On July 13, 2022 we traveled up to Dearborn, Michigan and visited the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. This is the second time we have visited the museum and this time we went back to get better footage for our YouTube video.
We spent the entire day at the museum. There are so many artifacts under one roof it is almost impossible to see everything in one day and pay attention to all of the details, but we did our best to bring you the following video.
Although Henry Ford became one of the world's wealthiest and most powerful industrialists, he never forgot the values of the rural life he had left behind growing up on a farm. His interest in collecting began in 1914, as he searched for McGuffey Readers to verify a long-remembered verse from one of his old grade school recitations. Soon, the clocks and watches he had loved tinkering with and repairing since childhood grew into a collection of their own. Before long, he was accumulating the objects of ordinary people, items connected with his heroes and from his own past, and examples of industrial progress. From a court battle, Henry Ford decided to create and open a museum dedicated to teaching the youth of American the true American history and how the country was built. The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation is located at 20900 Oakwood Boulevard, Dearborn, Michigan.
Recommendations if You Want to Visit
We have been to the museum twice now. When we went the first time, we took some extra time and booked a couple of the tours they had available. If you have the spare time, we highly recommend this, as you will learn much more about the museum, Henry Ford, and about the artifacts that are inside the museum.
This time, we did not book any extra tours and just spent about six hours walking around at our own pace, only taking a break for lunch in the cafeteria that is within the museum.
For this, you do want to make sure you have some comfortable walking shoes as the museum itself is about nine acres.
You can purchase packages which will allow you to visit the museum, the village, and the Ford factory at discounted prices. Both times that we visited, we took advantage of the passes.
Also, make sure you look at the weather before you go. If it is going to be a rainy day, this is a good time to spend in the museum. We don't recommend rainy days at the village since most of the time is spent outside going from building to building, but more about the village in our next post.
We were a bit concerned about the parking, but arriving at 9 a.m. (when the museum opens), worked out pretty well since we were able to get a parking spot right out the doors of the cafeteria. This made for an easy exit for when we were ready to leave for the day.
We filmed and took pictures of most of the items within the museum, but we will feature some of our favorites here in this post. You can see more items by watching the video or clicking on the "more photos" button below.
Henry Ford decided on October 21, 1929, as the dedication date for his new museum and village - marking the fiftieth anniversary of Thomas Edison's first successful experiment with a suitable approach to manufacturing an incandescent lamp. The night of the “Light’s Golden Jubilee” celebration, crowds cheered as President Hoover, Edison, and Ford ceremoniously arrived in a train pulled by an 1850s locomotive.
After an elegant dinner in the museum, the three men went out to the restored Menlo Park Laboratory in Greenfield Village. There, the 82-year-old Edison re-created the lighting of his incandescent lamp. The event was broadcast live over national radio.
Henry Ford named his new complex The Edison Institute of Technology, to honor his friend and lifelong hero Thomas Edison.
The following are some of the exhibits that we love going to see and will keep us going back to check on them from time to time. Again, please connect to the "More photos" for more exhibits at the museum.
President Kennedy's Assignation Car - This is the car that President Kennedy was riding in Dallas. At the time it was a convertible, but after his assignation the car was stripped down and refitted with well over a $1,000,000.00 in upgrades and was painted black instead of the blue color it once was. The car stayed in use as well until 1977 and was occasionally used by Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter until it was retired from service in early 1977. The car is at the museum since in reality it was owned by Ford Motor Company and leased to the Secret Service while it was in service. We have another blog post where you can find out more about the presidential cars at the museum.
This is the first school bus built by a Ford dealer in Fort Valley, Georgia named Albert Luce Sr. Luce built the bus on a steal framed model T frame and later went on to start the Blue Bird Bus Company.
The 1896 Ford Quadricycle. This is the vehicle that started it all. Others have were building these as well, but Henry Ford decided to us an internal gasoline combustible engine. In 1903, he started the Ford Motor company. This is the original vehicle that help start the creation of an empire.
The Lincoln Assignation Chair. This is an amazing piece of history. This is the actual chair that President Abraham Lincoln was sitting in while we was assassinated at Ford's Theater. We could almost do an entire blog post about how this chair ended up at the Henry Ford Museum. In fact, maybe we will in the near future. Once that is done, we will come back and add a link here.
George Washington's Camp Bed. We actually missed this item on our first trip, but how cool to actually see a camp bed truck that was used by the First President of the United States? And it is really in great condition as well. This item brings back memories of our visit to Mount Vernon and actually seeing the grave site of George Washington.
Rosa Parks Bus. An added bonus for our trip this year, we were actually have to go onto the bus and film some footage this time. We seemed to have timed it right that they were between tours. During our last visit and most of this visit, it seemed like every time we went to the bus there was a tour group sitting on the bus and it was hard to get photos or footage inside. Now, we have it. We also did a blog post about the bus, a while ago. You can find it here.
The Oscar Mayer Weiner Mobile. What can you say about this iconic vehicle? Oh, well here is one. While we were standing there admiring how clean the vehicle looked. Which by the way, there was no dust at all in the museum anywhere. A man, I think he was a maintenance man commented that he thought it was funny that the vehicle is actually built on a Dodge Truck frame. Yet, here it is at a Ford museum.
This Walt Disney Heroes and Villains Collection. The museum has a section (as most museums have) that houses a traveling exhibit. These are exhibits that are there for a short amount of time and during this visit they had the Walt Disney Heroes and Villain's Collection that features costumes used by actors in Disney films. This is a great collection and so interesting to see up close. Marianne had a great time and made sure she took pictures of the costumes and associated placards that you can see on our associated photos page.
We have spent two days so far at the museum (on two separate visits) and we are certain that we have not seen everything that is there. As always, we do plan on going back some day in the future to see if we can find more items.
If you have been to the museum, please let us know down in the comments section about your experience. We would love to hear about your adventure.