Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Greenfield Village

Over Labor Day weekend, B and I went to Greenfield Village with his parents. I hadn't visited since I was a kid, and while I remembered some of it, it was so neat to visit again as an adult. Greenfield Village is an outdoor historical museum. There is a running steam locomotive, which we rode. I was sprayed with ash a couple times! We also rode in authentic Model T cars and had a guided tour. The village houses many historical homes and buildings procured by Henry Ford himself. We spent several hours there, and did not visit every building. Much like Disney World, Greenfield Village takes more than a day. We did visit Henry Ford's birthplace (set up exactly as he remembered it, complete with the same China his mother used, Harvey Firestone's childhood farm (which is still a working farm on the property, Thomas Edison's Menlo Park Lab moved from New Jersey, the Wright Brother's bicycle shop, and my favorite, the Heinz House, moved to Michigan from Pennsylvania. The Heinz house was always my favorite because they display every antique Heinz bottle and product and tell the history of the company. There is a general store, which was moved from a northern Detroit suburb. Actors work throughout the village and are "in character".

Another neat attraction is the crafts area. We saw a man blowing glass, there were pottery demonstrations and a very cool home which houses several types of weaves, including one so intricate, it's thought to be the world's first computer.

In typical form, I left my camera at home. What's new? But I did take a few photos with my iphone.

We also ventured into The Henry Ford Museum. There was an exhibit showing Presidential Limousines. I was really hoping JFK's limo would be among those on display, and it was!

I was interested to learn that JFK's limo was used by both President Johnson and President Nixon after some changes were made to it's design and safety features. I imagine Presidential limos are very expensive to build, so it makes sense this limo continued to be used, but it still did surprise me.

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this, but I really love collecting flattened pennies. I've collected them as long as I can remember, and more recently have acquired many from Disney World. To my delight, there was a penny press machine at The Henry Ford with an image of the JFK limo on it! What a wonderful and inexpensive (a mere 51 cents!) souvenir!

The history of The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village is very interesting. You can read the wiki page here. And if you ever get the opportunity to visit either, I would encourage you to do so! Henry Ford spent his life acquiring these precious pieces of history, and it's such a delight to be able to enjoy them!

"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..." -Henry Ford, on his museum

No comments: