Places: The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI

Today we are discussing a museum that your family needs to visit:


HF Museum

My wife and I first visited this museum in 2007. At the time, we were living just outside of Windsor, ON. Being as this was just across the Detroit River from Dearborn, MI. it made for a short drive, and we had season passes for a few years.

Partnered with The Henry Ford is Greenfield Village, a re-creation of turn-of-the-century living featuring actual historic houses and industrial buildings from around the United States. But more on that later.

Henry Ford was an avid collector. Of course, his collection of cars is front and center in this museum:

HF Car

But he also collected planes, trains, farm equipment, antiques, furniture, silver artifacts, chandeliers, and so much more. So this museum is a well-rounded peek into the past! And also a peek into the humorous side of this famous man:

HF WeinerMobile

Don’t you wish you were an Oscar Mayer wiener… mobile?

Did I mention Henry Ford collected everything? I purchased a book called Dog Days: A Year in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile by Dave Ihlenfeld and it was a real hoot! The cover features a Wienermobile parked in someone’s driveway. Too much!

The museum even has some unique things you can’t find anywhere else, like these concept models:

HF Concept 1 HF Concept 2

The one on the upper left became the 1960’s Batmobile!

HF Concept 3 HF Concept 4

Now onto Greenfield Village:

GV Signage     GV Characters 1

GV Fountain

This working village is made up of a farming community, an industrial section, a Main Street area, and a residential district. Model T Fords whisk you along paved roads past Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park factory, the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop and homestead, and even Mr. Webster’s house, where you can see a display of his works, including his most famous dictionary.

These buildings aren’t replicas! They are the actual houses, bought and saved and moved, brick by brick or board by board to Greenfield Village. Yes, you will be walking on the same floors as the famous people listed above!

Oh, and Henry Ford even moved the farmhouse of his friend Mr. Firestone to the farming district. You may have his tires on your car.

But the Village isn’t just about historic houses. Each year they have two car shows: The Motor Muster and Old Car Festival.

MM Car OCF Bus

Muscle Cars and Vintage Automobiles

And they have Jazz Festivals, Food Festivals, Holiday Events, and so much more. Even celebrity trains drop by:

GV Thomas

There are similarities between Disneyland and Greenfield Village. Both have vintage carousels, steam trains that circle the property, period-costumed characters roaming around, and vintage vehicle rides.

GV Train

All Aboard!

And just one more thing before I wrap this up: Walt Disney visited Greenfield Village twice before he opened his first theme park, Disneyland, in 1955. He posed for a tintype picture while visiting the Village on April 12, 1940.

GV WD Plaque

Walt Disney

For more on Walt’s visit, see my earlier post entitled Walt’s Tintype Portrait. You will see inside the building where he sat for the picture and learn fascinating details!

Karen and I consider The Henry Ford/Greenfield Village our second home-away-from-Disney! The sheer number of things to see and do, the level of quality and cleanliness, and the friendly staff, make this museum every bit as exciting and memorable as a visit to Disneyland or Walt Disney World!

And I don’t say that lightly!

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17 Responses to Places: The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI

  1. Mary says:

    Now I am a Henry Ford fan anyway – got to love the simplicity of the assembly line – so this is now on my list if I ever head that direction. And with all the trains the kids won’t give me too much grief for stopping at a museum.

  2. Karen says:

    This is the second time in a week I heard something about this museum. It sounds so fun. I guess I have to add another thing to my bucket list.

  3. Becca says:

    How fun. I love the concept cars and I am sure my son would get a kick out of the weinermobile

  4. This is really neat! I didn’t even know the Henry Ford Museum existed! As an avid Ford Mustang fan, I must know…is there an impressive collection of Ford Muscle Cars?

  5. This sounds like such a cool place! And now, it is added to my bucket list! It would be so neat to ride around in a Model T and walk where so many famous people lived. I can’t imagine what it took to move all those houses, but it sure is nice that they are all in the same place together.

    • disneynouns says:

      There are so many famous houses! Also, they have vintage bus rides and horse drawn rides as well. So many cool things to do I’m missing it the more I talk about it! LOL

  6. roemottola says:

    Lee – this definitely looks like a place I would visit! I would absolutely love to do this – and it would fit in well for my “Walt Disney North America” tour that I want to do when I retire. (A girl can dream, can’t she?) Thanks for sharing, this is really awesome.

    • disneynouns says:

      It would be worth it because, believe it or not, I didn’t cover half of what’s there! There is a factory tour where you can watch an F150 being built; an iMax theater; and some great food!

      Make that trip happen girl!

  7. I had no idea that Mr. Ford was such a collector. And yes, I’d love to have a weiner-mobile of my very own and would proudly park it in my driveway!

  8. This sounds like a really cool place, Lee, and even cooler that Walt Disney visited there! I bet he loved the train! Did I ever tell you that I once got to ride the weiner to work? Yes, indeed, I did. A local radio station sponsored a contest and a girl in my office won it. I even got to do the weather online from the weiner! Fun memory!

    • Not “online,” “on AIR”! It was the late 80’s!

      • disneynouns says:

        Actually, I learned that the train was added after Disneyland opened so Walt never got to see it. But he was attending a train convention when he stopped over for his visit.

        And yes, every American owes it to themselves to check this out! Henry Ford was a very impactful man in history!

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