The experts at The Henry Ford have carefully created these sets. Explore a specific topic or use these as a foundation for building your own collection.
In 2020, the novel coronavirus COVID-19 sparked a worldwide pandemic. In response, The Henry Ford closed its doors on March 13 of that year and did not open them again until July 2. During that time, our Digital Collections was the most popular section of our website. Here are the artifacts virtual visitors were browsing most often during our closure, in order of popularity. Do you see patterns?
These key artifacts appeared on the sixth season of The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation. For episode information, please visit https://www.thehenryford.org/explore/innovation-nation/episodes.
Auto racing pushes drivers and cars to their limits, advances new technologies, and entertains loyal fans. It also sells cars. Manufacturers have applied racing-inspired names to brands and models for more than a century. Some of these cars had horsepower and speed worthy of their lofty labels, but others simply suggested a connection to a great racing track, series, or personality. For many buyers, that was enough.
American racing reflects the very character of the American people. Its diverse forms and settings appeal to our independent spirit. Its sights and sounds satisfy our love of spectacle. And its dangers affirm our identity as a nation of risk takers, forever pushing limits. The cars in Driven to Win: Racing in America Presented by General Motors were made and used by athletes, innovators and entrepreneurs who defined American motorsport.
Every four years, The Henry Ford collects material related to the upcoming Presidential election. In 2020, this included the traditional--yard signs, buttons--but also the more unique. Our efforts documented the campaigns themselves and myriad adjacent issues that shaped the election: social unrest, the pandemic, voting rights, and the USPS crisis. Here is a small selection of the items we acquired.
At the one-year anniversary of the start of closures and lockdowns in the United States related to the 2020-21 COVID-19 pandemic, we, as so many others, are reflecting on those who kept our society running while our day-to-day life radically changed. These artifacts show how much we have always depended on the "essential workers" covered here (and many others not covered), while a pandemic year brought that dependence into sharper relief.
In 1973, AT&T partnered with Henry Dreyfuss & Associates, creating a collection of specialty "Design Line" telephones. From colonial pastiche to space age futurism, customers could tailor their telephone to fit a range of home decors. These devices were sold before the Bell System divestiture in the early-1980s. Customers paid a premium for the custom phone shell, but its interior mechanisms continued to be maintained and owned by AT&T.
2020 was a noteworthy year, with a worldwide pandemic, protests across the United States (and beyond) in support of Black lives, and a contentious presidential election. What artifacts from our collections were you looking at this year? Auto racing items, objects related to African American history, cars, and shoes were among our most-viewed artifacts in this unusual year.
Jessica Robinson, co-founder of Detroit Mobility Lab, Michigan Mobility Institute, and Assembly Ventures, was the Spring 2020 Entrepreneur-in-Residence at The Henry Ford, funded by the William Davidson Foundation Initiative for Entrepreneurship. In the following interview clips, Robinson explains how her organizations -- and even her residency projects -- encourage technological education in the midst of dramatic new transportation technologies.