History

The Public Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan was founded by a group of civic leaders in 1854 as the Grand Rapids Lyceum of Natural History and in 1868 merged with the Grand Rapids Scientific Club to form the Kent Scientific Institute and Museum. Over the next century, the Museum established itself as a premier educational institution in the area, and continues in to fulfill this role for West Michigan today.

A portion of the current Habitats exhibit on the Van Andel Museum Center’s third floor is dedicated to a recreation of the early days of the Museum, and illustrates the changing attitudes about collections-based education and interpretation.

The Public Museum carries the distinction of being the first museum ever to be accredited by the American Association of Museums in 1971 and has continued to earn that accreditation in every review since.