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Updated 5:00 PM March 16, 2007
 

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  Saving America's Treasures
Dearborn receives federal grant for estate preservation

The Henry Ford Estate-Fair Lane, a national historic landmark on the campus of the U-M-Dearborn, has received a $350,000 federal grant to support replacement of major infrastructure elements at the facility.
Dennis Muck, custodian at the Henry Ford Estate on the U-M-Dearborn campus, works on restoring part of the main banister in the building's foyer, one of many tasks to maintain the national historic landmark that was home to Henry and Clara Ford for more than 30 years. Small ornamental pieces of the banister can become loose as the glue holding them in place dries out over a period of years, Muck says. Before reattaching the pieces with fresh glue, he removes the previous layer to prevent it from building up over time. (Photo by Jennifer Sroka, U-M-Dearborn)

The estate was the home of the automotive pioneer and his wife, Clara, from when it was built in 1915 until their deaths more than 30 years later. The Ford Motor Company gave the house to the University as part of the founding gift that led to the establishment of the Dearborn campus.

Funds from the federal grant will be used to begin repair of the estate's deteriorating steam-heating system, which threatens preservation of the building and its collections.

The grant, from the government's Save America's Treasures program, was the only one awarded in the state of Michigan and was one of the largest in the current round of 42 grants, selected from more than 300 applications.

Each organization receiving a Save America's Treasures grant is required to provide at least as much matching funding as the grant award from other sources. The Henry Ford Estate is in the process of raising $4 million to support projects to renovate and modernize the infrastructure of the facility while preserving its historical authenticity.

"The funding will, of course, help get the job done, and it will also serve as great opportunity to leverage more gifts," says Mary Lynn Heininger, director of corporate and foundation relations at U-M-Dearborn.

"Save America's Treasures awards are prestigious and hard to get and so this endorsement of our project is very important," she says. "The long-term support we've received in this community from a large number of very dedicated volunteers who are committed to preserving this landmark was one of the important positive factors in our proposal."

Save America's Treasures is a partnership of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the National Park Service, National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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