“When I used to read fairy tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now I am in the middle of one!” So exclaimed Alice in Lewis Carroll’s classic novel when she fell through the rabbit hole into Wonderland. This summer, Edsel & Eleanor Ford House (Ford House) celebrates the world of Alice and welcomes families to let their imaginations run free during Fairy Tales at Ford House: A Wonderland Experience.
Kicking off the summer-long fantasy will be the third annual Fairy Tale Festival on Saturday, June 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Characters from Alice in Wonderland, including the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, the White Rabbit and Alice herself, will leap from the storybook pages to delight young and old alike with activities, including multi-cultural storytelling, live musical and theatrical performances, craft making, story circles, games and more on Ford House’s enchanted grounds. The Fairy Tale Festival is $12 per person in advance and $15 at the door.
“Fairy Tales at Ford House has become one of the favorite offerings at the estate since we first began presenting the fantasy-focused exhibits and programs in 2011,” said Chris Shires, Director of Interpretation and Programming at Ford House. “The Festival’s magic comes from seeing families explore storytelling in new and creative ways, whether they’re making crafts together, reading a book out on the grounds or watching a musical performance.”
The Art of Alice
At the centerpiece of the summer Wonderland experience are two exhibits. Almost Alice: Illustrations of Wonderland, is an alluring, haunting and mysterious exploration of Alice’s journey in to Wonderland. Artist Maggie Taylor presents a visually modern twist on Lewis Carroll’s classic novel with antique nineteenth-century Victorian photos that have been digitally manipulated into complex and surreal layered montages for a simultaneously historic and captivatingly contemporary result. Almost Alice will be located in the historic South Cottage which will be transformed with elements of Wonderland, including the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party table, where guests can sit and explore riddles.
A second exhibit, Alice, Art & Artifact brings students from College for Creative Studies to Ford House for inspiration in creating their multi-media interpretations of Alice’s tale. Alice, Art & Artifact will be on view in Ford House’s historic Pool House.
Throughout the run of the exhibits, families will have the opportunity to take books out of the exhibit and read them on the grounds or in a special reading space. Additionally, activity backpacks will be available for fairy tale exploration on the grounds.
Both exhibits, which run from June 29 through September 8, are free to Ford House Members and are included with regular admission.
“Alice’s adventures have always sparked creativity. You might think you know ‘Alice,’ but these exhibits offer intriguing, original interpretations,” said Josephine Shea, Ford House curator.
In addition to Fairy Tale Festival and Alice exhibits, a variety of programs for families, youth and adults will be offered throughout the summer months. For additional information and reservations, visit www.fordhouse.org, call 313.884.4222 or view the brochure.
Youth and Family Programs
Mad Hatter’s Tea Parties (July 9, 11,16, 18, 23) – Join Alice and the Mad Hatter in a delectably disheveled Tea Party! Alice and the Mad Hatter will be present to visit each family's table - and maybe even wish you a very merry un-birthday! There will be a dramatic story time, singing, dancing, games, crafts, photo opportunities – and, of course, tea.
Family Movie Night (July 24) – Bring your chairs, blankets and picnics and enjoy the Disney classic Alice in Wonderland on the beautiful Ford House grounds.
Mad Hatter Hat Making (Aug. 13) – Put on your creativity hat to make paper Mola collages illustrating how Alice grew from small to giant-sized during her adventure. Using cut-out versions of Alice and the White Rabbit, children will use their imagination to retell the story. They’ll also use oil pastels to create their scene. This is for ages 5-10.
Un-Birthday Party Dish Making (Aug. 20) – A very merry Un-Birthday! Children will sculpt and paint their own teacup, saucer, plate or birthday cake and imagine participating in their very own Un-Birthday Party. They will also draw their own Un-Birthday Party scene with oil pastels. This is for ages 5-10.
Cheshire Cat Collages (Aug. 27) – This art session will have children grinning like the Cheshire Cat as they create their own mischievous cat and make it “appear” on scratch-off paper using paint, crayons and glitter. They can also use air-dry cloud clay to create a sculpture of the Cheshire cat. This is for ages 5-10.
A Day with Nancy Fine Collins, Author of the Complete Engraver (Aug. 3) – Discover, through this hands-on presentation and workshop, how traditional styles of hand-engraved social stationery reveal the evolution of typography and graphic design.
Photo Transfer Program (Aug 10)– Drawing inspiration the unique techniques used in the Almost Alice exhibit, participants will expand their creativity through the rich contrast of photography and form. The class explores the photographic image and basic transfer technique using cooking gelatin on wood, tile or fine art paper. This multidisciplinary class draws from photographic tradition and basic digital printing technology.
Hidden Treasures of Wayne State University’s Ramsey Collection of Literature of Young People (Aug. 15) – Discover the stories behind a little-known collection of rare books that date back to the late 1700s. Wayne State University Librarian Cindy Krolikowski shares rare treasures including Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland Postage Stamp Book created in 1890.