CF Community Partner Spotlight: Grand Rapids Public Museum
Each year, Crystal Flash supports nearly 200 different organizations and events across the communities where our employee-owners live and work. Being a Michigan-based company, getting involved in our local communities is personal.
For years, Crystal Flash has enjoyed a special relationship with the Grand Rapids Public Museum. In this edition of the CF Community Partner Spotlight, we’d like to share a little bit more about this relationship, which supports the Museum’s educational programming and access to Museum assets for rural students of all ages.
Grand Rapids Public Museum
Grand Rapids Public Museum’s vision is “To inspire passionate curiosity and a deeper understanding of the world around us.” The Grand Rapids Public Museum is a place of never-ending inspiration and discovery, with a focus on science, history and culture.
Some GRPM Facts
- The oldest museum in Michigan, founded in 1854.
- Its Collections contain more than 250,000 artifacts and specimens.
- The GRPM is deeply committed to creating an environment that is inclusive of all learning styles, ages, backgrounds, and physical and cognitive needs.
- The Chaffee Planetarium continues to impress audiences with scientific programming and state-of-the-art technology.
- The Grand Rapids Public Museum School an innovative partnership with Grand Rapids Public Schools, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, The City of Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., opened in the Fall of 2015.
- The Museum routinely brings in traveling exhibits throughout the year and also has in-house exhibitions to satisfy a diverse range of interests and ages. Exhibit offerings are accompanied by innovative educational programming.
- GRPM offers a robust education program for schools that provide learners opportunities to explore culture, history and science through tours, hands-on activities, and guided exploration.
As we all know, nonprofit organizations have been significantly impacted by the effects of the pandemic. COVID-19 precautions led to the GRPM’s closure to the public from mid-March until July. During this time, the Museum created an innovative new program called GRPM from Home. The program allowed the GRPM to make various Museum resources accessible digitally from anywhere, including the exploration of the Museum’s Collections, virtual scavenger hunts, downloadable coloring pages and other online activities. The GRPM also hosted virtual summer camps, virtual planetarium programs and upon re-opening, small group in-person after school programs that were quite popular and well-attended.
The Crystal Flash/Grand Rapids Public Museum Partnership
In 2017, Crystal Flash and the GRPM shared a mutual desire to create an initiative that would help students in rural areas of Michigan experience the benefits of a day visiting the Museum. This led to the creation of Fueling Creative Learning, a program that involves Crystal Flash funding the transportation costs on behalf of rural schools when they schedule a field trip to the Museum, located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids.
During 2019, over 60 schools, and nearly 4,000 students, visited Grand Rapids Public Museum through the Fueling Creative Learning program. On December 4, 2019, the program marked a major milestone when it surpassed 10,000 students served/transported. In 2020, prior to being paused due to the pandemic, 13 schools, from as far away as Elk Rapids (just north of Traverse City), participated in the program.
The Museum is currently open to the public, following all social distancing, hygiene and masking procedures as outlined by the CDC and state guidelines. Crystal Flash is proud to be an “Ambassador Sponsor” of a new exhibit, Sean Kenney’s Wild Connections Made with LEGO® Bricks, which is on display now through May 2, 2021.
From Fueling Creative Learning to partnering on other funding, educational and awareness efforts, the employee-owners of Crystal Flash look forward to our continued relationship with, and support of, Grand Rapids Public Museum and the many participating rural school districts it serves. For more information on Grand Rapids Public Museum and to access its many online educational resources, visit grpm.org.