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Monday, May 31, 2010

What a man leaves behind...

How do each and every one of us leave our mark on this world? 

 Yesterday, I wrote about the farming blood in my veins. The people of my family also write, paint, draw and build. We create and grow things to make our mark and what we each leave behind will be a measure of who we are and how we lived and thought.

 Henry and Clara Ford. 
 Dearborn, Michigan.

 Each of you will say: "Oh Yeah! Henry is the Ford of the Ford Motor Company! 

 ...And you will be right. 

 But.... Did you know they also built an enormous museum and pioneer village?

 We went there this last Saturday and it was my fifth trip in my lifetime. Each and every time since the first, I have chomped on the bit until I walk through those doors yet again and every time I leave, I just want to go back as quickly as possible!

 What a legacy!
 Admission is a mere $15.00 per person. (No, we're not seniors yet!)

Henry Ford began collecting historic objects as far back as 1906.  Trains, automobiles, aircraft, farm implements, personal and household artifacts,  guns and rifles, any and all types of glass, china and metalwork, Clocks and just about anything else man has built!
The 12 acre site is a true testament to man's ingenuity and perseverance and you just cannot imagine the things on display inside!

If you can't read the inscription, Edsel on the left, Clara and Henry! (Click on each photo and they'll pop open bigger too!)

(Wouldn't you have loved to have Clara for a mom? Look how sweet her smile is!) 

Henry Ford once said:

“ I am collecting the history of our people as written into things their hands made and used.... When we are through, we shall have reproduced American life as lived and that, I think, is the best way of preserving at least a part of our history and tradition..."

Originally, the museum was named the Edison Institute, dedicated to his good friend and inventor of the light bulb: Thomas Edison, but now is known as the Henry Ford or the Ford Museum. 

 Grand hallways lead you into the buildings of the museum proper. You can only stand with your mouth open in awe at the work the craftsmen performed to create opulent splendor and yet it is there for all fingers and eyes!

 You walk through the arch and into the museum's expanse and looking straight ahead, you are immediately floored by the huge airplane suspended from the ceiling! (The Heroes of the Air Exhibit.)
And that's not the biggest airplane they have in there either!

To the right is the automotive section and there! There's the lineup of Presidential Limousines! (To come is a separate post!) Campers and camping equipment. (Did you know Henry and Clara were avid back to nature folks?)

Swing your head to the left towards the farm implements and household section and .. Oh! There! The history of the Automobile and The Human Rights Exhibit! (The museum switches up several exhibits yearly so there's always something new to see.) The original engines and pumps and factory machines!

 Marble, granite, sandstone and brass were used everywhere. (Walmart can't keep their brand new bathrooms clean, but here in the almost hundred year old museum, the sparkling white floors shine!) 

Televisions are everywhere running vintage programs, commercials and documentaries. Each exhibit has a plaque with a full and interesting story about what you are seeing. Several areas have interactive displays for children and you can climb into the cab of a locomotive train's engine! 

Benches abound for resting tired feet and the food in the restaurant and snack bars is tasty and reasonably priced. You can just imagine Henry announcing that things were to be touched and in full reach of the general working public. No gouging here!

To enter the adjoining Greenwich Village, go in at the gate and pass by the  Josephine Ford Memorial Fountain and Benson Ford Research Center.  This village was constructed to show how Americans spent their days both at work and at home. Almost one hundred buildings were moved to the site. Some as old as from the 17th century and some quite recent. You will be delightfully surprised by the costumed workers performing period tasks of home making and their work. Pottery, glass blowing, ice cream making and a tin smithy are all there to see. You can also purchase the goods as souvenirs.  You can buy a ride pass and tour the grounds in a vintage Ford car or by horse and buggy. Only 90 of the over 240 acres is currently occupied by the village. The rest is forest,  river and pasture for the resident sheep and horses of the village.

There are special themed weekends at both the museum and Village, but this weekend past, being Memorial Day, they were re-enacting the Civil War complete with battles! 

These are just a few of the pictures I took during our visit. You can expect many more over the next few weeks and there's some I want to write stories about separately.
  If you ever get a chance to visit this place GO! I cannot explain how wonderful it really is, but I want to personally thank each and every single person who every had a finger in this marvelous place.

You must be so proud to be a part of this legacy!

All of these photos were again shot and loaded directly from my Nikon P90 and then posted without alteration of any kind.


ethelmaepotter! said...

I never knew most of this stuff about the great Henry Ford, but I did read an article in...Southern Living?..Renovation Style?..National Geographic?..some time ago about the village he started. He was definitely an innovator, far ahead of his time. And, from what I read, quite the gentleman and humanitarian.

The museum looks incredible. I adore classic architecture and have such appreciation for fine craftsmanship, especially when I think about the tools and technology that those carpenters DIDN'T have. I will definitely visit someday!

Anonymous said...

WOW...A lot to be learned!!

Stop by my blog for My Summer GiveAway ! !

Eva Gallant said...

I wish I had known about this place when we made our cross-country trek last fall. It definitly looks worth the stop. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos, Lucy! So many things I never knew about the Fords!