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Experience Grand Rapids
Written By Experience Grand Rapids

Get ready to be wowed - Grand Rapids never fails to surprise visitors with the huge variety of things to see and do here: World-renowned art, museums and historic sites for cultural vacationers. World-class golf, recreation and beaches for nature lovers. Incredible farm-to-table restaurants for foodies and wholesome "playcation" fun for families.

Oral history, in African culture, was performed by the griots or storytellers. They kept the history and traditions of the family, the tribe and the nation but this was generally a masculine job. When the Africans were brought to the Americas, that duty shifted to our womanfolk, and in recent times that person was a grandmother, granny, nana, grandma or GRAAMA. Our acronym describes much about our mission and where we are focused: telling those shared stories of the people from this community through changing exhibits and live performances. "Always listen to your GRAAMA."

Think you already know everything interesting about Grand Rapids? If you're searching for stories you haven't already heard, you're likely to find them here. Started by local artist and curator George Bayard, the museum is currently located in a storefront near Rosa Parks Circle as they raise funds for a permanent museum.

In addition to a permanent collection of art and heirlooms donated by the African American community, recent exhibits have included "50 Faces of MLK," "Voices of the Civil Rights Movement," and "Black Comedians and Social Change." Bayard discusses his inspiration for the museum in this video:

Well-known African Americans who have lived in Grand Rapids include civil rights activist Helen Claytor, musician Al Green, boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and Rev. Lyman Parks, who served as mayor of GR from 1971-1976.

Cover image: Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids Culture Pass


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