The Collections

Just Added to Our Digital Collections: Football Artifacts

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On Friday, a new traveling exhibition will open at The Henry Ford—Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Hall of Fame.  As an online supplement to the exhibit, we have digitized selections from our collections related to football, including photos of football playing students from the Edison Institute Schools as well as Henry Ford Trade School; Mercury advertising photographs with a football theme; and assorted other items.  One hidden gem that we uncovered during this project is Edsel Ford’s 1934 season pass to home games of the Detroit Lions, which will be on display along with the exhibition.  Check out all of our digitized football collections on our collections website, then come visit Gridiron Glory in Henry Ford Museum.

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

Just Added to Our Digital Collections: Igor Sikorsky Photos

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You may know that the Sikorsky VS-300A helicopter on display in Heroes of the Sky in the Henry Ford Museum was the first practical helicopter in the United States.  Inventor Igor Sikorsky piloted this craft for about an hour and a half on May 6, 1941, setting a world endurance record.  In 1943, as shown in this photograph, Sikorsky demonstrated the machine on the front lawn of the Henry Ford Museum just before donating it.  Attendees at the event included Henry and Clara Ford, Henry Ford II, Charles Lindbergh, and Les Morris, Sikorsky’s chief test pilot.  We’ve just digitized a number of photos related to the ceremony, Sikorsky, and helicopters in general—view them all in our digital collections.

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

Behind the Scenes With IMLS: The Process

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Objects pulled from just two shelves.

The Henry Ford is busy with many projects right now, including an ongoing two-year grant awarded to us by The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to digitize and rehouse our communication collections – things like TVs, radios, phonographs, computers and typewriters. We have about 1,000 artifacts to process. With a project of this size, it’s important for the many people contributing to this project to coordinate and organize each step to make sure every artifact is processed correctly. Here is an overview of the steps that we are using:

Discovery: The artifacts are currently stored in our Collections Storage Building, so the team must first pull all the objects off of shelves systematically. Once that is done, our Curator of Communication and Information Technology, Kristen Gallerneaux, determines which objects are considered part of the grant using our proposal for reference. Continue reading

Conserving Our Political Paper Lanterns

Campaign Lantern for Democrat George McClellan running against Republican Abraham Lincoln, 1864. (Object ID: 72.31.53)

Campaign Lantern for Democrat George McClellan running against Republican Abraham Lincoln, 1864. (Object ID: 72.31.53)

The Henry Ford holds an extensive collection of late 19th century political campaign lanterns, dating from the 1860 to 1900.  These paper, accordion-folded lanterns usually held candles and were used in processions and rallies in support of the candidates. They are screen printed in patriotic colors – some contain images of the candidates and/or slogans.  In an age before television and radio, processions were a method of attracting attention for a political race.  As paper objects these are truly ephemeral objects.  Their survival for more than 100 years is remarkable.   Continue reading

Thomas Edison: Inventor AND Chemist

Thomas Edison Perfecting His Wax Cylnder Phonograph, 1888 (Object ID: P.B.34600).

Thomas Edison Perfecting His Wax Cylnder Phonograph, 1888 (Object ID: P.B.34600).

All eyes have been on Menlo Park in Greenfield Village recently, both here at The Henry Ford and across the nation. Menlo Park kicks off the first episode of our new television series, “The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation” on September 27 as Mo Rocca tours the building to learn more about Thomas Edison and the work he researched in that very space. This weekend members of the American Chemical Society (ACS) will be joining staff from The Henry Ford to bestow a special honor upon the building: National Historic Chemical Landmark. Continue reading

Just Added to Our Digital Collections: Lillian Boyer Photographs

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Lillian Boyer (1901–89) was a young waitress in 1921 when two customers took her for a ride in their airplane.  The same week, she took another ride and climbed out of the cockpit onto the wing, thus beginning a career as an aerial exhibitionist.  In her eight-year career, she was featured in 352 shows throughout the United States and Canada, performing stunts including wing walking, parachuting, and transferring herself from moving automobiles to flying planes.  We’ve just added a selection of photos of Boyer to our collections website, including this one-handed hang from around 1922.  View more death-defying photos of Lillian Boyer by visiting our collections website.

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

Ask The Henry Ford Curators

askacurator We’re excited to participate in another #AskACurator Day September 17! Joining the growing list of hundreds of museums across the globe, we’ll be fielding questions all day with the #AskACurator hashtag. We’ll be offering Twitter chats all day long as well with our own curators. Here’s what you can expect.

Ask a Curator Day 2014
Join The Henry Ford for the annual #AskACurator Day on Twitter Wednesday, Sept. 17. While we’ll be happy to answer questions throughout the day, a team of our own curators will be taking over our Twitter feed at assigned times to talk about some of their current work and favorite projects.

10-11 am: Ellice Engdahl, Digital Collections & Content Manager
How do objects like quilts and locomotives end up on our online collections website? Ellice will talk about how we digitize artifacts at The Henry Ford.

11 am – 12 pm: Charles Sable, Curator of Decorative Arts
Charles will showcase some of The Henry Ford’s collections of political lanterns, mourning jewelry, furniture, silver and pewter.

1-2 pm: Cynthia R. Miller, Curator of Photographs and Prints
Cynthia will share some of our most recently digitized photos from Jenny Chandler and The Henry Ford’s role in broadcast television over the years. She’ll also share some of favorite posters depicting women as part of the World War I and II work efforts.

2-3 pm: Kristen Gallerneaux, Curator of Communication & Information Technology
Kristen will be sharing news about artifacts recently digitized as part of our IMLS Communications Grant. She’ll also talk about Charles Francis Jenkins as well as our 1963 Moog.

3-4 pm: Jeanine Head Miller, Curator of Domestic Life
Jeanie will share information about the work The Henry Ford has been doing to learn more about the buildings found in Greenfield Village.

Lish Dorset is Social Media Manager at The Henry Ford.

Just Added to Our Digital Collections: Daggett Farmhouse Photos

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Though Molly Malcolm’s summer internship with the Historical Resources department at The Henry Ford has sadly ended, we are continuing with the project she initiated and digitizing materials related to some of our historic buildings.  This week, we’ve digitized over 80 photographs of Daggett Farmhouse on its earlier sites.  Daggett wasn’t moved to Greenfield Village until 1977—so this photo depicts a television and mid-century furnishings from the house’s stay in Union, Connecticut, from 1951 through 1977.  Visit our collections website to view all the recently added material related to Daggett Farmhouse, and keep an eye out for additional photos to be added soon.

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

Just Added to Our Digital Collections: Spindizzies

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Back in June, we announced the digitization of selections from our collection of slot cars, model race cars most popular in the 1960s and 1970s.  Recently, we’ve been digitizing a collection acquired last year of spindizzies, an earlier type of model race car.  Spindizzies were popular in the 1930s and 1940s, incorporating model airplane engines powered by gasoline, and were either raced together on grooved tracks or tethered to a pole and run singly on circular tracks.  Our new collection, donated by Eric Zausner and the E-Z Spindizzy Foundation, includes cars, tools, and accessories.  You can now view a number of these, including this 1939 “Silver Streak” model, on our collections website.  Check out all the cars and accessories we’ve digitized from this collection so far, and keep watching as we add more over coming months.

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

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