Betty Ford’s 100th Birthday Celebration at Ford Museum
April 8, 2018 marks what would have been former first lady Betty Ford’s 100th birthday, and to honor her centennial, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, with support of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, has produced the exhibit “In Step with Betty Ford: A Celebration of Her Centennial.”
The exhibit is scheduled to open with a ribbon cutting at 5 p.m., April 10, which will be open to the public and free to attend. Ford’s daughter, Susan Ford Bales, will lead the ribbon cutting.
The Betty Ford centennial exhibit features over 150 artifacts and documents, many never before displayed. In addition to artifacts from the National Archives, the exhibit will include items on loan from the Grand Rapids Public Museum and historical images reproduced from a special collection at the Grand Rapids Public Library.
Some items being displayed include: the dress she wore during her controversial interview on 60 Minutes;
a gold starburst brooch, a gift presented to the first lady by Queen Elizabeth II;
and an Equal Rights Amendment flag that was made by and given to Ford as gift from her secret service agents.
When diagnosed with breast cancer in 1974, Ford broke from social conventions by announcing her diagnosis, which paved the way for public discussion of the disease. In 1978, her prescription drug and alcohol use led to a family intervention and her self-admittance to Long Beach Naval Hospital for treatment. In 1982, she co-founded the Betty Ford Center.
Betty Ford died at the age of 93 on July 8, 2011.
“In Step with Betty Ford” will be on display at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, located at 303 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan, through Jan. 16, 2019.