The Collections

Happy Halloween


Happy Halloween from The Henry Ford! Our selected postcard for our 2014 Hallowe’en in Greenfield Village programming was this card from around 1920 and created by Ellen Clapsaddle. 

Halloween’s superstitious origins gave way to a national celebration of mystery and innocent fun in 20th-century America. Seasonal greeting postcards commonly exchanged by friends and neighbors during Halloween reflected a distinctly American blend of olden customs and modern life. This colorful example from about 1920 features a traditional Halloween jack-o-lantern as the cockpit of a whimsical “airplane.”
Lish Dorset is Social Media Manager at The Henry Ford.

Ask Our Archivists October 30

Inside the BFRC courtesy of Michigan Andonian Photography


October 30 is Ask An Archivist Day and The Henry Ford is joining the discussion. From 1-3 pm we’ll have a team ready to answer questions and talk about some of their recent projects.

Feel free to ask us a question with the #AskAnArchvist; we’re looking forward to answering it.

Lish Dorset is Social Media Manager at The Henry Ford.


October and Apple Cider



When it comes to thinking about autumn, thoughts about visits to cider mills definitely come to mind. Learn more about this 1854 wood engraving, titled “October,” from our collections as October comes to a close.

Apple cider has long been synonymous with autumn. This 1854 print shows a bountiful apple harvest and cider making. In the background, the horse-powered crusher grinds apples into a pomace. In the foreground, men press the cider from the pomace. While we are more familiar with sweet cider, most cider at that time was hard cider– fermented to prevent spoilage.

Lish Dorset is Social Media Manager at The Henry Ford.

Just Added to Our Digital Collections: Clocks


The collections of The Henry Ford contain hundreds of clocks. Many of these are on display, either in the Clockwork exhibit in the Henry Ford Museum or as part of the recreation of daily life in the buildings of Greenfield Village, but many more are not. We’ve just added a number of clocks, dating from the late 17th through mid-20th centuries, to our digital collections, bringing the total number online to about 120. More than half of these are not currently on display, including this early 19th century novelty clock, which keeps time by rolling a steel ball down a zigzag track. Visit our online collections to view our growing digital collection of clocks and related artifacts.

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

The Dymaxion House: A New Way of Living


How would you like to live in a round house built of aluminum, steel, and plastic, suspended on a mast like a giant umbrella, with built-in closets and shelves and a bathroom the size of an airplane toilet?

R. Buckminster Fuller thought this house, which he called the Dymaxion House, was just what the American public wanted. Fuller, an engineer, philosopher and innovative designer, conceived the house in 1927 and partnered with the Beech Aircraft Corporation in Wichita, Kansas, to produce prototypes in 1945. Although Fuller designed his house so that it could be mass-produced, only one was ever built and lived in. 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

Free Printable: Eames-Inspired Heraldry Flags

Carousel-After Five Glass_DSC9285_v2

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.


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


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


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

TV at The Henry Ford: Live Broadcasts from Greenfield Village

"Today" show commentator Dick McCutcheon and museum curator, H. S. Ablewhite, discuss Henry Ford's race car "999," while Ken Schwartz waits patiently in the driver's seat. (THF116080)

“Today” show commentator Dick McCutcheon and museum curator, H. S. Ablewhite, discuss Henry Ford’s race car “999,” while Ken Schwartz waits patiently in the driver’s seat. (THF116080)

As most of you who follow The Henry Ford know, television crews have begun filming the Saturday morning educational show, The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation. Some visitors also may have actually seen the production crews in Henry Ford Museum or Greenfield Village several weeks ago as they shot footage for upcoming episodes. This has not been the first time The Henry Ford has played host to national television aspirations. Nearly 60 years ago in 1955, television crews invaded our campus on three separate occasions to broadcast live remotes. And like today The Henry Ford staff was there to help things run smoothly. Continue reading

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