Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion House

The Dymaxion House inside Henry Ford Museum.

The Dymaxion House inside Henry Ford Museum.

To some people it’s a giant Hershey’s Kiss, while others sense a kinship with the Airstream travel trailer—both, it should be noted, recognized as icons. Even the more general touchstones—retro-futuristic spacecraft themes seem to hold sway here—tie into something powerfully elemental. Either way, the Dymaxion house has over the last decade assumed an iconic presence in Henry Ford Museum, a presence that delights and provokes a wide range of visitors. Continue reading

A Visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame

The magnificent Great Hall, which welcomes visitors to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The magnificent Great Hall, which welcomes visitors to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Maybe it creates a sense of legitimacy, maybe it’s a shrine to honor past heroes, or maybe it just provides a place for fans to congregate in the off-season. For whatever reason, every sport seeks to create its own Hall of Fame. Baseball devotees have Cooperstown, football followers have Canton, and, for NASCAR fans, there is Charlotte.

As Halls go, NASCAR’s is young. The building opened (and inducted its first honorees) in 2010 after a four-year site-selection and design process. While Daytona Beach and Atlanta were both considered, North Carolina – with its deep stock car racing roots and status as home to much of the present industry – was the clear favorite. I recently had a chance to visit the establishment. Continue reading

Singing Vampires Meet Spell-Casting Fairy Sisters in Greenfield Village

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Hallowe’en in Greenfield Village is a time-honored tradition at The Henry Ford. But, this doesn’t mean we’re afraid of shaking things up a bit! Much in the spirit of the spooky holiday, our Productions team likes to trick guests and keep each year a surprise in and of itself. This year has been no different, and with just one weekend left to enjoy the sights and sounds of Halloween, guests have been, and will be this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, in for a treat.

According to Senior Manager of Exhibitions & Program Production, Greg Harris, Hallowe’en is a staff favorite, so he’s constantly taking a look back and asking how they can upgrade and improve with each year.

This year that surprise has come in the form of a brand new route and some never-before-seen experiences. Continue reading

Clothing Our Hallowe’en Characters

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Hallowe’en in Greenfield Village has been delighting both visitors and members for more than 30 years. With each new Halloween season, the teams here at The Henry Ford like to blend crowd favorites with new experiences across the event. This year those changes include a revised path through Greenfield Village and new vignettes to enjoy. And for those who love interacting with our characters during the program, we’ve been excited to present nearly a dozen new costumed characters which were created in house by the talented staff of The Studio.

Joining guests in Greenfield Village for the first time in 2014 are the Good Fairy and Bad Fairy, Lady Pumpkin, Boatman, Plague Doctor, Singing Vampire Trio, two new witches and the one-and-only Igor at Menlo Lab. Many existing costumes are tweaked and improved each year. This year, the beloved dancing skeletons and the festive Pumpkin Witch were freshened up to be better than ever. Continue reading

It’s Time to DIY with Tinker.Hack.Invent.Saturday

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There’s a lot planned for the Oct. 25 installment of Tinker.Hack.Invent.Saturday inside Henry Ford Museum, from learning how to weave to making last-minute Halloween decorations. Not only will our Tinker Task Force be on hand to look at the science behind Halloween magic with another offering of “Grossology,” but we’ll be hosting two special groups, and past Maker Faire Detroit makers, that are sure to make for a busy Saturday of DIY inspiration. Continue reading

Create Your Own Greenfield Village Pumpkins

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Are you in need of some pumpkin carving inspiration? We’re here to help. You can create a set of Greenfield Village building pumpkins that are part carved, part painted, thanks to this year’s set of downloadable stencils, created by our own designers Caitlin Jewell and Marissa Hindman.  This year’s set of stencils features six buildings from Greenfield Village: Wright Cycle Shop, Ford Motor Company, Martha Mary Chapel, Scotch Settlement Schoolhouse, Cotswold Cottage and Firestone Farm.

Take a look below to learn how we made them.

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Free Printable: Eames-Inspired Heraldry Flags

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Did you see the Eames-inspired heraldry flags, paired with our Carousel Collection and After Five Collection, in this year’s Holiday Gift Guide? You can make a set for yourself with this printable.

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The flags were inspired by our 1964 Worlds Fair IBM Pavilion Kiosk, which was designed by the office of Ray and Charles Eames. Designed by our Creative Services Manager Cheryl Preston, these flags are simple to make. Simply print them out on card stock, cut out, crease on the dotted lines and secure to a bamboo skewer with tape.

Lish Dorset is Social Media Manager at The Henry Ford.

Just Added to Our Digital Collections: School Rewards of Merit

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Many modern students and parents have been the proud recipients of notices or awards sent home from school recognizing any number of positive behaviors. However, this tradition is not new. We’ve just digitized about 60 examples of school rewards of merit, mainly dating from the late 18th through late 19th centuries, designed to be handed out by teachers to exemplary students. The colorful papers rewarded students for conduct such as academic achievement, good behavior, diligence in study, punctual attendance, correct deportment, and attentiveness.  You can imagine how excited young Jared Long must have been to have received two honors from the “Bank of Industry” in this example from 1853. Visit our collections website to browse the rest of the rewards.

Ellice Engdahl is Digital Collections and Content Manager at The Henry Ford.

Yale University Art Gallery Visits The Henry Ford

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Patricia Kane investigates a piece during her visit to The Henry Ford.

Just weeks before Henry Ford Academy students returned to their school inside Henry Ford Museum, one of their classrooms was transformed into a small furniture study gallery as The Henry Ford hosted visitors on a mission, hoping to bring clarity to a very important time in American furniture making.

Patricia Kane, the Friends of American Arts Curator of American Decorative Arts at Yale University Art Gallery, along with Marcia Brady Tucker Fellow, Jennifer Johnson, traveled to Michigan in August as part of an ongoing research project to identify pieces created by woodworkers from Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Furniture Archive seeks to document all furniture made in that small state from its beginnings into the early 19th century. To collectors and appreciators of 18th century furniture, the most important town in 18th century Rhode Island was Newport.  There, the craftsmen of the intermarried Goddard and Townsend families created furniture with a unique look and construction. Their work is not only sought after but tells us a lot about that fashionable Rhode Island town during the 18th century. Indeed, their distinctive style was emulated by craftsmen not only in Rhode Island, but also in neighboring Massachusetts and Connecticut.  Continue reading

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