Seeing The Henry Ford

After I left Illinois last week I drove to Michigan, bound for Dearborn. My destination was The Henry Ford. It seems to go by either The Henry Ford or Henry Ford Museum. The museum houses a fascinating collection of historical artifacts and memorabilia. As soon as I walked through the Prechter Promenade into the main museum area I noticed a large aircraft suspended from the ceiling.

A DC-3 suspended from the ceiling.

The museum has many famous pieces of American history, including the car in which President Kennedy was riding in 1963 when he was shot.

The car in which President Kennedy was shot.

Not all the cars in the museum have a dark history. As to be expected in a museum named after an auto tycoon, there are many cars. And not just Fords. I loved this 1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale convertible.

A 1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale convertible.

It has a great grill. Check out those horns!

I wish more modern cars had horns like this.

I had heard of the Edsel Citation, but never seen one in person. It looks like it is screaming or shocked.

A 1958 Edsel Citation.

One of the charming aspects of the museum is the scope of the collection. You never know what might turn up next. Like a Holiday Inn room from the 1960s. I think you could lose small children in the shag carpet.

A Holiday Inn room, circa 1965.

In 1823 Congress authorized 300 exact copies of the Declaration of Independence. About 30 of them still remain. One of them is in The Henry Ford. A couple of weeks ago I was in Boston and saw John Hancock’s grave–it was interesting to see the signature that brought him so much fame (even if this one was just a copy).

A very cool signature.

Have you ever been camping, pitched your tent on rocky ground, and had a miserable night of sleep? If you said yes, then you need a bed in a trunk. They’re portable, comfortable, and affordable. Don’t take it from me, President George Washington endorses a bed in a trunk. If it was good enough for the guy on the $1 bill, it’s probably good enough for you. (However, I would avoid that logic for dental care.)

President Washington’s bed in a trunk.

In the midst of tractors and combines there sits a small microscope. A very cool microscope. It was used by George Washington Carver!

George Washington Carver’s microscope.

The rocking chair in which President Lincoln was sitting when he was shot by John Wilkes Booth is in the museum.

The rocking chair in which President Lincoln was shot.

When I saw the bus in which Rosa Parks held her seat I was saddened. I would like to believe segregation in the United States happened a very long time ago. Yet as I looked at the bus I was struck by how modern it appears. It made me realize that all the photos I have seen from the time surrounding the incident were in black and white–which makes them feel very old. Seeing the bus in real life made it seem more recent.

The bus in which Rosa Parks sat.

I bought a ticket to see the special Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the ill-fated ship. Unfortunately photography was prohibited in the exhibit (they were serious about preventing it too–notifying us that video surveillance was being conducted to ensure no photos were taken). Visitors are allowed to touch some of the large metal fixtures, that was cool. The exhibit features a recreation of the main staircase, where personal photos could be purchased. I walked on by. The luggage was very interesting to me. I particularly admired a sharp three-piece suit that was still in very good condition. The exhibit also features an iceberg–that was a surprise. Each visitor to the special exhibit gets a boarding pass with the name and brief biography of a real passenger from the Titanic. It was interesting to see how people responded to this, particularly at the end when the fate of the person was revealed. Some people were very sober and reflective, others laughed and joked. My person died.

I did not have time to see Greenfield Village or take the Factory Tour, both of which require additional admission charges. The clock was ticking, and I was bound for a ballpark.


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