The Ford House

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House tells the story of the home life of a prominent American family.

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Women Who Motor exhibit in Historic Garage
Posted: November 1, 2014

When in the market for a new car, Eleanor Ford was looking for extra headroom…more specifically, enough space to accommodate her hats.

So when her son Henry Ford II ordered her now-iconic 1952 Lincoln Town Car, he arranged for nearly a foot be added to the top. Now, Eleanor’s newly restored custom-made car is back on view and is just one of the highlights of Edsel & Eleanor Ford House’s (Ford House) new exhibit, Women Who Motor: A Century of Shifting Cultural and Industry Standards.

The multimedia experience journeys through more than a century of ‘her’story.

Visitors will get a front seat view of how automobiles changed the cultural roles of women, and, at the same time, how women changed the automotive industry. “Looking at the history of the automobile, you can see how women influenced – directly and indirectly - the industry,” said Cindy Olsen, Ford House Director of Material Culture and curator for the Women Who Motor exhibition. “Added comfort and room. The electric start. A focus on safety. Attention to design. Women had their voices heard – and everyone benefited.”

The exhibit features vintage advertisements, film clips, and artifacts, such as Clara Ford’s driver’s permit and duster and focuses on three time periods: The Early Years (1880-1945), the Post-War Years (1946-1964), and the Modern Era (1965-today). There also will be three historic vehicles on display – Helen (Mrs. Henry) Joy's 1914 Detroit Electric, Eleanor Ford's custom made 1952 Lincoln Town Car, and a 1965 Mustang owned by a female member of the Ford Family. The exhibit also highlight modern day influential women in the automotive industry.

Women Who Motor is open during regular hours - 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. The exhibit, which will be up through 2016, is included with Ford House admission and is free to Ford House Members.

For more, go to or call 313.884.4222. Ford House is located at 1100 LakeShore Road in Grosse Pointe Shores.


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