What to do in Detroit: my tips, the report of the experience and any info about how to visit The Henry Ford Museum
The Henry Ford Museum is not only a museum; it is in all respects a collection of emotions.
A long and surprising journey into the history of the United States of America through a series of variegated shades of the expression – sometimes pragmatic, other times visionary or even almost impossible to realize – of the human genius, among successes and failures, following one only leit motif, source of primary inspiration for Henry Ford – innovation!
A museum that apparently could be tied exclusively to the history of the Ford Motor Company and the automobile production of the Mid-West, but that actually tells – extremely precisely and with particular details – the United States of America through a series of different keys of reading, experiences and points of view.
“One mile of innovation, 300 years of history, 26 million of artefacts.
At The Henry Ford, you’ll discover America—its culture, inventions, people and can-do spirit
and hundreds of hands-on ways to explore it, enjoy it and be inspired by it”
(The Henry Ford Museum – Welcome incipit)
The Henry Ford Museum is located in Dearborn, a suburbs 20km far from downtown Detroit. Find here a detailed itinerary about what to see in Detroit.
The museum facility raises little far from the actual production of the Ford Motor Company.
All Access Experience admission ticket (I heartily recommend to opt for this one) – find here further info about it – includes admission to the three main expositions: the museum, the Greenfield Village and the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. Reckon an abundant half day if you want to visit all alone.
The Henry Ford Museum is opened 7 days a week 9.30am – 5pm.
The central block of the exhibition path – and that one I recommend to start the tour from – is the proper Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, a world where all the creations of the great men of the past keep feeding the imagination and the innovation for the future generations.
A direct experience – through well distinct sections… Made in America, Sky Heroes, Driving America, Presidential Vehicles, Railroads, Agriculture, Furniture, et cetera –about the inventions and the objects tied to the greatest American minds (and not only), among them inventors, scientists, explorers, entrepreneurs, political and historic characters.
An endless series of original – and often perfectly working – vintage cars – among them the first Model T built by Henry Ford – airplanes, trains, Stradivari, and a series of objects and constructions (strictly originals) tied to some of the important moments of the United States history, and probably of the world.
The presidential Lincoln where President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated, the Montgomery’s bus in Alabama where Rosa Parks gave life to the Civil Rights movement.
The chair where Abraham Lincoln was murdered, George Washington’s camp cot, Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion House prototype – a high power efficiency round house realized at the end of the Second World War.
Then the first planes reaching the South Pole and the North Pole respectively, the American “railroad” deeds, and a series of relics tied to the industrial revolution, the economic boom and the recession.
Going out from the main museum on the left there’s the access to the Greenfield Village.
A boundless historic district where during his life Henry Ford gathered original buildings, often belonged to famous men (literally disassembled, transported and reassembled) from all over the globe.
It come across my mind Thomas Edison’s lab, Wright Brothers’ home and the warehouse where they planned their first prototype plane, Robert Frost’s dwelling, George Washington’s childhood home, an entire English village dating back to the nineteenth century, a part of a railroad and a series of authentic farms, stores and enterprises dating back to the 1700s and the 1800s.
You can choose to visit the Greenfield Village aboard and authentic Model T (in this case you have to get an additional ticket at the entrance), to walk the whole area and/or to stop for lunch at the Eagle Tavern – an authentic tavern of a post station dating back to the eighteenth century – where to taste vintage dishes and drinks.
Going out form the main museum on the left, you’ll find the stop of the shuttle that will take you discovering the Ford Rouge Factory Tour in the heart of the Ford Motor Company.
Once arrived, through a guided tour – many production areas have to stay necessarily off-limits, and besides is not allowed to take photographs insides – you’ll have the chance to watch an unpublished short film about the history of Ford and its founder.
After that, at the Innovation Theater you will be able to take part into a 4D sensorial experience about the Truck Ford F-150 production.
And then get access – through a highway promenade – to the “mythical” Ford Motors Assembly Line, the current Ford assembly line, the heart and the soul of Henry Ford’s “dream”.