and make available virtually the remaining 5,600 pieces from the Museum's fashion Collection of 10,000 individual pieces.


Identified in the GRPM’s long range preservation plan, the GRPM’s historical clothing Collection has long been recognized as one of the Museum’s most underutilized and fragile assets. The IMLS grant in the amount of $99,600 will significantly improve the physical management of the Collection by consolidating it into the GRPM’s climate-controlled collection storage facility and re-housing individual pieces as needed. This is a matching grant and the GRPM is currently seeking funding to match the IMLS contribution.


The digitizing of the Museum’s Collections increases the Museum’s content online, and will support the Museum's interpretive programs, increase primary source learning resources for teachers and students, and expand research opportunities for both scholars and the general public through the easily accessed GRPM online database:


“On behalf of the Grand Rapids Public Museum, we are excited to announce that we have received this national grant,” said Gina Schulz, the Museum’s VP of Development. “The grant, along with matching contributions, will allow the Museum to expand the use of these historical garments that tell the story of the culture in Grand Rapids and all over the world, through our ability to preserve them in the best conditions, and to make all pieces available online for all learners everywhere.”


Since the GRPM began collecting in 1854, it has amassed a comprehensive Collection of clothing items, with strengths in fashionable garments from the 19th and 20th centuries. The Collection is especially strong in the areas of women’s clothing, wedding attire, military uniforms, items with local provenance, as well as unique special function items such as women’s athletic wear.


If you are interested in donating to match this grant, please contact Gina Schulz at or 616.929.1705.


The Institute of Museum and Library Services is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. For the past 20 years, its grant making, policy development, and research has helped libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Collections and Cocktails

The GRPM is excited to launch a new annual fundraising event, Collections & Cocktails, focusing on the Museum’s Collections, their stories and preservation and education with these artifacts on Wednesday, May 17, 2017.


This year, Collections & Cocktails will focus on the Museum’s fashion Collection in conjunction with the recently awarded IMLS grant. This event will raise money toward the required match for the grant. Each year following, a different theme will be selected as the focus for the event.


For more details about Collections & Cocktails or to get involved, please visit or contact Megan at


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 Norton Indian 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