When I visited Atlanta (Coke Musuem Post, Six Flags Over Georgia Post) at the tail end of 2018 I purchased a Family Membership ($40) for the Jimmy Carter Museum (Carter Post). One because the reciprocity agreements allows patrons to visit any of the Presidential Libraries and because I was genuinely curious to learn more about our great leaders. Through this membership I had already visited several local Presidential Museums (Reagan Post, Nixon Post) and next up on my list was President Gerald Ford – the only President who was neither elected to Vice-President nor President. Aside from ascending the ranks without the people’s votes (he was appointed by Nixon, before he resigned) there were several things that were different about this President. One is that his Museum and Library are in two separate locations. The Museum is located in Grand Rapids and the Library is in Ann Arbor. I didn’t get a chance to see the library but from several reviews it appeared that the Museum was the main attraction. Second, Ford graduated from the University of Michigan and was recruited to play for the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers (!!!); however, he turned both down and decided to work as an Assistant Varsity Football Coach at Yale University and applied to their Law School – wow!
I spent several hours in this museum reading and learning about Ford’s legacy and I think his leadership in Operation Baby Lift – a mission that evacuated more than 3,000 orphans from North Vietnam in April 1975 spoke to me most. I live in an area that has the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam and these immigrants work ethic and culture truly makes Southern California more rich and diverse. I can only imagine how grateful those children were and how had changed their lives.
What kind of legacy would you like to leave?
Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum
303 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Mon- Sat: 9am – 5pm