UM-Dearborn’s Henry Ford Estate receives federal grant for preservation

March 1, 2007

Dennis Muck, custodian at the Henry Ford Estate, works on restoring part of the main banister in the building's foyer, one of the unremitting demends of maintaining the national historic landmark that was home to Henry and Clara Ford for more than 30 years. Small ornamental pieces of the banister can become loose as the glue holding them in place dries out over a period of years, according to Muck. Before reattaching the pieces with fresh glue, he removes the previous layer of glue to prevent it from building up over time.

DEARBORN / March 2, 2007---The Henry Ford Estate-Fair Lane, a national historic landmark on the campus of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, has received a $350,000 federal grant to support replacement of major infrastructure elements at the facility.

The Henry Ford Estate was the home of the automotive pioneer and his wife, Clara, from when it was built in 1915 until their deaths more than 30 years later. The Ford Motor Company gave the house to the University of Michigan as part of the founding gift that led to the establishment of the Dearborn campus.

Funds from the federal grant will be used to begin repair of the Estate’s deteriorating steam-heating system, which threatens preservation of the building and its collections.

The grant, from the government’s Save America’s Treasures program, was the only one awarded in the state of Michigan and one of the largest in the current round of 42 grants, selected from more than 300 applications.

“Save America’s Treasures competitive awards preserve the nation’s most significant endangered intellectual and cultural artifacts, historic structures and historic sites,” according to a statement announcing the awards.

Each organization receiving a Save America’s Treasures grant is required to provide at least as much matching funding as the grant award from other sources. The Henry Ford Estate is in the process of raising $4 million to support projects to renovate and modernize the infrastructure of the facility while preserving its historical authenticity.

“The funding will, of course, help get the job done, and it will also serve as great opportunity to leverage more gifts,” according to Mary Lynn Heininger, director of corporate and foundation relations at UM-Dearborn.

“Save America's Treasures awards are prestigious and hard to get and so this endorsement of our project is very important,” she said. “The long-term support we’ve received in this community from a large number of very dedicated volunteers who are committed to preserving this landmark was one of the important positive factors in our proposal.”

Save America’s Treasures is a partnership of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the National Park Service, National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

“We congratulate these awardees who have worked tirelessly to preserve and protect the irreplaceable,” according to a statement from Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, in the announcement of the award. “Our artistic and cultural heritage is part of our national identity, and Save America's Treasures exemplifies the vision of building our future by preserving our past.”

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CONTACT: Terry Gallagher
PHONE: 313-593-5518
The Office of University Relations
Room 1040, Administration Building
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