Ford Rotunda Lantern Slides Series

Biographical / Historical Note

The Ford Rotunda, designed by Albert Kahn, was originally built in 1934 to house Ford Motor Company product exhibits and activities at the 1933-1934 Chicago World's Fair. After the fair closed, Ford management elected to move the building to Dearborn,...

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The Ford Rotunda, designed by Albert Kahn, was originally built in 1934 to house Ford Motor Company product exhibits and activities at the 1933-1934 Chicago World's Fair. After the fair closed, Ford management elected to move the building to Dearborn, Michigan. It opened to the public in 1936 as a permanent exhibit area and a hospitality center for Ford Motor Company Rouge River Plant factory tours. From 1942 to 1952 it was used as office space by successive armed services teams and by Ford executive groups. In 1953 the Rotunda was refurbished as part of Ford's fiftieth anniversary celebration. Renovation included the development of a geodesic dome for the circular inner court designed by R. Buckminster Fuller. In the next nine years the Rotunda drew two million visitors a year. A fire destroyed the building in 1962.

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Scope and Content Note

The Ford Rotunda Lantern Slides series contains glass lantern slides documenting Ford Motor Company's activities, events, and exhibits at the Ford Rotunda. The series includes images of scale models of the Rotunda and its reopening in 1953, Ford Motor...

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The Ford Rotunda Lantern Slides series contains glass lantern slides documenting Ford Motor Company's activities, events, and exhibits at the Ford Rotunda. The series includes images of scale models of the Rotunda and its reopening in 1953, Ford Motor Company Rouge River Plant factory tours, Christmas displays, suppliers shows, design and engineering shows, art exhibitions, flower and garden shows, introductions of new automobiles, and visits from celebrities and dignitaries. There are also images of the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle, Washington; slides of a 1956 Ford Motor Company stockholder's meeting; and a visit from Queen Juliana of the Netherlands in 1952.

The slides in the boxes are labeled based on a numbering scheme created when they were a part of the Ford Motor Company archives. As several slides were not included in the 1974 donation to The Henry Ford, some of the numbering is non-consecutive.

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Collection Details

Object ID: 74.300.1182.0
Creator: Ford Motor Company. Photographic Department 
Inclusive Dates: 1948-1962
Size: 3.24 cubic ft. (18 card file boxes)
Language: English

Collection Access & Use

Item Location: Benson Ford Research Center

Access Restrictions: The slides are open for research.

Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Ford Motor Company

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Digitized Artifacts From This Collection

In many cases, not all artifacts have been digitized.
Contact us for more information about this collection.

Bakery Shop Exhibit for Christmas at Ford Rotunda, 1957

  Details

Bakery Shop Exhibit for Christmas at Ford Rotunda, 1957

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Lantern slide

Summary

After the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition ended in 1934, Ford Motor Company brought back its central Rotunda building from that fair to Dearborn, to serve as a visitor center and starting point for Rouge Plant tours. However, its biggest draw between 1953 and 1961 was the annual "Christmas Fantasy," shown here. Unfortunately, the Rotunda burned down in November 1962.

Object ID

74.300.1182.3.40

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Ford Motor Company

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Bakery Shop Exhibit for Christmas at Ford Rotunda, 1957

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Circus Big Top Exhibit for Christmas at Ford Rotunda, 1958

  Details

Circus Big Top Exhibit for Christmas at Ford Rotunda, 1958

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Lantern slide

Summary

After the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition ended in 1934, Ford Motor Company brought back its central Rotunda building from that fair to Dearborn, to serve as a visitor center and starting point for Rouge Plant tours. However, its biggest draw between 1953 and 1961 was the annual "Christmas Fantasy," shown here. Unfortunately, the Rotunda burned down in November 1962.

Object ID

74.300.1182.3.75

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Ford Motor Company

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Circus Big Top Exhibit for Christmas at Ford Rotunda, 1958

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Courtyard of the Ford Rotunda Building in Dearborn, Michigan, 1937

  Details

Courtyard of the Ford Rotunda Building in Dearborn, Michigan, 1937

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Lantern slide

Summary

Ford Motor Company brought its central Rotunda building from the 1934 Century of Progress Exposition back to Dearborn and, from 1936 until a devastating fire destroyed the building in 1962, recreated the excitement of a World's Fair exposition on its home turf. This photo shows the central courtyard inside the building soon after it opened in 1937.

