hen 1The Henry Ford

Where on earth can you see Lady Gaga's meat dress, the bus on which Rosa Parks took a stand for civil rights and a Model T Ford under the same roof?

More than 80 years ago, The Henry Ford was formally dedicated by its founder, Henry Ford, and his friend and mentor, Thomas Edison.

The institution opened in 1929 as a school and was driven by Ford’s belief that the genius of the American people was not being taught in textbooks.

Today, The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, has an incomparable collection documenting the American experience. It is the place where the personal experiences of ordinary and extraordinary individuals are honoured and shared — people like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln and the Wright brothers.

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The centre’s mission is to provide unique educational experiences based on authentic objects, stories and lives from America’s traditions of ingenuity, resourcefulness and innovation with a purpose to inspire people to learn from these traditions to shape a better future – to fuel the spirit of American innovation and inspire a can-do culture.

The Henry Ford holds 26 million objects and documents, including such icons as Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory, Henry Ford’s Quadricycle, the world’s oldest steam engine and Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion House.

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The five distinct attractions at the complex inspire more than 1.5 million visitors annually. The Henry Ford Museum showcases the American ideas and innovations that have fired imaginations and changed lives. There, visitors explore the first 40 years of flight, walk past awe-inspiring vehicles, including the presidential limousine in which John F Kennedy was assassinated, and see an array of artifacts representing powerful change, such as the bus on which Rosa Parks took a stand for civil rights, the camp bed George Washington used during his tour of Revolutionary War sites and the chair in which Abraham Lincoln was sitting the night he was shot.

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The museum in hosting the impressive ‘Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power’ exhibition from May 17 to August 17. Created by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, this provocative exhibition features the firsts, the bests, the celebrated and the sometimes the lesser-known individuals whose innovation advanced the progression of rock and roll. Putting the spotlight on 70 artists and featuring more than 250 artifacts, the exhibition features original handwritten lyrics, stage outfits, concert posters and videos from artists like Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, Madonna and Lady Gaga. The exhibition weaves a powerful and engaging narrative that demonstrates how women have been engines of creation in popular music. Notable artifacts include Lady Gaga’s meat dress, Wanda Jackson’s acoustic guitar, Joan Jett’s leather jacket and Bessie Smith’s Oh Daddy Blues sheet music.

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Greenfield Village visitors experience 300 years of American history through 83 authentic historic structures and four living-history farms. It is also full of amazing authentic structures, such as the Wright brothers’ home and cycle shop from Dayton, Ohio, Henry Ford’s childhood home and Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory.

At Greenfield, visitors can see the newest additions to the barnyard family and watch as presenters in period dress hand-shear the Merino sheep just as they did in the 1880s, and lend a hand at the Daggett Farmhouse in sorting, picking, washing, carding and spinning wool.

New this season, visitors can see the renovation of the Greenfield Village Pottery Shop in the Liberty Craftworks district. Guests can see a new salt kiln and the renovated decorating area.

The Ford Rouge Factory Tour offers visitors the opportunity to tour the rich history of the Rouge, the birthplace of the Model A, the V-8, Mustang and Thunderbird, while bearing witness to the future of manufacturing through the assembly of the new F-150.

The original Rouge complex was a mile-and-a-half wide and more than a mile long. The multiplex of 93 buildings totalled 15,767,708 square feet of floor area crisscrossed by 120 miles of conveyors. The tour is a self-guided five-part experience that includes: the chance to learn about the triumphs and tragedies surrounding the Rouge at the Legacy Theater; a multi-sensory theatre experience at the Art of Manufacturing Theater; a chance to see the Rouge’s ‘living roof’ from the Observation Deck; an assembly plant walking tour of where the new Ford F-150s is built; and a final pit stop to see some historic vehicles at the Legacy Gallery.

The Henry Ford IMAX Theatre is the largest IMAX theatre in the state of Michigan, with a screen standing six stories high and eight stories wide. The IMAX film frame is 10-times larger than a conventional 35mm film frame, and three times larger than a standard 70mm film frame

The Benson Ford Research Center holds more than 26 million documents, including the world’s largest collection of automotive and truck product literature. Henry Ford’s book collecting began in 1913 with McGuffey Readers that he remembered from his childhood. Later in the 1920s he focused on other early textbooks, trade catalogs and books associated with the buildings he acquired for Greenfield Village. In addition, the museum staff maintained files that documented many of the museum’s industrial and household acquisitions. These and other holdings became the museum’s library.

 

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