High voltage; Museum complex receives ‘shocking’ donation

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The Henry Ford on Thursday received a $1 million donation from ITC Holdings Corp. to upgrade the institution’s aging electrical infrastructure.

The Henry Ford President Patricia Mooradian and Joseph Welch, chairman, president and chief executive officer of ITC Holdings Corp, announced the donation at a press conference in Dearborn Thursday.

“We are so grateful that ITC has made this extraordinary gift to The Henry Ford,” Mooradian said. “ITC is deeply committed to supporting the community they serve and we are honored to receive their support on this important project.

“Updating The Henry Ford’s electrical infrastructure, to support all of our venues, including Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, is absolutely vital to maintaining The Henry Ford’s mission of providing unique educational experiences to our visitors each year.”

The Henry Ford’s current electrical infrastructure is antiquated by today’s standards and has seen few upgrades since it was installed during the museum’s initial construction in the late 1920s.

The underpowered system has limited the organization’s ability to transform areas of the museum floor or excel in public programming.

Planned new exhibitions and visitor amenities all require dramatically improved lighting, sound and technological interfaces, none of which are possible without a massive electrical system upgrade, according to a press release concerning the donation.

A comprehensive analysis of The Henry Ford’s existing electrical infrastructure already has been completed, and a “needs assessment” recommended a new 13,000 volt high-voltage distribution system.

This new system will address the anticipated electrical requirements for planned and future exhibitions, programming and visitor amenity installations throughout The Henry Ford campus for years to come, officials say. Perhaps most importantly, though, the electrical upgrades will provide better protection for the museum’s visitors and priceless collections.

“This gift reflects ITC’s commitment to good corporate citizenship and will help The Henry Ford continue to educate and entertain visitors from Michigan and throughout the nation,” Welch said. “At ITC, we take seriously our responsibility as a critical link to electric reliability, sustainability, community and energy independence.”

ITC Holdings is the nation’s largest independent electricity transmission company and has its Michigan headquarters in Novi.