As our friends began getting ready to leave for California, Oregon, Colorado, Pennsylvania and even the Detroit area, we bit them a fond adieu and headed out for the
The Gerald Ford Presidential Museum is the only such facility under the auspices of the National Archives and Records Administration to be separate from the presidential library, which is located approximately 130 miles to the east in Ann Arbor, which we visited last month.
The main floor contains exhibits on President Ford’s life
Football player at the University of Michigan
Naval Officer during World War II
and career … including his nomination and confirmation as the nation’s o nly unelected Vice President
Congressman Ford’s recommendations to President Nixon for Vice President
and subsequent ascension to President upon the resignation of President Nixon … when he said in his inaugural address;
“I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your President by your ballots, and so I ask you to confirm me as your President with your prayers. And I hope that such prayers will also be the first of many.
If you have not chosen me by secret ballot, neither have I gained office by any secret promises. I have not campaigned either for the Presidency or the Vice Presidency. I have not subscribed to any partisan platform. I am indebted to no man, and only to one woman—my dear wife—as I begin this very difficult job.”
and the Office of President … including his controversial pardoning of former President Richard Nixon,
the evacuation of Saigon,
Actual embassy roof stairs
and the other highlights and challenges he faced during his brief presidency.
Listening and photographic equipment used during the June 17, 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C
Ship’s bell from the USS Mayaguez, taken over by the Cambodian Khmer Rouge
Pistol used by Squeaky Fromme (a Charles Mason follower) when she tried to assassinate President Ford
President Ford’s unsuccessful re-election bid in 1976
And, although it occurred some thirteen years after he left office … a slab from the Berlin Wall.Some of the many gifts to President and Mrs. Ford
Tributes to Betty Ford for her efforts and advocacy both during her tenure in the White House and afterwards.
Candid photographs of Ford interacting with his family and colleagues offer the visitor a personal glimpse of the president.
There are full-scale replicas of the Cabinet Room and the Oval Office
as they were decorated and furnished during Ford’s presidency.
Gerald and Betty Ford are buried nearby on the Museum’s grounds.
The Museum’s current special exhibit is entitled
which highlights the history of naval aviation from the first carrier landing by Eugene Ely who launched his Curtis pusher from an improvised deck on the USS Birmingham on November 14, 1910 and then landing on another improvised carrier, the USS Pennsylvania
to World War II and an authentic reproduction of a Japanese map used in the December 7, 2941 raid on Pearl Harbor.
and finally the Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78),
the lead ship of her class of United States Navy supercarriers; incorporating many new and innovative technologies, including electromagnetic catapults (EMALS) which will launch aircraft, eliminating the need to store water and heat it for steam catapults.
Our second and last stop of the day was at Neils’ Dutch Village, a step back into the Netherlands of over 100 years ago, complete with authentic Dutch architecture, flowering gardens, canals and windmills. The history and culture of the Dutch comes to life as our associates dressed in native costumes including wooden shoes, demonstrate village life.
A 25-bell carillon imported from the Netherlands in 1991. It plays one of several songs on the hour and half-hour
Typical connected farmhouse and barn
Sleeping quarters, between the living and kitchen areas – Parents slept on one side with a smaller bed above for an infant with the older children sleeping in the other bed
Debbie being weighed in the Waggebouw … amazingly accurate … however, the actual results are CLASSIFIED
A Grain and Seed Cleaner & Separator – One horse walking continuously on the treadle system creates the power to turn the giant wheel which moves the belt bringing the needed power to the large machine to separate the grain from the chaff and this the term, “One Horse Power!
Village Museum … with period clothes and a variety of dolls
Golden Angel Street Organ
A demonstration of traditional Dutch dancing
A statue of Van Gogh at work
Traditional wooden shoe making
Contemporary wooden shoe making – rough shaping
Contemporary wooden shoe making – routing the inside area
Finished engagement shoes … given in lieu of a ring
The most fascinating process we saw was candle making … which is a real art!