The next time you’re looking for something to do, take time to visit one of Michigan’s marvelous museums. While there are fantastic museums all over the Mitten State, a visit to the Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village in Dearborn is a must.
It’s the largest indoor-outdoor museum complex in the United States and is visited by nearly 2 million people a year. Most importantly, it’s brimming with history and wonder that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. As you have a good time, you’ll learn a thing or two that you didn’t know before.
8 Fascinating Facts & FAQs About Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village
Did You Know…
- Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village is the largest indoor-outdoor museum complex in the nation.
- Innovation Nation, a weekly show that showcases American innovation and stories on the museum has beat out names like Oprah and Ellen for Emmy Awards
- While Greenfield Village is a big part of this Michigan museum, it was built with the idea that it could represent a town anywhere in the United States.
How Long Should I Plan to Spend at the Henry Ford Museum?
Tours of the museum are self-guided, so visitors are encouraged to go at their own pace. The museum recommends giving yourself at least a few hours to see the variety of sites and experiences.
How Much Does the Henry Ford Museum Cost?
Admission information for the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village can be found here
How Large is the Henry Ford Museum?
The museum spreads across 250 acres, showcasing American ingenuity and culture through exhibits and hands-on experiences.
Is Greenfield Village Worth Visiting?
Absolutely! Michigan has lots of great museums, but Greenfield Village is a sight to behold and well worth the time and money to visit.
What are Some Cool Things to See at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation?
There are lots of items visitors can see at the Museum of American Innovation. Some of the most famous items are the Rosa Parks bus, Kennedy’s presidential limo, Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Complex, the Driving America exhibit, and Model Ts.
Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn Michigan
You’ll see a lot of amazing and eye-opening historical things at the Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village, but what you’ll also see is innovation. After all, Henry Ford revolutionized the automobile industry with assembly line production.
Mission of the Henry Ford Museum
This museum complex is a testament to Ford’s innovative genius and efforts to preserve history. Each week, “Henry Ford Innovation Nation” showcases innovators and stories about the museum and its history of innovation. You can see it all for yourself when you visit the museum complex.
History of the Henry Ford Museum
The Henry Ford Museum became a reality in the 1920s under the supervision of architect Robert O. Derrick. He designed the exhibit hall, which is more than 500,000 square feet.
The museum, which was originally named the Edison Institute — after Ford’s friend Thomas Edison — was dedicated in 1929 by President Herbert Hoover. Initially, it was a private educational institute but opened as a public museum in 1933.
Admission to the Henry Ford Museum
The Henry Ford Museum is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. — except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. So, you can visit the museum complex almost anytime you want.
General admission tickets are offered for the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, as well as Greenfield Village, the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, and the Giant Screen Experience.
Also, there are discounts for active U.S. military members and through a partnership with Museums for All. Memberships — with some great perks added in — are available, too, for those who visit frequently.
Permanent Exhibits at the Henry Ford Museum
What can you expect to see at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation? Not only will you see Henry Ford’s personal collection of historical items — a collection that began as early as 1906 — but you’ll also see lots of other items of historical significance and important slices of pop culture.
This exhibit tells the story of how innovations in the automotive industry influenced everyday life. The exhibit features the oldest surviving American car — the 1865 Roper — as well as the 1896 Ford Quadricycle Runabout and the 1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale Convertible.
With Liberty & Justice for All
This exhibit focuses on four moments that were essential in the quest for freedom in the United States — the Revolutionary Era, the Antislavery Movement, the Civil War era, and the Civil Rights Movement.
These struggles are highlighted by artifacts like the Rosa Parks bus and the chair Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was killed.
Heroes of the Sky
Flying has always fascinated people, no matter how old they are. This exhibit lets visitors experience the early days of flight.
What’s great about this experience is that visitors can experience the history and science of flight through multisensory and hands-on exhibits. You can surround yourself with the sights and sounds of a Wright brothers’ flight, or you can sit in the fuselage of several classic planes and helicopters.
The Rosa Parks Bus
Museums showcase people and artifacts that represent some of the most important moments in history. The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation is home to one such piece of history — the Rosa Parks Bus.
Visitors can see how the bus was transformed from a relic to one of the museum’s most popular pieces. They can also learn about the efforts to acquire, restore, and authenticate such an important piece of history.
The 1897 Baldwin Steam Locomotive
This majestic locomotive is a key part of the Weiser Railroad at Greenfield Village and is, according to the museum, one of its toughest restoration projects. Visitors can learn about that restoration, starting with its disassembly in 2007 and concluding with its full restoration in 2013.
The Lincoln Rocker
The assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865 was one of the most shocking events in American history, and the Henry Ford Museum just happens to have the chair that the former president was sitting in at the time.
The rocker, a favorite chair of President Lincoln, was acquired by the museum in 1929. It has been preserved to its original state as much as possible.
