Cook Foundation to match donations to Spillman Carousel renovations

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Courtesy Grand Rapids Public Museum

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is inviting the public to support the continued renovation of its historic carousel.

The 1928 Spillman Carousel, located above the Grand River in the Cook Carousel Pavilion at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, is undergoing renovations that started in 2017. The update of the carousel is supported by the Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation. For every dollar donated, the foundation will donate $2 toward the renovation project.

The foundation will provide this 2-1 match for donations up to $300,000.

The renovations include mechanical and electrical upgrades, installation of 1,200 LED light bulbs, band organ repairs and initial steps toward restoring 53 horses and menagerie animals and two chariots.

“The Spillman Carousel is a community treasure that began with a community-led initiative to purchase and bring it cross country to be a part of our collections and the overall museum experience,” said Dale Robertson, president and CEO of the Grand Rapids Public Museum. “Now, almost 30 years later, we are in the process of a major renovation to keep this treasured artifact working for generations to come. We are grateful for the continued support of the Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation. Through their support, and (that of) many others, we are creating memories that last for lifetimes and sparking joy and curiosity in all ages.”

The museum plans to reopen the carousel after major updates are complete. The full renovation of the animals will take an additional two years. Ongoing and future updates include the creation of a wheelchair-accessible chariot and an integrated ramp.

The museum will swap out animals to keep the carousel running following its reopening, while museum staff repair, sand and repaint some of the animals.

When the carousel reopens, it also will have bilingual signage, instructional recordings and additional communication features for those who are blind, low vision, deaf or hard of hearing.

“The Grand Rapids Public Museum looks forward to welcoming the community back to the carousel when the project completion is at the point where it can be ridden again,” said Kate Kocienski, GRPM vice president of marketing and public relations. “As work continues on the carousel over the coming months, we encourage the community to follow the progress through our website and social media pages.”

More information is available here.

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