Learning from History at The Henry Ford – Two Perspectives


In this conversation, two participants will discuss a different project that they were involved with at The Henry Ford Museum:

Reconstructing History/Reimagining Originality: The Case of Henry Ford’s English Preservations (Bradley Taylor, Associate Director Emeritus, Museum Studies Program)

As the Stock Market Crash of 1929 was about to plunge the world into the Great Depression, Henry Ford was putting finishing touches on an outdoor museum of historic structures known today as Greenfield Village.  Ford’s interest in preserving old buildings on site had existed for years but this assemblage of structures moved from other parts of the country was something few had seen before.  Ford and his team thus led an effort to preserve in a way that offered little precedent upon which to draw.

The presentation showcases Ford’s efforts to rescue three English structures—a retail store, a home, and a forge—and finds that the stories of these three preservations lead us to new ways of considering deeply held assumptions about the nature of “originality” and “authenticity.”

The Deluxe Engine: Lessons from the Life of an Industrial Heritage Object at The Henry Ford (Calder Fong, PhD, Germanic Languages and Literatures)

Can a single object tell the story of an entire museum? Join Calder on a journey through time and space, as he accompanies an 1887 Crossley Bros. internal combustion engine through the departments of The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. Encounter Henry Ford as an early pioneer of urbexing, and discover a transnational network of engineers and their museums. Survey the wide range of disciplines that assemble to make The Henry Ford work! And of course, learn the secret to taking care of your very own Deluxe Engine.