Boosted by an adequate amount of sleep in our motel beds, we began our journey from Canton to Dearborn with a cup of Bigby’s Tea in hand and excitement for visiting the museum we’d heard such amazing things about; The Henry Ford Museum.
If you haven’t heard of it, let me correct this right now. It’s 100 percent in my top 10 museums now; with hundreds of thousands of objects, ranging from Wright Brothers’ planes, the bus that Rosa Parks protested on, and the rocking chair that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in, as well as, a bunch of awesome things that you may have never even thought about, such as a Dymaxion House.
It’s in a slightly random place, as its where the first Ford factory was built and still thrives today. We only visited the museum, but you can also get a factory tour and go to ‘Greenfield Village’ if you wish (if you have the time, I definitely would – they all have great reviews).
Visiting the museum costs $21 which is actually fantastic considering how much you get for that, but its $50 including the factory tour and village, which starts to seem a little pricey, though you could definitely spend an entire day there with ease. We only had a morning, but actually you could probably spend a whole day in just the museum too.
The museum is split up into sections; cars/transport (including Model T’s and Presidential Vehicles), Flight, Made in America, American Freedom, the Dymaxion House, Your Place in Time etc. That might not sound that exciting, but it legit is.
There is SO MUCH to look at. I mean, in some ways there’s too much. Your eyes and feet don’t know where to go to first.
Originally, the collection was started by Henry Ford intended for private use and education, starting at around 1906, but by 1933 it grew so large that it was opened to the public as a museum. We went during the week in mid April, and almost had the run of the place, aside from some school visits and a group of Amish people, but apparently in the summer months a lot more shuffling is involved to get around.
If I could possibly give you a rundown of every single item, I would. But, I don’t have the years that would take for me to type it out so sorry not sorry, I’ll just give you my tips for visiting, so you can figure it out for yourself:
- The website is amazing, and has a tool to help you to find what interests you (https://www.thehenryford.org/visit/henry-ford-museum/)
- The staff are super helpful, but don’t look to interested because they will tell you the life story of every artefact within their gaze
- DO NOT SKIP:
- The car section: I mean, each to their own, but the car section is massive and doesn’t just consist of Ford’s. It has racing cars, family cars, sports cars, the car that JFK was assassinated in… It’s super cool to look at, and crazy how much things have changed.
- The dymaxion house: no, I had no idea what one was either. You wouldn’t quite believe it, but it was designed in the 1920s and intended as the house of the future; it could be posted in a metal tube and the Ford Museum hosts the only working prototype in the world. You can walk around it, revolve the clothes in the wardrobe, and genuinely imagine yourself living there. I believe it never came to fruition because of money problems during production, but it came close to being a real life thing, that we could all be living in now.
- American freedom: American history just, right there. If you live in Dearborn and don’t get an A in history, you’re doing something wrong.
- Your Place in Time: ok, not quite the same as the others in the way of history, but still really fun. There’s a green screen so you can pretend to be in a music video, and all the things that will make you go “omg I had one of those”. We realised that Dan and Hamilton had the same colour Gameboy during our visit, and I felt left out. It’s more pop culture than the other exhibits, but it’s very immersive.
I really hope I’ve sold you on this museum, and if you’re ever in the area you’ll get yourself straight there. The objects are priceless (well you pay for the privilege, but still) and no matter who you are/what you’re interested in, there will be something for you. Oh, and the building is pretty.
So yeh, a walk through time all in a morning. Not bad work really. Our next stop that day? Oh just that wonder of the world, Niagara Falls. No big deal.