The Reading Room is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9:30am-5:00pm. Please note we are not open Saturday and Sunday, although you can still visit Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum on those days. Walk-ins are welcome, but if you make an appointment, we can better prepare for your research visit by making a list of possible collections of interest and pulling material in advance so that you can make the most of your research time here.
We are closed for 11 holidays each year; if the holiday falls on a weekend, it will be observed on a weekday:
New Year’s Day
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
The Henry Ford’s All Staff Conference (January)
Thanksgiving and the day after
Where is the Research Center located?
The Benson Ford Research Center building is east of the Henry Ford Museum building on the Josephine F. Ford plaza entrance to Greenfield Village. If you walk into the main Greenfield Village entrance you will be in the Josephine F. Ford Plaza. The main entrance to the research center is on your left. You do not need a ticket to Greenfield Village to enter the plaza or visit the Research Center. The Reading Room is located on the first floor directly to your right as you enter the front door.
Parking is free to all visitors. Visitor parking is located west of the Museum just off Oakwood Blvd and along Village Road south of Greenfield Village. Spaces are available for buses and RVs. See Parking & Directions for more information.
Can I do research for free?
The Benson Ford Research Center is open free of charge to the general public. Staff is always available to assist you in finding materials appropriate for your needs. It is not required, but we encourage you to make an appointment before coming in so that we can have material prepared for you. If you cannot visit the reading room, off-site services are available for a fee.
Can I bring in a camera, computer, scanner, or video camera?
Computers may be brought into the Reading Room. Cases need to be put in lockers. Digital cameras may be used following policies and procedures. Video cameras and scanners are not permitted.
How is the Benson Ford Research Center different from my public library?
We do not cover all the varied subjects of public libraries. The focus of our collections is the history of American culture, the impact of the automobile, industrial manufacturing and design, and many other aspects of American culture.
Can I check out books or other materials?
Our collections are available for research but do not circulate because they are often unique and irreplaceable. We do offer a photocopying service.
Do you have antiques there?
Museum objects (or three-dimensional objects) are not kept in the Research Center. In addition to our library books, you can access our rare books and archival collections in our public Reading Room. However, if you are interested in viewing a three-dimensional artifact that is not on display in the Museum or Village, check out our Special Access program.
Who uses the Benson Ford Research Center?
All sorts of people! We are open to everyone. Many members of the general public come to the Reading Room to do research for personal interest, school papers, and books and periodical articles on any number of subjects. Topics can range from how to repair antique automobiles or find illustrations for publications and film documentaries, to the history of women's clothing in the United States or a survey of agricultural equipment used in the early 20th century. We will be happy to assist you in looking for information on your topic.
I want to know how much this object I have is worth. Can I get it appraised there?
The Henry Ford does not offer an appraisal service, but there are two organizations that can direct you to a reputable antique dealer in your area. The American Society of Appraisers will ask you to identify your area of interest (dishes, silver, furniture, etc.) and your location (city, state, area code, zip code, etc.). The other organization is the Appraisers Association of America.
Who is Benson Ford?
Benson Ford was the second son of Edsel and Eleanor Ford and grandson of Henry and Clara Ford. He served as trustee of the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village for 36 years and succeeded his grandfather as the second Chairman of the Board for the museum from Henry Ford's death in 1947 until 1951. His deep dedication to this institution is honored by his children, Lynn Ford Alandt and Benson Ford, Jr. through their generosity in providing major support for the Benson Ford Research Center.