During the course of two posts, I went into detail for all of the world-class museums that the city has to offer. If you are not sure where to find the two posts, no worries, you can read them here and here. Even with all those museums you can visit for things to do in Detroit, Michigan, there is one large, impressive museum complex that I would like to introduce you to.
It is called The Henry Ford and it is located on Oakwood Boulevard in Dearborn which is a neighboring suburb of Detroit. It is a hybrid indoor/outdoor museum complex which is the largest in the United States. The best way for me to summarize the museum complex is it explores the history of all things Americana. The museum complex contain two museums for you to visit.
Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation is, as the name indicates, concerned with the inventions and breakthroughs that transformed America. The museum houses around 22 exhibits or so. They cover a wide range of categories. Here are some examples of exhibits that you will discover at the museum. Math geeks will want to check out the exhibit called Mathematica.
In this exhibit, you will discover how math was used in the 1960’s to invent things like bubbles that appear impossible or ball bearings that behaves like orbiting planets. It explores the connection between math and the everyday world. The museum’s Railroad exhibit houses the Allegheny locomotive which is one of the largest steam locomotive ever built.
This steam locomotive measures at 125 feet long. It weighs in at around 771,000 pounds and is capable of pulling 160 coal cars with loads of 60 ton each. Car enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Driving America exhibit. This is where you can check out a sizable collection of cool cars from across time periods such as the 1903 Oldsmobile, the 1965 Ford Mustang Convertible, and the 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air.
You will also learn about how cars have evolved over the decades from Henry Ford’s first attempt at a gas-powered car with the 1896 Ford Quadricycle to General Motors’ first testing of self-driving cars in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona in 2016. For those of you who are into planes, the Heroes of the Skies exhibit is your best friend at the museum.
This is where you can view a nice collection of antique planes. This includes the 1903 Wright Flyer which was the first plane to successfully complete a flight. It was piloted by the Wright brothers over Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. If you are curious about what American furnitures looked like centuries ago, the best place at the museum to find out is the Fully Furnished exhibit.
There, you can check out an amazing collection of furnitures from 1670 to the present. The ticket prices for the museum are $25 for general admission, $22.50 for seniors, and $18.75 for youth aged from 5 to 11. Those who are aged under 5 will get free admission. You can head here to buy your tickets.
Greenfield Village is a living history museum designed to showcase what the American way of life was like back in the old days. It takes the form of a village and cover three hundred years of American history. The museum is divided into seven historic districts for you to explore. First up is the Working Farms district. There, you will get a picture of what farming was like in 19th century America.
It is brimming with wagons, livestock, and fields of ripening vegetables. The second district is called Liberty Craftworks. This is where you can watch talented artisans work on their crafts using techniques that are centuries old in some cases. It offers a taste of what early American manufacturing looked like. One place within the district you will want to check out is the Sandwich Glass Plant.
It is there that you can watch the glass blowing demonstrations. The third district at the museum to check out is Henry Ford’s Model T. While you are there, you can experience the life of Henry Ford from his early childhood to his invention of America’s first automobile – the Ford Model T. You can explore a replica of the home where Henry was born.
Also worth checking out is a replica of the factory where the Ford Model T was built. The most fun part? You can even test ride a Ford Model T. Railroad Junction is the fourth district. In this district, you can explore a 19th century small town that revolves around a steam-powered rail line. Among the places you can check out are a train depot and a roundhouse.
Oh and yes, you can even ride the train that goes on a nice tour through Greenfield Village. Your next district should be Main Street. It will immerse you into a thriving small town downtown that straddles the 19th and early 20th centuries. You will get to enjoy a parade of cool vintage cars and horse-drawn carriages on the street there. Next up is the Edison at Work district.
It revolves around the iconic 19th century American inventor, Thomas Edison. He is best known for inventing the lightbulb. This district is a replica of Menlo Park, New Jersey in 1876 when Thomas was there. You can check out the two laboratories where he worked on honing his world-changing inventions. The last district to check out is called Porches and Parlors.
This is the place where you can explore the historic homes from time periods ranging from the 1760’s to the 1930’s. As you explore them, you will learn about the lives of those who lived there. The prices of tickets for the museum are $28 for general admission, $25.25 for seniors, and $21 for youth aged from 5 to 11.
Free admission is given to those under the age of 5. You can visit here to purchase your tickets.
So, you are going to want to visit The Henry Ford for things to do in Detroit, Michigan. As you can see, there is a lot for you to take in. So, take your time exploring all that the museum complex has to offer.
Should you need a place to stay at during your Detroit visit, I am happy to help you out with this. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.
Comfort Inn Near Greenfield Village
This hotel is located on Michigan Avenue in Dearborn just across the railroad from the museum complex. This is probably the closest hotel to your destination. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Ford’s Garage, Eagle Tavern, and Lamy’s Diner. The hotel house an indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center for you to use.
All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, coffee makers, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $74 to $181. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.
What are your thoughts? Have you been to the museum complex before? Feel free to leave a comment below.