The Henry Ford (Museum)

I ran away with the circus last week! ;-D

No, not really, but I did run away with Peter. He had work near Detroit and I invited myself along. Being the good guy he is, he agreed. My plan was for us to go to see the Henry Ford Museum after he was done with his work. We’ve been talking about it since we moved to the Midwest. Turns out that it is not The Henry Ford Museum but simply The Henry Ford! O.K. There is a lot to see there, including the (not) museum, an IMAX theatre and Greenfield Village. Amazingly enough it was raining so an outdoor venue was not a good idea and we wanted to see the indoor collections anyway. THF has lots of collections and after seeing what was on display, all I could wonder was what we weren’t seeing. I took random photos of things that interested me, and I hope they will interest you! (And please let me say that I took these with poor lighting, through glass displays and with my iPhone.)

What struck me most about the display of the US Industrial Revolution is that up until that point of time, the most complicated machine in the World was the watch…… How about that? A lot of the exhibits talked about how the Industrial Revolution in the US made Americans want more “things”. Things that were cheaper and more readily available than before. This ad for a sewing machine tickled me, though a sewing machine is a necessity for many of us…..

Here are two sewing machines that were designed to be displayed and used in the livingroom. This first one dates from 1860-1865. It’s a lovely design but looks very difficult to actually use….

I don’t recall what year this one was from, but it has the look of the 1930’s or 1940’s. Notice the lovely design and how the stool fits perfectly under the table!

From a distance I thought this was a loom, but talk about A Cool Tool ! This machine draws lines on paper. Before the invention of this machine, people put a sort of comb down on the paper and had to be careful with their (leaky, difficult) ink pens as they traced  the lines. Wow! Hard to imagine that lined paper was a new invention, but that’s why museums like THF are so valuable. The machine in front is a small printing press for flyers and small runs.

No looms were on display but there was a case with some lovely coverlets woven with Jacquard looms. (They were the first sort of computer – and I’m not joking.) This pattern caught my eye.

I see that I did not take any photos of cars….funny! There was an amazing collection which we thoroughly enjoyed looking at. There were lots of trains to admire as well. Look at this early train – can you see that it is a collection of carriages or stages pulled by an engine? Very fun.

And here – is – Cinderella’s carriage! Isn’t it charming? I don’t know if you can see how very small the door is for a large, elaborate Cinderella type dress to get through. And the carriage is very tall. There must have been quite a high set of stairs to get the riders safely inside of it.

Look at this amazing stage coach with what must be the owner’s faithful dog painted under the seat.

This item comes under The Twilight Zone heading! (Are you hearing the theme music?) It is a Philco Predicta Television Receiver!!!! The notation said it was from 1958-1960. I can say I never saw one of these growing up but I am sure that I would have loved it! With this in your livingroom, the aliens would surely be on their way. ;-D

And this comes under the heading of simply random… We woke up on Saturday morning to an odd sound. We looked out the window and could see a crowd milling about. The night before we’d seen lots of Indian people gathering in the lobby with incredibly lovely saris on and so here was the actual wedding. Out in the parking lot we found the groom (not Indian but enjoying himself) with his family and friends on a horse! Peter realized that they were reenacting the groom going to his bride’s home to collect her for the wedding! There were drums and more beautifully clad guests having a wonderful time. Peter and I still have our outfits from a trip to India and were sorry that we’d not been invited to the ceremony. That’s what makes vacation so much fun; not knowing what might happen next!

31 thoughts on “The Henry Ford (Museum)

  1. Saw a similar wedding while visiting New Orleans. Lots of noise, Indian music and Indian dancers in the street. Great fun, and while nobody was watching the groom his saddle slipped and he fell off his mount.
    Ruth from At Home on the Road


  2. So funny, I don’t know you but I was at the Henry Ford this past weekend, too! (We’re definitely talking about the same weekend because it was crawling with Indian people in dress clothes when I was there, too.) My group was there specifically to see the Titanic exhibit which was AMAZING.

    In the main museum, I liked seeing Rosa Parks’s bus. I also loved the antique furniture. My favorite was this hand-painted cupboard:


    • What a coincidence!!! Since our visit was a little last minute, we decided to see the “regular” exhibits and not try for the special ones. I took pictures of that lovely cupboard but they weren’t very good, so I didn’t add them. I am from PA so anything Amish feels like home…


  3. Yeah, a midwesterner that loves fiber art! I come from a long line of fiber lovers. My gram and aunt taught me to sew when I was very young and I just started back up again after a long hiatus. My gram told me some of her ancestors were Jewish tapestry weavers which I knew it had to be in the blood! Great post, I love the village and the museum!


  4. Wow, that TV is wild! Thanks for the photography. As a kid I’d been to Greenfield Village a thousand times, but apparently the Museum was for the “big kids”; I have still never been! It’s cool to have a peak inside. ^_^


  5. As I’ve grown older, and become more scholastic with time, I can appreciate a museum more than I did as a hyperactive, non-attentive child. Excellent blog, I really enjoyed your insight. Keep up the good work.


  6. THF is one of the places I’d love to visit for the trains…but to think of lined paper? And how household items were advertized…I’m sure somebody has done a Master’s thesis on that one! Real nice post—LOVED IT!


    • THF is definitely a time machine. There was a mother explaining the phone exhibit to her young boys. And we were marveling over the line printing press and life before cars and trains…


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