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Elegance in Entertaining: Traditions at the Estate
Posted: December 19, 2007
EDSEL & ELEANOR FORD HOUSE PRESENTS
ELEGANCE IN ENTERTAINING
Special themed tours and exhibit begin November 23
Edsel and Eleanor Ford were among the social elite of their era, attending newsworthy galas and celebrations. But they were also gracious hosts, who enjoyed entertaining family and friends at their Grosse Pointe Shores estate. They opened their home for gatherings large and small; elaborate and simple. Regardless of the occasion, one thing remained constant – the elegance they brought to entertaining.
This holiday season, Edsel & Eleanor Ford House presents Elegance in Entertaining: Traditions at the Estate, a specially focused tour and exhibition that runs through January 6.
Woven throughout the holiday decorations for the season, stories, pictures and displays of how the Fords entertained – both at the holidays and other occasions – will be shared. Guests will hear about celebrations, including Henry Ford II’s 21st birthday, where a pirate ship set sail in the lagoon and the Tommy Dorsey Band played in the home’s Gallery. They’ll see how rooms were transformed and used, such as the Debutant Tea where chandeliers were removed and Christmas trees hung from the 18-foot ceiling.
Among other highlights will be the Dining Room set as it was for a party in the 1960s. “For many years we’ve decorated the Dining Room in a more formal motif to present one way that the Fords set the room for the holidays,” explained David Janssen, vice president internal operations. “But like all of us, the Fords didn’t decorate it the same way every year. We pulled out a rarely seen photograph of the room as it was decorated for one of the Debutant Teas and will use it as a guide to recreate that particular setting.”
Behind the Scenes of a Party
Whether it was hand-written instructions from Eleanor herself or the tow truck that was on standby in case a guest’s car got stuck in the snow or needed gas, visitors on tour will get a chance to hear about the attention to detail that went into staging these spectacular events. They will also see uniforms worn by staff that will be on display in the Butler’s Pantry, along with a presentation of family china used for different functions.
What Is That?
The Elegance in Entertaining theme will continue in the Activities Center, where a collection of items that may even stump Martha Stewart will be on display. Salt cellar, fish slice, wine tester, sugar caster are not exactly the types of items that people use today for entertaining but they, along with other utensils and serving pieces, will be featured with a flip chart where visitors can test their knowledge about what these items are and how they were used. The Activities Center will also be the site of a movie projector that was used to show first-run movies at Christmastime.
Elegance in Entertaining Holiday Tours will run November 23 through January 6. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sundays noon – 4 p.m. Ford House will also be open Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The estate is closed Christmas and New Year’s Days. Tickets are $8 adults, $7 seniors, $6 children 6-12. 5 and under are free.
Evening tours, which will include carolers and hot chocolate, will be offered December 13 and 20 from 6-8 p.m. Cost for Evening Holiday Tours is $11.
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