History Nebraska Blog

Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center and Birthsite

We are called the “Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center,” but don't think that means we only treat items or documents pertaining to former President Gerald Ford. In fact, while we have worked on objects from several presidential collections, we have never treated anything owned by President Ford.


Bust of Gerald Ford

A bust of Gerald Ford in the exhibit at the Ford Conservation Center.


The Gerald Ford Connection
U.S. President Gerald R. Ford was born Leslie King, Jr. on July 14, 1913, at 3202 Woolworth Avenue, but moved with his mother to Michigan shortly after. He was adopted by his stepfather, and became Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. His birthsite house burned down in 1971 and the property was purchased by Omaha businessman James M. Paxson in 1974. He donated the land to the City of Omaha to be used as a site to honor President Ford. That gift created the Ford Birthsite Gardens. Later, Paxson donated adjacent property to the Nebraska State Historical Society which would become the Ford Conservation Center.


The Conservation Center
While we are a division of the Nebraska State Historical Society, the Ford Center works on objects, works on paper, and paintings for private individuals, as well as other institutions and government agencies.  While we can treat items for private individuals, the conservation labs are not open for public tours. 

Gerald Ford Exhibit

There is a small exhibit on Gerald Ford inside the building and this is open Monday thru Friday, by appointment only. Call 402-595-1180 or email nshs.grfcc@nebraska.gov if you would like to schedule a visit.

The Ford Birthsite Gardens
The Ford Birthsite Gardens are administered by the City of Omaha Parks Department.  They open to the public daily.  There is a small gazebo display with a model of the house and other photos and memorabilia about President Ford.  You may contact the City of Omaha Parks Department at 402-444-5900 if you are interested in using the Ford Birthsite Gardens for your event or if you have any questions or concerns about the maintenance of the site.

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