Grand Rapids Public Museum Is Exhibiting ‘Changing America’

Changing America exhibit National Museum of African American History & Culture

The newest Grand Rapids Public Museum exhibition recounts the African-American struggle from ending slavery to the civil rights movement.

“Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863” and the “March on Washington, 1963” are on display from this Saturday through October. The exhibition is included in general admission.

Created by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture and the National Museum of American History, the exhibition was toured nationwide by the American Library Association’s Public Program Office.

Grand Rapids Public Museum, or GRPM, is enhancing it for West Michigan with artifacts and local stories.

The artifacts are from the collections of GRPM and the Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives or GRAAMA. They include anti-slavery newspapers from the 1800s and buttons from the 1963 March on Washington.

The exhibition will also include a place for visitors to share their own stories. Shared stories will be added to GRPM’s digital archive.

Westside Collaborative is working on a series of “I am Westside” videos that will also be on display as part of the exhibition.

GRAAMA launched a corresponding exhibit this month, “1863-1963 American Freedom,” featuring local civil rights activists, quilts and interviews. The exhibit lasts through August.

Photo: The “Changing America” exhibition at the National Museum of African American History & Culture. Via

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