Gates opening for public at historic Ford House July 7
Posted: July 7, 2020
After being closed for months, Ford House, the historic estate of Edsel and Eleanor Ford, will open its gates to welcome back the general public to walk the beautiful lakeside grounds and gardens beginning Tuesday, July 7.
Ford House closed to visitors March 11 to help limit the spread of COVID-19, coinciding with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s declaration of a state of emergency and Centers for Disease Control guidelines. In mid-June, the estate launched a phased reopening, admitting only members.
Beginning July 7, the general public may walk the grounds and gardens, tour with Ford House’s new mobile app, and picnic on the National Historic Landmark estate, but a ticket is required. Ford House has added health and safety guidelines for visitors and staff to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Members have been following these protocols on the estate for the past few weeks.
All visitors must register in advance for a timed entry ticket. Tickets are $5 for the general public, and member admission is still free, but tickets are required for admittance. Visitors are also required to practice social distancing and keep a face mask with them at all times while on the estate. All historical buildings, including the Visitor Center and Museum Store, are closed, and house tours are suspended at this time.
“Ford House is a welcoming place where you can immerse yourself in nature and historical architecture while keeping a safe social distance,” Ford House President and CEO Mark Heppner said. “We have been diligent in planning every necessary precaution to protect your health and safety so we can see you and your family back. We are excited to see our visitors’ smiling faces again.”
Ford House has launched a new mobile app with stop-by-stop tours around the Ford House grounds and a virtual look inside the Fords’ main residence. The app is available at www.fordhouse.org and through the App Store. Visitors also can download or print a map and guide to bring along.
Employees at Ford House are also following strict precautionary measures and new rules for disinfecting shared areas. A limited number of staff are permitted to work onsite each day while the remaining staff continue to work remotely. The majority of Ford House employees have been working from home since mid-March.
Most of Ford House’s large onsite events have been canceled or postponed. DSO at Ford House -- the estate’s annual outdoor concert and fireworks featuring the Detroit Symphony Orchestra -- is canceled.
Now, plans are in the works to add new outdoor programming onsite at Ford House this summer with careful consideration for physical distancing. The estate is currently offering virtual opportunities to experience Ford House at home, such as gardening workshops, Starry Nights lectures, book-club-style discussions, and a photography workshop, all slated for the coming weeks on the Zoom platform. In August, you can learn about bees, birds, butterflies and more with activities during the estate’s Pollinator Palooza week.
“The virtual events and programs our team has created have been a fantastic way for visitors to connect with Ford House and each other. They provide a chance for both kids and adults to learn something new, be creative, or just have some fun,” Ford House Director of Visitor Experience Amanda Rutland said. “For those who are immunocompromised or otherwise unable to visit Ford House in person, we invite you to keep an eye on our website because we’ve got more virtual programs planned for you.”
The pandemic has caused some delays in the construction of Ford House’s new Visitor Center and Administration Building, which will feature new exhibits, education spaces, a new restaurant, expanded shop, a lake view rental space and more. A new opening date has not been determined yet.
For any questions about Ford House’s reopening, health and safety guidelines, upcoming events and more, visit www.fordhouse.org or contact info [at] fordhouse.org.