Presidential Museum Unveils Smaller Version of Ford Statue

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 by The Associated Press, January 13, 2017

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in western Michigan is displaying its own version of a statue that will be aboard the aircraft carrier USS Gerald Ford when it deploys.

The 7-foot tall statue of Ford was unveiled last year and the smaller, 2-foot version, known as a maquette, has been added to the Grand Rapids museum's recently redone World War II exhibit.

The small bronze work was created by Grand Rapids native and sculptor Brett Grill, the Grand Rapids Press reported.

"We wanted it to be an inspiring image obviously his eyes are tilting upwards, he is sort of looking forward into his future. So we hope there is some sort of inspiration in it," Grill said.

The statue illustrates Ford posing in the ship's scupper rail with a modern navigation device, known as a sextant, in hand.

"Ford was fairly influential in his role as a navigation officer," curator Jamie Draper said. "He was an athletic officer and the ships historian.

Draper noted that the piece reflects the life Ford lived, "which was about purpose, driven activity and service."

Ford died in 2006, and former first lady Betty Ford died in 2011. They lived in Rancho Mirage, California, for decades.

Gerald Ford was a congressman from Grand Rapids before becoming vice president and then president following Richard Nixon's 1974 resignation.

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