National Archives Celebrates Gerald R. Ford’s Centennial
Press Release · Tuesday, July 8, 1913

Washington, DC…To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Gerald R. Ford (July 14, 1913), the National Archives will debut a special display, host programs, and offer extensive online teaching activities and social media outreach.  These initiatives are part of a year-long commemoration of the centennials of both Presidents Nixon and Ford, with programs and displays in Washington, DC, and at both the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum.

The “President Ford and the U.S. Space Program” display and “Celebrating the 70s”  family weekend will be hosted at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, located on Constitution Avenue, between 7th and 9th Streets, NW.  Admission to the museum and programs are free.  Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.

DISPLAY:  President Ford and the U.S. Space Program
July 12, 2013, through January 6, 2014
A special one-case display in the Public Vaults exhibition, Washington, DC
“President Ford and the U.S. Space Program” will feature rarely seen documents, photographs, and objects that represent milestones in manned spaceflight during President Ford’s administration and show his strong support of the space program.  The four original documents and two artifacts on display are on loan from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Both Presidents Nixon and Ford believed space exploration offered a diplomatic opportunity to lessen ongoing Cold War tensions.  The United States and Soviet Union discussed joint space exploration and signed an Agreement of Cooperation in 1972 that forged the way for a future joint mission during which a U.S. and a Soviet spacecraft would dock while in orbit.

From July 1973 to April 1975, U.S. and Soviet space crews and engineers studied each other’s language, visited each other’s facilities and trained together.  On July 15, 1975, the Apollo/Soyuz Test Project was ready.  U.S. astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts were launched into Earth’s orbit. After successfully linking their spacecrafts, the crews conducted scientific experiments and shared meals in each others’ capsules. This unique mission, combining both diplomacy and science, ended the Space Race that began in 1957, demonstrated that U.S./USSR space cooperation was possible, and laid the foundation for the current International Space Station.

The Display features:

  • A model of the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft showing their linkage in outer space;
  • A commemorative medallion of the same docking, made with metal taken from both the Apollo and Soyuz spacecrafts;  and
  • Letters of congratulations that President Ford and General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev sent each other following the mission.

Visitors will also have access to their very own “Mission Checklist” which will invite them to visit museum locations all over the National Mall to discover other space-related artifacts.

Related Family Programs

Celebrating the 70's
Family Days

July 18, 19, 20, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Boeing Learning Center and William G. McGowan Theater, Washington, DC
Explore hands-on family activities relating to the “President Ford and the U.S. Space Program” display and the current “Searching for the 70s:  The DOCUMERICA Photography Project” exhibit.  Each day at noon, the William G. McGowan Theater will show space-related/70s-related archival film footage from the National Archives’ holdings.

Activity highlights include:

  • Children’s story time and book signings Boeing Learning Center ReSource Room B
    Pluto’s Secret at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. – July 18, 19, and 20.  The author and illustrator will present their book, and a book signing will follow the program.  Other readings to include Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca (noon and 2 p.m.) and Footprints on the Moon by Mark Haddon (noon and 2 p.m.)
  • Kid-friendly tours of “Searching for the70s: The DOCUMERICA Photography Project.”  Tours of this groovy exhibit will be offered daily at 11 a.m. noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.  Participants should meet in the Boeing Learning Center ReSource Room A.
  • Kid’s photography workshop:  Archives staff will show kids how to take great photos using their parents’ digital cameras or phones!  Boeing Learning Center Briefing Room.
  • Social Media Activities: Historypin and DOCUMERICA interactive online activities will be available at computer stations.  Visitors can choose a photograph from the “Searching for the 70s” collection and map it using the Historypin website.  Later they can take a current photograph of that location and superimpose it on the original picture.  Boeing Learning Center ReSource Room A.
  • JEOPARDY!  Play your hand at Jeopardy featuring 1970s Presidents, legislation, White House special visitors, and more.
  • Hands-on science activities: Construct the dwarf Pluto and its moons using Styrofoam balls and toothpicks!  Make a rocket using film canister, index card, paper, crayons and markers.  At home, the rocket can be lifted off using an Alka Seltzer tablet.

Online Teaching Activities

Educators and students can access online teaching activities and primary source documents exploring pivotal decisions made by Presidents Nixon and Ford.  See “Turning Points in the Nixon & Ford Years” online at

See also the Nixon Centennial web page
[] and the
Ford Centennial web page [] for event updates, biographies, photo galleries, and more.

NEW Tumblr Blog:  State Dinners with President and Mrs. Ford
The Ford Administration hosted 33 State Dinners for guests of honor including Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh of Great Britain, President Anwar  El Sadat of Egypt, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel, The Emperor and Empress of Japan, and President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia.  This special blog will show the process of planning and hosting a State Dinner using holdings from the Ford Presidential Library and Museum including photos, menus, guest lists, seating charts, invitations, and White House “Memcons” from private discussions.  This blog goes live on July 8, 2013, at

Follow the Centennial Celebrations via Social Media
National Archives on Facebook:
Presidential Libraries on Twitter:
Presidential Libraries on Tumblr:
Presidential Libraries on Pinterest:

For information on National Archives public programs, call 202-357-5000, or view the Calendar of Events online.

For press information contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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This page was last reviewed on February 8, 2019.
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