Dec 20, 2022 | By: Justin Othoudt

In Business: Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids Makes Historic Land Purchase

As Judy Garland once said in The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.” Now 100 years after the star’s birth, her childhood home in Grand Rapids, the site of the Judy Garland Children’s Discovery Museum, is going to become a bit bigger.

“There was a 0.6 acre lot directly next to the Judy Garland childhood home,” explained Judy Garland Children’s Discovery Museum Executive Director Janie Heitz.” We already had the right of first refusal on the property, so once an offer was made, we had to match that offer exactly within 15 days.”

And as luck would have it, an offer was made.

“We had to jump into gear and try to raise the money to purchase the land so we wouldn’t lose it,” said Heitz.

With the help of community donations, the museum was able to raise over $125,000, and now that the land has purchased, the big question is, what comes next?

“We’re probably going to be doing a community survey to get input, but we do have this idea of doing, potentially, a Wizard of Oz themed miniature golf course,” explained Heitz, “In keeping with the theme of the museum and, you know, keeping Judy Garland’s life and legacy alive, we want to make something that is fun and stays to the theme of the museum.”

Preserving the legacy of Judy Garland while providing a fun atmosphere is, after all, the very heart of the museum.

“To be a part of it, it’s really fascinating,” said Heitz, “Judy Garland has been gone for many years, and her life and legacy still resonate with so many people and it’s really astonishing.”

Hopefully, with the addition of the new land, the Judy Garland Children’s Discovery Museum can continue to inspire curiosity and keep the star’s legacy alive for years to come.

“I’m just, really excited for the future of this place, I think that land, getting that land really is a jump start to, sort of, the next generation of this museum.” explained Heitz. “So we’ll see where it takes us, I hope it’s nothing but up!”

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