Monday, October 6, 2014

Grand Rapids Public Museum to Host “German Unity Day Celebration” on October 8

On October 8, 2014, the +Grand Rapids Public Museum will be the venue for a special event in celebration of German Unity Day, which occurs around the world to commemorate the anniversary of Germany reunification. The 2014 celebration marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and special commemoration will be given to that anniversary during the event.

This year, the German American Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the event in Grand Rapids, with the reception at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. German Unity Day, typically held in Detroit, will be anchored in West Michigan this fall, as both pieces of the Berlin Wall in the State of Michigan are located in Grand Rapids. Sections of the Berlin Wall can be found at both the GRPM and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, where they are prominently displayed.

The Annual German Unity Day celebration and reception is hosted by Frederick W. Hoffman Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany – Detroit in cooperation with the German American Chamber of Commerce Midwest Michigan Chapter, and the German American Cultural Center.

The German Unity Day celebration will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the GRPM on Wednesday, October 8. The celebration will include appearances by Frederick W. Hoffman, Hank Meijer, and Christian Gaines, Executive Director of ArtPrize. The event will also include readings from two local students relating to the Berlin Wall in both German and English. Tickets are available online for $45 by registering at Attendees are encouraged to register early, as there are limited tickets available.

Unity Day Celebration will take place during ArtPrize, the famous international art competition held in Grand Rapids each year. ArtPrize is a partner for the event, and there will be several German artists at the GRPM for the Unity Day Event.

“We are thrilled to be the host location for the German Unity Day celebration this year,” said Dale Robertson, President and CEO of the GRPM. “This celebration of culture and history fits directly with the mission of the Museum, and we are happy to open our doors and invite the community to take part. Thanks also to ArtPrize for being a partner for the event.”

“With artists from fifty-one countries represented, ArtPrize is a truly international event,” commented Christian Gaines, ArtPrize Executive Director. “It’s a great honor to be involved in this celebration of German unity.”

“We are excited about holding this important event in Grand Rapids for the first time ever, and we are very appreciative of the support we've received from the community, particularly the Grand Rapids Public Museum, ArtPrize and The Right Place. We're looking forward to a great evening!” said Frederick Hoffman, Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany – Detroit.

For morning information about German Unity Day please visit or

Berlin Wall Section at the GRPM
The section of the Berlin Wall on display at the Grand Rapids Public Museum is gray in color and covered in colorful graffiti on one side. The back of the wall is unpainted gray concrete. The sides of the wall have grooves where neighboring sections would fit. The Wall was originally built in 1961 by the East German military government. After the wall came down in 1989 a New Jersey firm called the Berlin Wall Commemorative Group obtained licensing rights from the German government for brokering sections of the Wall to American buyers. Fred Meijer purchased this section of the wall from that organization and donated it to the Public Museum of Grand Rapids in 1991. It went on display in 1994 when the new Van Andel Museum Center was opened.

Grand Rapids Public Museum
The Grand Rapids Public Museum, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is located in downtown Grand Rapids, MI at 272 Pearl Street NW. The mission of the museum is to be a living monument of artifacts, ideas and stories told through exhibitions, events and educational programming designed to inspire, motivate and celebrate our human bond. We enrich the life of our community through experiences of the wider world in a uniquely Grand Rapids context. For additional information including hours of operation, admission fees and exhibit/event listings, please visit

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