Carousel at Grand Rapids Public Museum gets makeover

GRAND RAPIDS, me. (WOOD) – You may have noticed something is missing when walking along the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids.

The Cooking Carousel Pavilion at the Grand Rapids Public Museum is empty because the 1928 Spillman carousel gets a makeover.

With 50 animals, two chariots, a band organ, and tons of moving pieces, this lighting up is a pretty big job.

“They stopped making wooden carousels like this in the 1930s, so this is one of the last,” said Stevie Hornyak, exhibition specialist at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Hornyak grew up in West Michigan and drove this carousel.

After attending school in Chicago, she brought her artistic skills home and uses them at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

“This is where the magic happens in the museum. A lot of people don’t realize that the museum has the in-house talent to work on our exhibits like this, ”said Kate Kocienski, vice president of marketing at the museum.

Behind the exhibits and displays are the rooms and the people who bring the museum to life.

“It was time, it is an artifact that is over 90 years old and we are giving the artifact a small upgrade. The much needed mechanical and safety improvements and the restoration of all of our carousel animals, ”said Kocienski.

  • Stevie Hornyak restores a giraffe from the carousel at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. (May 7, 2021)
  • Stevie Hornyak restores a giraffe from the carousel at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. (May 7, 2021)
  • A giraffe from the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s carousel in a workroom that is about to be restored. (May 7, 2021)

Kocienski says the carousel went offline shortly before the pandemic.

“I think people noticed that the carousel is missing from the iconic pavilion over the Grand River. And it comes back. It will be back, ”said Kocienski.

In fact, the carousel is planned to be back online sometime in 2021, but not until much work is done on it.

“The horse over there, I think we were over 200 hours. This time I haven’t even added the hours, but I’ve been working on it, just the painting since… February, ”said Hornyak as she was painting a giraffe.

Stripped, sanded, primed and repainted – Hornyak paints the giraffe like the reticulated giraffes in the Binder Park Zoo.

“I wanted kids to be able to tell right away and I thought they would really enjoy it,” said Hornyak.

When the carousel returns, it will have upgrades for the hearing impaired and visually impaired, bilingual safety instructions, and a new entrance and exit.

“You want art to be accessible. And just to continue with the museum that tries to make everything accessible to everyone. That’s what we’re trying to do, ”said Hornyak.

It’s no surprise in the city that ArtPrize brought you that creative minds can make things move.

“It’s really amazing to do something where your work of art is seen and people can enjoy it. And it’s really out there. And that’s the joy of working in the museum, ”said Hornyak.

Many of the carousel’s mechanical parts were shipped to an outside company in Ohio Carousels and carvings.

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