Press Release


American Style and Spirit: 130 years of Fashions and Lives of an Entrepreneurial Family Opens Inside Henry Ford Museum Nov. 5

(Dearborn, Mich. – Oct. 12, 2016) Clothing can tell many stories, from a person’s sense of style to the larger context of the world surrounding its wearer –  but how often are these stories saved? Starting November 5 through April 2, 2017, guests to Henry Ford Museum can take a closer look at one family’s unique story preserved through their collection of clothing spanning generations inside the new temporary exhibition American Style and Spirit: 130 Years of Fashions and Lives of an Entrepreneurial family. These lovely garments provide not only a glimpse into the lives of the Roddis family, a successful upper-middle-class family from Marshfield, Wisconsin, but also reveal intriguing stories of American life as well. Guests to the exhibit are invited to consider their own personal connections to clothing and ponder their own self-expression through what they wear.

Inside the exhibit, guests will discover the elegant evening dresses, suits, hats, shoes, children’s clothing, letters and more found carefully packed away in the Roddis family attic. The over 50 visually striking period garments on display range from everyday wear to special occasion clothing dated from mid-19th century to the late 20th century. Guests will learn more about the family itself, through photos, letters and other documents from the Roddis family archive detailing the family’s lumber business, travels abroad, weddings, cultural influences and more.  

American Style & Spirit also gives guests a chance to share what influences the clothing they wear and why they save the items they save inside the self-reflection zone where their thoughts will be shared with other exhibit-goers. Guests can also “try on” items from the Roddis family collection thanks to the help of the exhibit’s “magic” mirrors. Young fashion designers inspired by the Roddis family have the chance to create their own clothing designs inside the exhibit.

Guests interested in seeing the exhibition first can purchase tickets to the American Style & Spirit Exhibit Preview Reception taking place November 4 from 7 pm – 10 pm. Tickets are $75 and include wine bar and passed hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are limited. To purchase tickets or for more information visit:

Guests looking to learn more about the Roddis family and the clothing inside the exhibit, can do so with the purchase of American Style and Spirit: Fashions and Lives of the Roddis Family, 1850-1995 available for purchase inside Henry Ford Museum gift store. The book, by authors Jane Bradbury, niece of Augusta Denton Roddis and Edward Maeder, renowned dress historian, details the research behind the garments and the discovery of the collection. Admission to American Style & Spirit is free for members. Non-member ticket prices include admission to the museum and are $21 for adults (12-61), $15.75 for youth (3-11), $19 for seniors (62+) and children 2 and under are free. To purchase tickets, visit 

About The Henry Ford
The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan is an internationally-recognized cultural destination that brings the past forward by immersing visitors in the stories of ingenuity, resourcefulness and innovation that helped shape America. A national historic landmark with an unparalleled collection of artifacts from 300 years of American history, The Henry Ford is a force for sparking curiosity and inspiring tomorrow’s innovators. More than 1.7 million visitors annually experience its five attractions: Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, The Ford Rouge Factory Tour, The Benson Ford Research Center and The Henry Ford Giant Screen Experience. A continually expanding array of content available online provides anytime, anywhere access. The Henry Ford is also home to Henry Ford Academy, a public charter high school which educates over 500 students a year on the institution’s campus. In 2014, The Henry Ford premiered its first-ever national television series, The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation, showcasing present-day change-makers and The Henry Ford’s artifacts and unique visitor experiences. Hosted by news correspondent and humorist, Mo Rocca, this Emmy®-winning weekly half-hour show airs Saturday mornings on CBS. For more information please visit our website