1961 Lincoln Continental Presidential Limousine
This car is forever known as the JFK limo and was the one President Kennedy was riding in when he was assassinated in 1963.
Kennedy preferred to travel with the top down on the Continental whenever he could, but his assassination ended the tradition of presidents riding in open cars. Since then, presidential cars have been built with roofs, armor, and bullet-resistant glass.
The 1967 Ford Mark IV
Driven by A. J. Foyt and Dan Gurney, this car represents an important piece of automotive history. On June 11, 1967, it won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, the only American-built and operated race car to do so.
The museum’s conservation team worked to keep this treasure intact so that visitors can see the Mark IV as close to its original state as possible.
Visitors can take a tour through the “house of the future,” created by architect R. Buckminster Fuller. His creation was designed to be the most cost-effective, strongest, and lightest house ever built.
This Hershey’s Kiss-shaped prototype is the only one of its kind left in the world and has become an iconic part of the Henry Ford Museum.
Visitors young and old know the iconic Oscar Mayer theme song, and they can see the iconic Oscar Mayer Wienermobile up close. The vehicle was first created in 1936 and has been seen all over America in parades, festivals, and stores.
College interns known as hot-doggers accompany these vehicles, which measure more than 22 feet long.
Special Events & Exhibits at the Henry Ford Museum
The Henry Ford Museum is home to not only some of the most important pieces of American history but also many special events that draw thousands of visitors each year.
Civil War Remembrance
Every year, Greenfield Village honors those who fought in the Civil War. The Remembrance event takes place annually on Memorial Day weekend. Hundreds of reenactors, historical presenters, and musicians provide chances to learn about the war through exhibits, reenactments, plays, and Q&A sessions.
Old Car Festival
This annual festival takes place every September, usually the first weekend after Labor Day. Car enthusiasts will love this event, which fills the grounds of Greenfield Village with hundreds of old cars.
Visitors can take a self-guided walking tour of the vehicles, watch a Model T assembly, and watch car judging, among many other activities and events.
Salute to America
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra plays patriotic concerts at Walnut Grove in the Village and thousands of people attend each concert.
World Tournament of Historic Base Ball
Baseball fans can take a step back in time to 1867 at this annual August tournament. Visitors can watch vintage baseball clubs compete in exhibitions, throwing, and batting. Every activity follows the early rules of the sport.
Every summer, a camp is held for kids in grades 2-9 at the Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village. Each grade has a different theme and activities, such as glass blowing, canoeing, and apprenticeships. Also, the camp gives children the chance to see the museum and village from different perspectives.
Greenfield Village in Metro Detroit Michigan
At Greenfield Village, visitors can marvel at hundreds of years of American perseverance. Whether you walk through working farms, take a ride in a Model T, or visit a recreation of Thomas Edison’s workshop, there’s plenty to see and do across seven historic districts.
Admission to Greenfield Village
Greenfield Village opens in mid-April and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Like the Henry Ford Museum, there are several ticket options available depending on what you want to see. If you want to see the entirety of the village, tickets are offered for adults, seniors, and youths aged 5-11.
Additionally, tickets are available just for the Giant Screen Experience and the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. Memberships are available too, which include free entry into the museum and some of the other village attractions.
The 7 Districts of Greenfield Village
At Greenfield Village, you have the chance to journey into the 19th century through seven districts. When purchasing your tickets, you can pick up a Greenfield Village map. With so many districts to see, you’re going to need it!
Visitors can step back into 19th-century America in this district. There are living history presentations, historical buildings, vegetable fields, livestock, wagons, and much more to make history come alive. Highlights include the William Ford Barn, the Firestone Pump House, and the Firestone Farm.
Visitors will be drawn in by the sights and sounds of early American manufacturing in this district. Watch artisans practice authentic period trades and craftsmanship.
Highlights include the recently renovated Pottery Shop with its new indoor salt kiln, glass blowing demonstrations in the Sandwich Glass Plant, and more in the Weaving Shop and Hanks Silk Mill.
Henry Ford’s Model T
Visitors can trace the life of industrialist and innovator Henry Ford from his childhood to the founding of Ford Motor Company. Tour a recreation of Henry Ford’s childhood home, see a replica of the factory where his first automobiles were built, and take a test drive in a restored Model T.
If you’re a fan of trains, this is a place you absolutely have to visit in Greenfield Village. A train depot from the 1800s and a steam-powered rail line transport visitors into the deep history of the railroad industry and how it was essential to America’s expansion.
Visitors can tour a 19th-century roundhouse where trains were serviced, see old locomotives up close, and take a train ride through the Village — which offers quite a view of the buildings and landscape.
It’s easy to take the hustle and bustle of today’s big cities for granted, but Greenfield Village’s Main Street district transports visitors to a simpler time. This district is oozing with history and heritage that’s easy for visitors to soak up as they see early automobiles, horse-drawn carriages, and historical figures.
