Past Forward

Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

Conscious Conservation Is In

April 1, 2020
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"Fixing Cars, a Peoples Primer," 1974. THF103464

The concept of resourceful living is nothing new. Many people have been reducing, reusing and recycling for years. But now that we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, it seems that “conspicuous consumption” is out and “conscious conservation” is in.


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"How to Fix Your Bicycle". THF206623

As we all learn to make do in our new world of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, here’s a look at how Americans have practiced resourceful living in the past. Whether it’s fixing the family car yourself, being proactive in your family’s health and well-being, or simply taking advantage of your extra at-home time to finally get organized, you’ll find much to inspire you in the collections of The Henry Ford.

In the Garage
The Railroad Roundhouse
“Fixing Cars, a People's Primer”
FIXD Car Diagnostic Sensor (as seen on The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation
“Anybody’s Bike Book”
“How to Fix Your Bicycle”
“A Rough Guide to Bicycle Maintenance”

Improvisation & Fixing Things
Whole Earth Catalogs
Quilt Maker Susana Hunter
Susana Hunter (as seen on The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation)

Revisit the Break, Repair, Repeat: Spontaneous & Improvised Design exhibit, on view Summer 2019
Video Tour of the Exhibit
Expert Set (Highlight Artifacts from the Exhibit)
Press Coverage by The Detroit News

Staying Healthy & Keeping Germs at Bay
Phone Soap (as seen on The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation)
Anti-Germ Sponge (as seen on The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation)
Historic Soap and Household Detergent Packaging
Braniff International Airways Bar Soap
For Health, Food and Fun Keep a Garden

An Organized Workspace
Julia Child’s Kitchen
Overhead Drawing of Julia Child's Kitchen
L. Miller & Son Store Displays of Hardware
Hoosier-Style Kitchen Cabinet
Handy Helper Utility Cabinet

Matt Anderson is Curator of Transportation at The Henry Ford.

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