Saturday 2 October 2010

Day 36 – How To Hit The Ground Walking

There are pioneers in this world that make the rest of us look like chumps. Some would say we ran out of those guys a long time ago, others would argue that with the invention of Ipods, the internet or even Chia-pet, that there are still trailblazers out there creating things for each new generation. But out of every mod-con you own-- which couldn’t you live without? Could you survive without having music available at the touch of a button? Probably…but you couldn’t live without lightbulbs…or what about transportation? Someone had to invent all the things we take for granted today.
Our visit to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan was a hesitant one. We weren’t sure what the museum could possibly have that would interest us and Joe had been ragging on it for the last couple of days. He was sure it would be a waste of time. As usual I had to convince him that I knew what he would like more than he knew himself…

The name probably makes it obvious, but Henry Ford was founder of the Ford Motor Company in 1903 (at a time when the automobile industry was in its infancy). His endeavour went on to make him one of the richest men in the world. He didn’t get that way by chance though, Henry Ford was a man itching to create, interested in how things worked and how he could help the everyday consumer. Getting his start at the Edison Illuminating Company he founded a friendship with another great mind, his boss at the time, Thomas Edison. Edison was even honored with the task of breaking ground at the museum that was to be a place to remember the great achievements of each generation.
The museum really focuses on history and science, with transportation as its backdrop. Any kind of vehicle you can think of is in this museum, from the practical to the ridiculous. It takes you on a wonderful journey through Americana. With a look at how motel chains, like our chain of choice Holiday Inns, got their start--to the birth of fast food joints, all were thanks to the popularity of peoples love of getting in their cars and hitting the open road. Just like us!
There were also some pretty iconic items on display, like the car JFK was assassinated in, which was actually reused by the 3 following presidents despite what happened. Another incredible thing they have there is the theatre seat that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in. The Lincoln seat was part of a permanent exhibit about civil rights and in that collection is the actual bus on which Rosa Parks (a black woman in 1955’s segregated America) refused to give up her seat to a white man. It was the act of defiance that would instigate the civil rights movement. Obviously the bus has been renovated since then so that it now looks shiny and new, but sitting on it you still got a sense of how important one simple moment can be in changing history.
There’s something at the museum for all ages to get excited about and we especially liked the look through time exhibit that shown items of interest to each generation. Being a kid of the 80’s, they had some cool stuff to get nostalgic over. Didn’t everyone have a Speak & Spell machine?? But my overall favourite thing there had to be the Wienermobile. Who wouldn’t want to drive around in a giant hotdog?

Attached to the museum is Greenfield Village. An attraction made to be a replica of an old-timey American village. It had some craft buildings where you could learn different skills, like glassblowing. There were also some buildings dedicated to the work of Thomas Edison, but the bulk of the place was dedicated to classic houses through the eras. They’d even moved actual old houses there, like poet Robert Frost’s house.
Unfortunately the weather was crappy, so it was wet and cold meaning our interest quickly waned. The sign that our time there was officially done was when I slipped on one of the wooden boardwalks and biffed it head first. Luckily I got away with just a scrapped knee and some muddy clothes, but I suspect I’m gonna feel pretty sore in the morning. What a donut!

We ended our day by driving a couple of hours in the rain to state number 23: Ohio. It seems the good weather we’ve been blessed with up until this point is now going to disappear as we head further east. Good job we invested in an umbrella today…and I do mean invested. Damn thing cost us $15…No wonder Henry Ford became a billionaire with prices like that!
So, until tomorrow…

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