Consisting of The Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, an IMAX theater, the Ford Rouge Factory Tour and the Benson Ford Research Center, The Henry Ford is known as “America’s Greatest History Attraction” and is the largest indoor-outdoor complex in America.
The Henry Ford Museum began as Henry Ford’s personal collection of historic objects, which he began collecting as far back as 1906. Today, the 12 acre site is primarily a collection of antique machinery, pop culture items, automobiles,locomotives, aircraft, and other items. A mere few include:
- A model of the nuclear-powered Ford Nucleon automobile.
- An Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.
- The 1961 Lincoln Continental, SS-100-X, that President John F. Kennedy was riding in when he was assassinated.
- The rocking chair from Ford’s Theatre in which President Abraham Lincoln was sitting when he was shot.
- George Washington’s camp bed.
- A ten-person safety bicycle made in 1896
- A collection of several fine 17th and 18th century violins including a Stradivarius.
- Thomas Edison’s alleged last breath in a sealed tube.
- Buckminster Fuller’s prototype Dymaxion house.
- The bus on which Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, leading to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
- Igor Sikorsky’s prototype helicopter.
- Fokker Trimotor airplane that flew the first flight over the North Pole.
- Bill Elliott’s record-breaking race car clocking in at over 212 MPH at Talledega in 1987.
- The Newcomen type engine from Cobb’s Engine House in England.
- and any number of special exhibits and events.
Greenfield Village is made up of nearly one hundred historical buildings which were moved to the property from their original locations and arranged in a “village” setting. The museum’s intent is to show how Americans lived and worked since the founding of the country. The Village includes buildings from the 17th century to the present, many of which are staffed by costumed interpreters who conduct period tasks like farming, sewing and cooking. A collection of craft buildings such as pottery, glass-blowing, and tin shops provide demonstrations while producing materials used in the Village and for sale. Greenfield Village has 240 acres (970,000 m²) of land of which only 90 acres are used for the attraction, the rest being forest, river and extra pasture for the sheep and horses.
- Noah Webster’s Connecticut home.
- the Wright brothers’ bicycle shop and home from Dayton, Ohio
- Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory from New Jersey
- Henry Ford’s birthplace
- Henry Ford’s prototype garage where he built the quadricycle
- Harvey Firestone family farm
- the Logan County, Illinois courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practiced law
- William Holmes McGuffey’s birthplace
- Luther Burbank’s office
The IMAX Theatre at The Henry Ford shows scientific, natural, or historical documentaries; as well as major feature films.
The Ford Rouge Factory Tour is a first-hand journey behind the scenes of a modern, working automobile factory. Boarding buses at the Henry Ford Museum, visitors are taken to the River Rouge Plant and Dearborn Truck Plant – an industrial complex where Ford has built cars since the Model A and which once employed 100,000 people.
The Benson Ford Research Center uses the resources of The Henry Ford, especially the photographic, manuscript and archival material which is rarely displayed, to allow visitors to gain a deeper understanding of American people, places, events, and things.
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Remarkable Women interview with Stephanie Freeth
The Henry Ford