Stop at the Wright Cycle Shop to see where the Wright brothers built their earliest flying machines. Go for a spin on the Herschell-Spillman Carousel, and stop at the J.R. Jones General Store or the Cohen Millinery, which sold specialty goods in older times.
If you’re looking for the perfect slice of life in simpler times, this is it.
Edison at Work
This district in Greenfield Village recreates Thomas Edison’s fully-equipped Menlo Park laboratory in New Jersey. Visitors can learn about the history of the district, what it took to move the estate to Dearborn and restore it, and how the Wizard of Menlo Park came up with some of his most famous inventions.
Porches & Parlors
Visitors can see the homes of some of America’s most important game-changers. On display is the Noah Webster House, an 1823 home that the famous dictionary writer lived in. There’s also the Mattox Family Home, an 1880s farmhouse that belonged to an African American family.
The Daggett House, from 1754, highlights the typical New England-style house of that era. Additionally, the Cotswold Cottage, from 1619, shows an important piece of English history and the character of houses from that time.
Special Events at Greenfield Village
Like in the Henry Ford Museum section of the complex, Greenfield Village hosts some special events throughout the year.
Hallowe’en in Greenfield Village
There’s nothing better than attending a special event on or around Halloween, and this is a party to remember for all who attend!
This Greenfield Village Halloween event is held on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings in October. It’s chock-full of decorations, witches, costumed characters, activities, treats, and plenty of decorations.
Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village
The Christmas season is traditionally popular and offers visitors a lot to do. Greenfield Village Holiday Nights are a perfect way to spend the season.
Visitors can take self-guided strolls, go ice skating, or take a ride in a Model T or a horse-drawn carriage. Many of the buildings are decked out with period decorations too. If you’re looking for an event to get in the holiday spirit, this Greenfield Village Christmas celebration is one you don’t want to miss.
Shops & Dining at Greenfield Village
If you’re looking for a special souvenir of your trip to Greenfield Village, there are several shops you can explore. The Main Street Emporium offers historical toys, gifts, and souvenirs from early America. The Liberty Craftworks Store offers a selection of handcrafted goods.
The Greenfield Village Store offers anything and everything you could want during your visit to the museum complex. If you’re looking for a great homemade gift, The Lakeside Pottery collection offers several great pieces to add to your kitchen.
If you’re interested in space, there’s a line of Apollo products at the Greenfield Village Store, including action figures, play sets, and costumes. There are a variety of racing-themed products available in the store too.
Greenfield Village Restaurants
Once you’ve spent the day exploring and soaking up history, you’ll probably be hungry. When hunger pangs hit, there are lots of places to choose from. There are seasonal offerings, such as cider in the fall and ice cream sundaes in the summer, but there are also lots of places to get a full meal.
- Cotswold Cottage Tea serves afternoon tea, tea cakes, scones, and other goodies.
- Eagle Tavern transports visitors into 1800s-era Michigan for seasonally-inspired meals, temperance beverages, and specialty cocktails, all from recipes that have been handed down through generations.
- At Mrs. Fisher’s Southern Cooking, visitors can nosh on delicious roast pork, cracker crumb-breaded chicken, sweet potato pie, and more.
- If you’re looking for a quick bite, stop by Owl Night Lunch for a hot dog, beverage, or fast snack.
- Those craving something sweet can stop by Sir John Bennett Sweet Shop, which is modeled after an old-time London sweet shop and offers plenty of treats, including ice cream and cake.
Ford Rouge Factory Tour at the Henry Ford Museum Complex
Have you ever wanted to see how a truck is made up close? The Ford Rouge Factory Tour offers the chance to see how it’s done. It pops open the hood on the design, grit, and technology needed to create Ford vehicles, specifically the Ford F-150, which is highlighted on this tour.
Visitors can learn about the history of Ford Motor Company through rare footage at the Legacy Theater, get a multisensory experience of manufacturing at the Innovation Theater, play educational games at the Collections Explorer Kiosk, and take the Living Laboratory Tour at the Ford Rouge Plant to see Ford’s designs in action.
Giant Screen Experience at the Henry Ford Museum Complex
Even in the midst of learning and being surrounded by history, it’s hard not to get excited about seeing a movie. The Giant Screen Experience at the Henry Ford Museum complex lets visitors watch some of the most enlightening and entertaining stories ever told of America’s past, present, and future.
This Henry Ford IMAX theater is quite the experience and also features new, state-of-the-art 4K projection and sound. It’s the perfect experience for school field trips, and teachers, educators, and youth group leaders can enjoy a customized experience.
Visit Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village Today
From national to worldwide history, the Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village have it all. You won’t find a better place in Michigan to have fun while learning (in our opinion).
If you’re planning your visit around a particular season, you’re in luck! Aside from the museum complex, there are plenty of things to do in Metro Detroit in every season — spring, summer, fall, and winter.