Livingston County man set to lead historic Ford House

Mark Heppner of Hartland is the new president and CEO of Edsel & Eleanor Ford House.

Hartland resident Mark Heppner is the new president and CEO of the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores. The historic lakeside estate was the family home of Edsel Ford — Henry and Clara Ford’s only son — where he lived with his wife, Eleanor, and their children beginning in 1929.

Since 1978, Ford House has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors to share in Eleanor Ford’s vision of preserving the estate for future generations to enjoy through interpretive tours, family activities, lectures, exhibits and gardens and grounds events. Ford House was named a National Historic Landmark in 2017, a prestigious honor from the National Register of Historic Places.

Ford House is in the midst of a major expansion with the construction of two new buildings set to open in May 2020: a 40,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art visitor center, and a 17,000-square-foot administration building. The project is the first new construction in 25 years and the largest since the estate was built in 1929.

Heppner will provide leadership and direction to Ford House as the organization looks to the launch of the new buildings and beyond, while continuing to oversee daily operations.

With nearly 30 years of experience in museums and historic sites, Heppner previously held the position of vice president of museum services division at American Alliance of Museums (AAM)-accredited Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Akron, Ohio, before he became the executive director of the Des Moines, Iowa, Salisbury House & Gardens.

A native of Ohio, he earned a bachelor’s degree in history at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and a master’s degree in American history from Cleveland State University. Heppner is also a graduate from the Seminar for Historic Administration, and further built his museum expertise in the AAM-sponsored International Partnerships Among Museums exchange program, spending a month in Thailand. Heppner is a graduate of the Leadership Akron program, as well as the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, and has served the community in several leadership roles, including his current tenure on the boards of the Michigan Museums Association and MotorCities National Heritage Area. He is also an active member of Rotary.

As a dedicated steward of local and state history, Heppner can be found assisting other museums and historical societies with various projects and challenges in administration, collections management, education, marketing and many other capacities.

Heppner resides on a small farm in Hartland with his wife and three children.

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