Grand Rapids Public Museum rolls out holiday exhibitions

The Historic Lego Display features operating trams and replicas of buildings in downtown Grand Rapids as they were in the 1920s. Courtesy Grand Rapids Public Museum

The Grand Rapids Public Museum will be showcasing new displays for the holiday season.

They include the Historic Lego Display, the Herpolsheimer’s Child Passenger Train exhibition, Under the Arctic exhibition, various scavenger hunts throughout the museum, along with holiday décor, three floors of core exhibits and Sean Kenney’s Wild Connections Made with Lego Bricks exhibit.

The Historic Lego Display features operating trams, replicas of buildings in downtown Grand Rapids as they were in the 1920s, including the McKay Building before adding on to become the McKay Tower, and a new 2020 addition of the City Hall building.

The Herpolsheimer’s Child Passenger Train display reflects the monorail train that debuted as “Santa’s Rocket Express” when the Herpolsheimer’s Department Store opened in 1949 at the corner of Fulton Street and Division Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids.

The scavenger hunts include the search for 15 historic Santas from around the world, 12 whimsical elves and red glasses on a variety of artifacts and specimens in the museum. Participants can scan the QR code in the museum’s galleria to participate in the Santa & Elf Hunts and the red glasses search.

Under the Arctic exhibit is a collaboration between the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks that transports visitors to the Arctic using the sights and smells of the nation’s only permafrost research tunnel. Visitors will step into the boots of climate science researchers to explore real Ice Age fossils, ancient ice cores and engineering challenges posed by thawing permafrost.

Sean Kenney’s Wild Connections Made with Lego Bricks explores the relationships between humans, plants and animals through sculptures made with more than two million Lego bricks. There also is a scavenger hunt to find animals in the exhibit. Participants can begin their hunt by scanning any of the QR codes located throughout the exhibit.

Visitors can purchase a GRPM membership or a digital gift card for the holiday season. The membership allows for discounted tickets for virtual programs, in the GRPM’s Curiosity Shop —  in store and online — the Museum Cafe and more. Memberships can be purchased at

Digital gift cards can go toward tickets for admission, traveling exhibits and purchases in the Museum Cafe and Curiosity Shop during a visit. Digital gift cards are available in various amounts and can be purchased online.

Advance ticket purchase is required to visit the GRPM, and tickets for general admission and Wild Connections can be purchased at There is a small additional fee for the Wild Connections exhibit. Masks are required for the duration of museum visits.

General admission for Kent County adults is $5 and free for Kent County children 17 and under.

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