images of the restored bus and a 360° view of the interior
sitting unprotected in a field for 30 years, it is not surprising
work. Its seats and engine had been removed, many windows were broken,
metal had rusted through and the paint job was a mere shadow of
Museum staff, led by conservator Malcolm Collum, carefully examined
the vehicle and consulted with various experts. Bids were solicited
from three companies interested and qualified to do the restoration
work. Finally, MSX International, an automotive engineering and
technical services firm headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, was
selected to perform the restoration work at a cost in excess of
Museum and MSX employees are researching every aspect of the bus
so that the restoration is truly authentic. Original material from
this bus will be reused wherever possible and original parts from
identical 1948 GM buses will be used when necessary. Our goal is
to restore the bus to its condition in 1955, a seven-year-old urban
the Museum has found help from the federal government in paying
for the restoration.
“The bus in which Rosa Parks helped inaugurate the civil
rights movement will be restored in Dearborn, Mich., by the Henry
Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.” With those words, the
President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities announced
in September 2002 that the Rosa Parks bus project had received $205,000
in funding through the Save America's Treasures Program.
“These Save America’s Treasures grants help
ensure that the nation’s priceless cultural heritage will
be passed on to future generations of Americans for many years to
come. From monuments to manuscripts, the rich and varied stories
of American democracy are being preserved and told,” said
Adair Margo, Chairman of the President’s Committee.
The program received 389 grant applications from eligible federal
agencies, state, local and tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations.
A panel of experts representing preservation and conservation disciplines
reviewed the applications and recommended 80 awards totaling $15.6
million for approval.
Selection criteria required that each project be of national significance,
demonstrate an urgent preservation need, have an educational or
other public benefit, and demonstrate the likely availability of
non-federal matching funds. The Rosa Parks bus qualified in all
The restored bus will be on exhibit in time for the museum’s
“Celebrate Black History” program beginning February
For more information about Save America’s Treasures,