Object ID

74.300.1182.1.45

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Ford Motor Company

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Courtyard of the Ford Rotunda Building in Dearborn, Michigan, 1937

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Crowd Inside the Ford Rotunda Building, Dearborn, Michigan, circa 1957

  Details

Crowd Inside the Ford Rotunda Building, Dearborn, Michigan, circa 1957

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Lantern slide

Summary

After the Century of Progress Exposition ended in 1934, Ford Motor Company brought its central Rotunda building from that fair back to Dearborn, Michigan. From 1936 to 1962, Ford recreated the excitement of a World's Fair exposition on its home turf. People flocked to the Dearborn Rotunda when new car models were displayed or during the annual Christmas Fantasy.

Object ID

74.300.1182.1.52

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Ford Motor Company

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Crowd Inside the Ford Rotunda Building, Dearborn, Michigan, circa 1957

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Ford Falcon Automobile and Christmas Tree Inside the Ford Rotunda Building, Dearborn, Michigan, 1959

  Details

Ford Falcon Automobile and Christmas Tree Inside the Ford Rotunda Building, Dearborn, Michigan, 1959

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Lantern slide

Summary

After the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition ended in 1934, Ford Motor Company brought back its central Rotunda building from that fair to Dearborn, to serve as a visitor center and starting point for Rouge Plant tours. However, its biggest draw between 1953 and 1961 was the annual "Christmas Fantasy," shown here. Unfortunately, the Rotunda burned down in November 1962.

Object ID

74.300.1182.3.81

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Ford Motor Company

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Ford Falcon Automobile and Christmas Tree Inside the Ford Rotunda Building, Dearborn, Michigan, 1959

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Ford Gyron Automobile Displayed at the Ford Rotunda Building, Dearborn, Michigan, 1961

  Details

Ford Gyron Automobile Displayed at the Ford Rotunda Building, Dearborn, Michigan, 1961

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Lantern slide

Summary

Ford Motor Company brought its central Rotunda building from the 1934 Century of Progress Exposition back to Dearborn and, from 1936 to 1962, recreated the excitement of a World's Fair exposition on its home turf. People flocked to the Dearborn Rotunda when new car models were displayed, like the Ford Gyron, a futuristic two-wheeled gyrocar introduced in 1961.

Object ID

74.300.1182.5.95

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Ford Motor Company

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Ford Gyron Automobile Displayed at the Ford Rotunda Building, Dearborn, Michigan, 1961

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Ford Rotunda Building in Dearborn, Michigan, Used as an Office Building, 1942-1952

  Details

Ford Rotunda Building in Dearborn, Michigan, Used as an Office Building, 1942-1952

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Lantern slide

Object ID

74.300.1182.1.46

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Ford Motor Company

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Ford Rotunda Building in Dearborn, Michigan, Used as an Office Building, 1942-1952

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Ford Rotunda at Christmas, "Cathedral" Entrance, 1959

  Details

Ford Rotunda at Christmas, "Cathedral" Entrance, 1959

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Lantern slide

Summary

After the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition ended in 1934, Ford Motor Company brought back its central Rotunda building from that fair to Dearborn, to serve as a visitor center and starting point for Rouge Plant tours. However, its biggest draw between 1953 and 1961 was the annual "Christmas Fantasy," shown here. Unfortunately, the Rotunda burned down in November 1962.

Object ID

74.300.1182.3.79

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Ford Motor Company

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Ford Rotunda at Christmas, "Cathedral" Entrance, 1959

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Ford Thunderbird Display Inside the Ford Rotunda Building, Dearborn, Michigan, 1961

  Details

Ford Thunderbird Display Inside the Ford Rotunda Building, Dearborn, Michigan, 1961

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Lantern slide

Summary

After the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition ended in 1934, Ford Motor Company brought back its central Rotunda building from that fair to Dearborn, to serve as a visitor center and starting point for Rouge Plant tours. However, its biggest draw between 1953 and 1961 was the annual "Christmas Fantasy," shown here. Unfortunately, the Rotunda burned down in November 1962.

Object ID

74.300.1182.3A.9

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Ford Motor Company

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Ford Thunderbird Display Inside the Ford Rotunda Building, Dearborn, Michigan, 1961

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details