GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum, through the generous support of the Bob & Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation, opened "Bob Hope: An American Treasure" at a ceremony on Feb. 8 at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich.
It is the second stop for the 2,500-square foot exhibition, which highlights the unique relationship Hope, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, had with many U.S. presidents, including Ford. It will be on display at the Ford Museum through June 10, 2012.
"President Ford and Mr. Hope had a remarkable friendship. It is fitting that we host 'Bob Hope: An American Treasure' this spring," said Elaine Didier, Director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum. "From our collection we added President Ford's personal golf cart from Palm Springs. It is quite possible that President Ford and Hope used it on one of their many golf outings."
In addition to that golf cart, "Bob Hope: An American Treasure" will feature more than 160 artifacts, including Hope's Congressional Gold Medal, honorary Oscar statuette, Honorary Veterans citation, and PGA of America money clip. More than 200 vintage photos and seven video displays will tell the story about Hope's early years as part of an immigrant family in the early 20th century, his rise as a star of stage, screen and radio, the relationships he had with U.S. presidents, his devotion to the U.S. military and his love of golf.
"The President and Betty Ford were great friends and Dad and my mother enjoyed wonderful times together," said Linda Hope, daughter of the entertainer. "The fact that both dad and President Ford shared a love for golf was the stuff of many jokes. Dad used to say, 'Behind every great man is a woman. For Betty Ford that's a double blessing -- the way Jerry plays golf, that's the safest place to be.' He also liked to joke that there were 42 golf courses in the Palm Springs area and nobody knew which one Ford was playing until he hit his tee shot. Dad would be honored to be back in Grand Rapids."
The traveling exhibition began its five-year tour in the fall of 2011 at the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, located inside historic Lambeau Field. The tour is scheduled to continue through 2015.
"We are honored to show this exhibition at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum," said Jack Peter, World Golf Hall of Fame Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. "For many, it will rekindle fond memories of President Ford and Bob Hope together on the golf course. We are thankful to the Bob & Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation for its support in bringing this story to another new audience."
For more information, including photos, about the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum and "Bob Hope: An American Treasure," visit www.WorldGolfHallofFame.org/hof/Hopeontheroad.php. For information on visiting this exhibit at the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, visit www.packershalloffame.com
About the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum
The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum honors the history of golf by recognizing and preserving the legacies of the game's greatest players and contributors. The Hall of Fame and Museum, located at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., serves as a steward of the game through engaging, interactive storytelling and exhibitions featuring artifacts, works of art, audio, video and photography significant to the history of golf and its members.
The Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 nonprofit institution and is allied with 26 national and international golf organizations, including The European Tour, LPGA, the Masters Tournament, PGA of America, PGA TOUR, The R&A and USGA. To learn more about the Hall of Fame or to lend support, visit www.WorldGolfHallofFame.org.
As the Founding Partner of the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum and World Golf Village, Shell Oil Company played a lead role in supporting the development and growth of the institution, which opened in 1998. Since then, their continued involvement has led the way for others to join in support of the Hall of Fame & Museum's mission.