The calendar tells me that summer ended on September 23 this year. I know better. It really ended with the conclusion of our September 6-7 Old Car Festival, the traditional finish to The Henry Ford’s busy summer event season. But now that it’s fall by anyone’s measure, it seems like a good time to look back on this year’s show.
Approximately 900 cars, trucks and bicycles, none newer than 1932, turned Greenfield Village into a veritable motor museum – and one where most of the vehicles operated, at that! Steam and electric vehicles -- along with a few obscure marques -- offered variety, while the mass of Model Ts and Model As reminded us of how popular those Fords were in their time.
The very first episode of our new television show, "The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation" airs tomorrow morning during CBS' Dream Team lineup. We can't wait for you all to see the first episode, "Microscopic Windmills," featuring our own Menlo Park Laboratory in Greenfield Village. You can see a sneak peek below.
It’s that time of year again, and Old Car Festival inside The Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village is the place to see Ford Model As. The beloved automobile will make up almost a quarter of the sweet rides on display this year. But wait, Old Car Festival covers 42 years of vehicles, 1890-1932, so why are there so many from the four years the Model A was produced? After some research and talking with our Curator of Transportation Matt Anderson, here’s why.
In the classic baseball movie, The Natural, one of Roy Hobbs’ (played by Robert Redford) most memorable lines comes as he is sitting in a hospital bed, realizing that his final game is just days away.
“God, I love baseball,” Hobbs declares softly with a tilt of his head and a sincere look in his eyes that tells you how much he really means it. Watching that scene, you know Hobbs doesn’t care about the money that can be made playing baseball. He only cares about the pure joy of playing.
Well, Roy Hobbs would certainly fit right in with those who play Historic Base Ball at Greenfield Village.
Memorial Day, June 1, school letting out. It seems there are plenty of different dates that mark the beginning of summer for some people; the summer solstice on June 21 being far too late.
For me, summer has always begun with the flash of sunshine on chrome-heavy bumpers, the throaty roar of a high-performance engine, and the smell of barbecue tinged with a bit of exhaust – for me, summer begins on June 14 this year, and every year around this time, with our Motor Muster car show in Greenfield Village.
This event is the essence of summertime fun – distilled delight for all the senses. Just as novelist Ray Bradbury in his 1957 classic, Dandelion Wine, described the nostalgic summer wine made by the main character’s grandfather, Motor Muster is “...summer on the tongue...(it’s) summer caught and stoppered.”
Visitors to Henry Ford Museum will see a new vehicle in Driving America. Edsel Ford’s 1941 Lincoln Continental convertible is now in the exhibit’s “Design” section, located just behind Lamy’s Diner. The original Lincoln Continental, built between 1939 and 1948, is regarded as one of the most beautiful automobiles ever to come out of Detroit. It’s an important design story that we’re delighted to share.
The Continental’s tale began in the fall of 1938 as Edsel Ford returned from a trip to Europe. While overseas, Ford was struck by the look of European sports cars with their long hoods, short trunks and rear-mounted spare tires. When Ford got home, he approached Lincoln designer E.T. “Bob” Gregorie and asked him to create a custom car with a “continental” look. Using the Lincoln Zephyr as his base, Gregorie produced an automobile with clean, pure lines free of superfluous chrome ornaments or then-standard running boards.
It’s with much excitement today that I announce that The Henry Ford has partnered with Litton Entertainment, a leading independent production and distribution company, on a new national television series. The show will be called The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation and it will premiere on CBS this coming fall.
The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation will be a weekly half-hour news magazine hosted by Mo Rocca, of CBS News broadcasting, and two correspondents. The show will present inspiring and often untold stories using The Henry Ford’s archive of American Innovation to showcase present-day change-makers and the possibilities for future progress.
It’s been three months since my first visit to our Pottery Shop to learn about our potters’ studio pottery challenge. Since then the team has been hard at work not only finishing their pieces but getting back into the day-to-day routine that comes with the village being open to guests. Recently I paid my last visit to the group to see the final results and learn more about what each team member took away from the project.
For Alex Pratt, he was very surprised by how his pieces turned out. Some results were very unexpected, but that made for good results. He’s very excited by the promise of some new slip colors he was working with.
“I’m really pleased where this let me go,” he said. “I’ve got a lot to take away mentally; it was a really energizing project.”
Melinda Mercer was also very pleased with how her pieces looked after being fired, specifically the colors that were achieved. Our new salt kiln has been fired just four times so far, so it’s still very exciting to see how the pieces are developing. Melinda’s custom-stamped piecing required a lot of time-consuming glazing, but in the end it was totally worth it. The contrast between the glazed and unglazed portions are some of her favorite results.
“It was a very valuable experience to try things we don’t normally do,” she said.
For John Ahearn, the sculptural bowl he created was his favorite piece. He was very excited to see that his cake plate made it through the firing process. After all, “lots of funky things can happen in firing,” he said. As I took photos and admired the team’s hard work, John said how cool it was to see the group’s pieces finished and on display, especially thinking back to the first day he was given the creative assignment. He then summed up his feelings with a smile and this statement that I think we can all be appreciative of.
“I’m just really glad to be a potter.”
Keep an eye on the Pottery Shop and our Liberty Craftworks store in Greenfield Village in the coming weeks; not only may you be able to see the team’s hard work up close, but purchase one of these one-of-a-kind items, too!
Lish Dorset is Social Media Manager at The Henry Ford.