GROSSE POINTE SHORES, Mich. – Ford House, the historic estate of Edsel and Eleanor Ford, will be open to the public May 26, showcasing its first major expansion in over 90 years— a 40,000 square-foot Visitor Center and 17,000 square-foot Administration Building. The state-of-the-art Visitor Center will bring a new restaurant, four event spaces, exhibition spaces, expanded program offerings and breathtaking views of Ford Cove. This expansion project has allowed Ford House to convey the history of one of America and Detroit’s most renowned families in an interactive and immersive style.
Starting May 26 through May 29, visitors are invited to participate in an open house to see both buildings, explore the grounds and gardens, and enjoy fun activities to celebrate the expansion. Adult admission for the open house event will be $5 and includes access to the inaugural exhibitions, grounds and gardens. Ford House members will receive exclusive access the weekend before, May 21-23, with free admission. Purchase tickets in advance by visiting fordhouse.org.
The Visitor Center will open with three exhibitions—an orientation gallery and two rotating exhibitions. The Ford Family Story is a permanent exhibition that introduces visitors to Edsel and Eleanor Ford’s estate, demonstrates how the Fords built a life and home that paid tribute to the property’s natural environment, the arts and interior design. Equipped with multiple interactive displays including a virtual scrapbook and projected home movies, the exhibit shares intimate moments throughout the Fords’ lives on the estate. Driven by Design, the Visitor Center’s first rotating exhibition, will feature three rare vehicles that have never been showcased together – the world’s only 1939 Lincoln Continental prototype, the 1932 Ford Model 18 Speedster and 1934 Ford Model 40 Special Speedster – to tell the story of Edsel Ford’s role in bringing elegant automotive design to Ford Motor Company. The second traveling exhibition, located in the education wing, will feature artwork from the community. The Future of Movement will be the inaugural display, showcasing the next wave of ingenuity and mobility-forward automotive designs from College for Creative Studies students. This exhibition space was designed to rotate offerings on a regular basis; therefore, visitors will only be able to experience The Future of Movement until August 2021.
“My grandparents, Eleanor and Edsel, placed such a high value on hospitality, making guests feel welcome in their home. Adding new amenities to the Ford House experience in the form of the Visitor Center extends that hospitality to everyone who visits the estate today,” said Lynn Ford Alandt, chairperson of the Ford House board of trustees. “And in the new exhibits, you can hear the family’s stories in a personal way. It’s a lovely celebration of who they were and their legacy.”
The Visitor Center offers four event spaces and three meeting rooms, all equipped with the latest technology and completely adaptable to accommodate your business meeting, social gathering or workshops. The two signature private event spaces, the Lake Shore Room and the St. Clair Room, have sweeping views of Ford Cove and Lake St. Clair from the Visitor Center ’s second floor. Both rooms open to a balcony or patio, allowing for outdoor entertainment. To meet the needs of the business community, the Visitor Center also offers three conference rooms that can be rented for break-out sessions or committee meetings.
On June 3, Ford House will have the grand opening of The Continental, one of the only water-side restaurants in the Grosse Pointes. Celebrated Chef Michael Keys will carryover beloved items from the previous restaurant and present a modern twist on Detroit favorites, such as the iconic Maurice Salad from Hudson’s. Lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch will be offered alongside breathtaking views of Ford Cove. The 64-seat restaurant will also have outdoor dining on the lakeshore patio. Guests are encouraged to reserve their table in advance by calling 313-884-4222.
The Speedster, a quick-service dining option, is also available with “grab-and-go” options like salads, sandwiches, and snacks that can be enjoyed on the patio or anywhere on the estate grounds.
The Visitor Center will also feature The Shop offering one-of-a-kind items inspired by the Fords’ pastimes and passions, automotive history, as well as merchandise custom designed to reflect the Ford House architecture and seasonal programming.
Tours of the Main Residence are available for an additional fee, and are self-guided and enhanced with an app, handouts and strategically located staff. Hours for the grand opening are 1 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 26. The open house will continue Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 27 -29, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Additional information about the expansion project can be found here.
Following the opening week events, Ford House will kick off the summer 2021 season with a variety of activities including a live concert series, classes, workshops, lectures, picnics, yard games, the EyesOn Design Car Show and many more.
About Ford House
Ford House is located at 1100 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Shores. Since 1978, Ford House has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors to share in Eleanor Ford’s vision of preserving the estate for future generations to enjoy through interpretive tours, family activities, lectures, exhibits and gardens and grounds events. For more information, visit www.fordhouse.org or call 313-884-4222 and connect with Ford House on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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