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Dirk Gringhuis papers

Identifier: UA-17.306

Scope and Content

The Dirk Gringhuis Papers contain drafts, gallery proofs, photographs, and illustrated drawings for two of Gringhuis' books: Stars on the Ceiling: the Planetarium Story and Open Door to the Great Lakes. The collection also contains MSU Museum pamphlets, newspaper articles concerning Gringhuis and the MSU Museum, publications by Gringhuis, reminiscence about Gringhuis by his coworker Charles Smith, a drawing of Charles Smith? by Gringhuis, photographs of museum staff members, and a watercolor and sketches by Gringhuis.


  • Creation: undated, circa 1965-1967


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biographical Note

Richard H. "Dirk" Gringhuis was born on September 22, 1918 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He attended Greason School of Painting in Douglas, Michigan in 1937, followed by the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Illinois from 1938 to 1940. In 1941 Gringhuis took a break from school to marry Helen Lees. He returned to school in 1942; this time attending the Grand Central Art School in New York, N.Y.

For the first 10 years of his career, Gringhuis worked as a freelance artist in Grand Rapids, then as Director of the Art Department at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. In 1952 he began working as a freelance artist in East Lansing. Gringhuis started his career at Michigan State University as Assistant Curator at the Abrams Planetarium in 1963. The following year he was transferred to the museum to work as an artist. He was promoted to Curator of Exhibits in 1967, a position he held until his death in 1974. In 1971 Gringhuis became an Associate Professor of Elementary Education and Special Education.

Gringhuis wrote and illustrated 20 childrens books and served as a artist, producer, and host of the weekly television program "Open Door to Michigan." The program began at WMSB-TV at MSU in 1964 as an educational show targeted to children in grades 3 through 5. Gringhuis also served as a consultant for Mackinac Island State Park Commission. Preparing illustrated bulletins, research reports, and painting murals depicting scenes from Michigan history were a few of the tasks he performed for the Commission.

Following a short illness, Gringhuis died on March 31, 1974 at the age of 55.


1 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Dirk Gringhuis Papers
3 Ready For Cataloging
July 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US