Please excuse our appearance, we are making over this exhibition and parts of it are temporarily unavailable.
Early Grand Rapids earned the nickname "the furniture city," because it was the first center of mass-produced furniture in North America. The Furniture City exhibit is the Museum's largest and most-studied exhibit, a complete history of furniture manufacturing in West Michigan.
Walk past more than 120 pieces of Grand Rapids-made furniture, from the 1840s to the 1990s. A huge mural depicts the story of the city, its people and main industry. Browse through a re-created 1920s showroom from the Grand Rapids Furniture Market.
Beyond the showrooms is the factory – a re-creation of the historic Phoenix Furniture Factory of 1910, where Museum volunteers make wood furniture parts on real 19th century factory machines, powered by a 30-foot high, 35-ton 1905 Corliss-type steam engine with an 18-foot flywheel.
Children love to peer at the minutely detailed miniature factory diorama. Car buffs will marvel at the only existing 1920 Lorraine Touring Car, made in Grand Rapids back when there were many wood parts in automobiles. The Frank Lloyd Wright desk is an excellent example illustrating the unique style of this famous American architect.
Other displays relate to furniture industry labor unions and the strike of 1911, the amazing skill of furniture artists and craftsmen and the evolution of the still thriving office furniture industry in West Michigan.