"" Writer's Wanderings: Mini Road Trip - Henry Ford Museum

Monday, November 16, 2015

Mini Road Trip - Henry Ford Museum

The shift in our plans worked well for this trip as evidenced by the gray and much colder weather we awoke to. Our previous day at Greenfield Village had been quite sunny and warm. This day definitely looked like autumn was arriving--maybe even early winter. So off we went to The Henry Ford Museum where we would be nice and warm and out of any foul weather that might happen.

We were there as the doors opened at 9:30 AM and entered with a large group of high school kids. I thought at first it was an outing for them but actually there is a school that is within the museum--the Henry Ford Academy. My legs were a little sore as we started out. We had logged over 4 miles walking around the village the day before.

The museum has changed a lot from what we remembered. All for the good of course. There is a lot more emphasis on educational information and not just on industry and cars. Sections of the museum included the Civil War (with the chair Lincoln sat in the night he was shot) and the Civil Rights struggle with the actual bus Rosa Parks sat in when she refused to move to the back.

There is a lot of memorabilia from different eras and you are invited to figure out which era you belong in. With our age, we kind of passed through a lot of them. One of the displays that brought big smiles though was the Oscar Meyer Wiener car. Of course, like It's A Small World, it took a while to get the Oscar Meyer song out of my head.

The most intriguing exhibit was the Dymaxion House designed by Buckminster Fuller back in the 1920s. It wasn't actually built though until around 1945. It was the answer to the need for mass produced, affordable, easily transportable and environmentally efficient housing. The structure, made of lightweight steel, aluminum and plastic, is supported by a central column and is built around it in a circle. Supposedly it maximizes space. Lots of perks inside included an enclosed closet full of shelves that rotated to display your clothes. It was said to withstand a tornado that passed close by where it stood in Wichita, Kansas. There's a good post about it at Yesterland. com. 

Wandering through the Heroes of the Sky area, we came upon the Ford Tri Motor. It has a special place in my heart. When I was young, we spent many weekends at Put In Bay, Ohio, in the winter and the only way to the island was to fly in the Ford Tri Motor from Port Clinton. I wonder now though what my mother must have felt every time we went taking her children on a plane built between 1925 and 1933. I guess back then the plane was only 25-30 years old and lovingly cared for although it shook so much on take off I wonder how it stayed together. There is some talk that the plane will be making a comeback to the island in the summertime.

Among the cars on exhibit is a progressive representation of presidential limousines including the one JFK rode in Dallas. Somehow they don't seem as large in real life.

We wandered through the progression of all kinds of cars and trucks--not just Fords, and then headed for the train section. Bob remembered a huge engine there the last time and he wasn't disappointed, It still sits there. The steam engine was built in 1941 and used for hauling coal in the Allegheny Mountains. It weighs 600 tons and towers above you as you walk past it. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to see it working.

For lunch we enjoyed sandwiched in the Michigan Cafe. There is a hot dog dining area by the Oscar Meyer Wiener car but we didn't want to walk all the way back to it. There is also a diner where we had some great coffee and a couple of glazed donuts recommended by our waitress. She was right. As good as Krispy Kreme.

 As we enjoyed our donuts and coffee, we discussed the possibility of getting in the tour of the Ford Rouge Factory. If we did it this afternoon, we could leave first thing in the morning and get home a little earlier. Besides, we really couldn't think of anything else we wanted to do and the factory tour was said to take about two hours. It was another plan shift. We were getting good at those. Never say we aren't spontaneous.

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