Moments in Time: The Henry Ford (Part 2)

In a previous article I wrote about Greenfield Village the outdoor museum associated with the Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan. The indoor museum at the Henry Ford is just as captivating as Greenfield Village. It too, is a wonderful place to reminisce and of course to make photographs.

Beginning as Henry Ford’s personal collection of historic objects the indoor facility is housed in a building of over 500,000 square feet. Antique machinery, ordinary household utensils, pop culture items, automobiles, aircraft and locomotives are housed in this wonderful building. It opened in 1933. A careful examination of the images I’ve included below reveals that this building is absolutely stunning.

The Henry Ford complex is advertised as a museum of American history and innovation. I like to think of it as applying to both Canada and the United States. Old photographs of my grandfather’s farm in Saskatchewan show tools, machinery and modes of transportation that were commonly used in both countries and that are now on display at the Henry Ford Museum. In one of my first visits to the Henry Ford my mom accompanied us. She pointed out numerous appliances and utensils that were in use in her family’s home in the early 1900’s.

The Ford name is associated best with the automobile industry. Within the museum is a huge collection of beautifully restored vintage cars, representations of vintage fuel company signs and even early recreation vehicles.

The aviation display is also impressive and features a 1925 Fokker F VII triplane, a 1939 Sikorsky VS 300A helicopter and a Replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer. A 1939 Douglas DC-3 hangs from the ceiling.

The inventions of Thomas Edison and the growth of the electric power grid are well displayed but to me the most dominant display can be found in the museum section devoted to railroad history. Foremost in this exhibit is the 600 ton Chesapeake & Ohio Railway’s massive Allegheny steam engine. It was introduced into service in 1941. It was one of the largest steam locomotives ever built and could pull 160 fully loaded cars each loaded with 60 tones of coal. By the early 1950’s diesel locomotives had replaced these steam giants but the romantic period of steam is indelible in our history.

It would take many visits to the Henry Ford Museum to really appreciate the scope and meaning of the artifacts that are on display. There is so much to see and to photograph. Certainly, I will be making a return visit the next time we are in Michigan. 

This entry was posted in Education, My Work, Travel.


  1. cheryl July 26, 2019 at 4:34 pm #

    Really enjoying your Greenfield Village photos and stories. I think that is where I got my love of trains from. I went many times as a child and have very fond memories. Thanks for the photos!

    • Stu Dale August 22, 2019 at 1:55 pm #

      Thanks Cheryl! I really enjoy visiting Greenfield Village and the Ford Museum. Great for photography and for understanding the influence of some very famous inventors.

  2. Alan Flynn July 26, 2019 at 10:20 pm #

    Hi Stu . An incredible history of man’s ingenuity in the creation of transport for both pleasure and industry . Super photographs and delighted that they are maintained to such a high standard. You would love the National Railway Museum in York.


    • Stu Dale August 22, 2019 at 1:57 pm #

      Thanks for you comment Alan. Yes, man’s ingenuity in developing better transportation links is truly amazing.

  3. corolp August 23, 2019 at 7:02 pm #

    The museum sounds like an interesting place to visit. Trains have fascinated me since I was a child sitting on the Alberta prairie learning to count, My Dad explaining how to count as the box cars rumbled by. He always knew the steam engineer, who always pulled the whistle and waved. Exciting for a three year indeed. No doubt the other inventions brought back memories for you.

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