The Henry Ford

Entry to the Henry Ford museum

We visited the Henry Ford on our first day in Michigan. This place is massive. It took us about three hours just to see everything in the museum section and we did not even try to read very many of the explanations. It was similar to visiting the Smithsonian. We never knew what was around the corner. We started on the left because most people went to the right side of the museum. The first exhibition was on the progression of machines in manufacturing.

Deconstructed car

We walked through displays on mathematics, glassware, furniture, farm equipment, and even dollhouses. The special exhibit was on Jim Henson and it was mobbed with people. I did a quick walk through and made sure to take a picture of every muppet that I enjoyed (which was pretty much all of them on display).

Bert and Ernie
My favorite book (the Monster) and I had that doll too
Beeker and Dr Bunsen
The Count

There is an impressive display of massive steam engines at the back of the museum. They are so giant that it is hard to believe they were constructed without the use of computers. I enjoyed the exhibitions on different decades and objects that were important to those decades. We watched a couple of silent movies, which made me laugh. The 80s exhibition brought me back to my childhood with toys that I forgot were popular. The coolest thing we saw was the bus that Rosa Parks was on when she refused to give up her seat. You could sit in the same seat if you wanted. The guide explained that the first few rows were only for whites and the back few rows were only for blacks. The middle rows could be for either, but blacks could not sit next to, in the same row, or basically near a white. Rosa sat in one of those middle seats and when the white seats were full a white person wanted to sit where Rosa was seated. The bus driver asked her to move (I thought that was interesting that it was not the passenger that asked). We know the rest.

She is pointing out the seat Rosa occupied

There were A LOT of cars at the museum (as one would expect from Henry Ford), but there were also campers, trailers, and trains. They had everything from race cars to antique cars, to cars from the 80s. The coolest car was the 1931 Bugatti type 41 Royale convertible. There are only six of these cars in the whole world.

The car is cool, but I love the sign
The car JFK was riding in when he was shot.

By the time we were looking at the cars, we were tired and hungry. They do have several restaurants in the museum, but there was only one open. We were not impressed with the choices to eat. I got mac and cheese and Jef got a hot dog. After lunch we headed to Greenfield Village, which was a village created by Ford. He bought houses and had them reconstructed in this village. You can walk around inside the buildings (some, but not all) and sometimes there is a person inside who will explain the significance or sometimes there is a recording telling about it. There were some buildings that you could not enter and had an explanation on a plaque outside the building. You could also buy a ticket to ride in an actual steam train or be driven in a Model T. (Those Model T drivers were a little crazy, so be careful crossing the street when you visit.)

Edison steam plant
Boiler in the steam plant

Did you know that Henry Ford worked for Thomas Edison? He worked in this steam plant because he wanted to learn about how it all worked. He started low on the totem and worked his way up. Ford took what he learned into manufacturing cars. The encouragement of Edison helped him continue his work. There are quite a few Edison buildings in Greenfield Village. Ford took all the buildings from Menlo Park, NJ and his laboratory in Fort Myers, FL as well. They were good friends and spent a lot of time together in Fort Myers at their joint estate.

Edison Lab from Menlo Park
Edison lab from Fort Myers

the Henry Ford can also include a tour of the Ford factory. We decided not to purchase a ticket to it because there were no cars being manufactured at the time we were there. We did not see all of the village because we were too tired to walk the whole thing. We missed the farms and porches sections. You could probably use a couple of days to see everything. We had no idea how involved and huge each section would be. We thoroughly enjoyed all the things we experienced and highly recommend a visit there if you are in the Detroit area.

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