This post includes highlights of our visit today to the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. Please see this post for an introduction to The Henry Ford, and this post for highlights of our visit to Greenfield Village adjacent to the museum.
The theme of the museum is American innovation in agriculture and technology. The photo above shows one of several stationary steam engines on display. Note the beauty of the architecture and the massive size as shown by the staircase visible above and behind the large wheel, and through its spokes.
A major theme of American innovation that is highlighted in the museum is increasing mobility. Trains powered by steam engines changed America. There were several train engines and cars on display, such as the Bangor & Aroostook car below:
Automobiles are a significant part of American innovation. While more than just Ford automobiles were on display, below are two cars that made the Ford Motor Company famous – the Model T ("exploded") and serial number 1 of the Ford Mustang:
The Model T was introduced by Henry Ford in 1908 and built until 1927. The Ford Mustang was introduced in 1962, some 15 years after Henry Ford's death.
Like trains and automobiles, airplanes are also a significant part of the story of American innovation. The photo below shows an exact replica of the Wright Flyer, suspended from the ceiling in the main visitor entrance to the museum. This replica was built by Ken Kellett and successfully flown at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on the 75th anniversary of the original flight.
The museum includes many exhibits about innovations in flight, from the Wright brothers to the space age. Below, also suspended from the ceiling, is a 1939 Douglas DC-3 airplane. The propeller-driven DC-3 was truly an innovative aircraft that initiated the modern era of commercial air travel.
The Wright brothers' first flight was in 1903. The airplane in the photo above was built only 36 years later. Only 30 years after that, the United States landed men on the moon. As shown throughout the museum, the pace of innovation in agriculture and industry was fast.
Perhaps the most significant example of American innovation is the United States of America itself. One of the permanent exhibits at the museum is "With Liberty & Justice For All":
American democracy has been called the Great Experiment. You'll understand why as you see and hear the trials, tribulations and triumphs of Americans' enduring struggles for freedom, from the Revolutionary War through the struggle for civil rights.
This exhibit explores four transformative eras in the American Experiment: the Revolution, the Civil War, the woman's suffrage movement, and the civil rights movement. Below is the bus that Rosa Parks rode on December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, when she ignited the civil rights movement by refusing to give up her seat as required by the segregation laws of the day:
This post includes only a small fraction of all that there is to see at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation! You have to see it for yourself.