Past Forward

Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

This Father’s Day treat dad to two favorite dishes from our chefs at The Henry Ford – pulled pork from A Taste of History and pioneering cookbook author Fannie Farmer’s macaroni and cheese.

A Taste of History Pulled Pork
This true summertime favorite will take a little extra time, but it is so worth it. This will freeze and reheat well, so you can have many meals from it.

1 cup chili powder
½ cup ground cumin
½ cup garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground oregano
½ cup kosher salt
1 boneless pork shoulder (pork butt), about 8 pounds                    

Mix the dry ingredients together to make a spice rub. (This rub can be used to season almost anything that goes on a grill.) Generously coat the pork on all sides with the spice rub, then wrap it in plastic and refrigerate overnight. The next day, preheat the oven to 300 F. Place the meat in a covered baking dish, Dutch oven or roasting pan, leaving plenty of space around the meat. Add warm water until the pork is almost half submerged (the amount will vary according to the dish used). Bake for 5-6 hours or until fork-tender. If there is any doubt, let it cook longer. Once out of the oven, drain the liquid, reserving it for the barbecue sauce (recipe below), and let pork cool on the counter until easier to handle, about 1 hour. Using forks or tongs, shred the pork, but not too fine. Remove any large fat pieces.

A Taste of History Pulled Pork Barbecue Sauce

¼ cup olive oil
16 ounces sliced onions
2  12-ounce cans plum tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cloves
¼ cup kosher salt
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup molasses
1 cup Worcestershire sauce
½ cup prepared mustard

While the pork is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pot and cook the onions until tender. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an hour, whisking often. Add the reserved liquid from the cooked pork, first pouring off the fat from the top. While the barbecue sauce is still hot, pour it over the shredded pork and mix it in. Cover and keep warm until served.

Serve the pulled pork on your favorite burger buns, a baked potato, cornbread or by itself. Bread and butter pickles are a perfect side.

Fannie Farmer Mac and Cheese
½ pound butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound elbow noodles
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided


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Preheat oven to 350 F. Melt butter in large saucepan. Add flour to butter, cooking until a very light tan while stirring constantly. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently simmer for 15-20 minutes until flour taste is gone. Meanwhile, cook the noodles in salted water until tender; drain well. Combine the hot noodles, milk mixture and 2 cups of the cheese. Put into baking pan and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake until cheese is lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes, depending on desired crispness. Enjoy immediately. It will also hold nicely for an hour if kept warm. 

recipes, food

We hope you enjoyed this week’s experiences focused on Learning from Failure. Were you inspired to create or invent something? Please share your story or photos with us on social media using #WeAreInnovationNation!

If you missed anything from our series this past week, check out the recordings and resources below. We hope that you will join us this upcoming week to explore new themes drawn from our Model i Learning Framework, focusing on how innovators Challenge the Rules.

What We Covered This Week
How can we learn from our mistakes?

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STEAM Stories
Our STEAM story of the week was After the Fall, How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat. Everyone knows that Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, but what happened after?  How did he summon the courage to overcome his fears?

Then we learned about the many ways we use rocks with a lesson from  our early childhood curriculum, Innovate for Tots and a coloring page featuring the Cotswold Cottage. Watch the video here.

Social Tiles_w10d2-02

#InnovationNation Tuesdays

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educational resources, Model i, innovation learning

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Once we complete our Sagan, it will seamlessly integrate artifacts, textual content, furnishings, and custom-created 3D artwork--something like this example we’ve been playing around with.

For nearly a decade, The Henry Ford has been adding items to our Digital Collections, which now contain over 95,000 digitized artifacts. For almost as long, we’ve been exploring creative ways to work with those world-renowned assets--from including our entire digitized collection on touch-screen kiosks in Driving America back in 2012 to linking tens of thousands of digital artifacts using curator- and AI-created connections in our latest exhibit, Intersection of Innovation.

Some of the best explorations of our digitized collections come through collaborations with partners who can take our content to new levels. Working with other organizations and companies to figure out how we can simultaneously highlight both their platforms and technologies and our own digital assets is a challenge in innovation. Today, we’re excited to tease one such partnership project that is coming soon: a new “Sagan,” created in collaboration with Saganworks.


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This is what our Sagan looked like before we added any furnishings or artifacts to the space. Different collections will be highlighted in each “room” within the Sagan.

SaganWorksLogoSaganworks is an Ann Arbor, Michigan–based technology startup with a big goal--to bring multimedia into 3D space and change the way people interact with either their personal content or traditionally in-person spaces, such as museums and storefronts. Individuals can build a virtual room, otherwise known as a Sagan, capable of storing content in a wide variety of file formats, and virtually walk through their rooms like a gallery. With the combination of audio, visuals and a wide variety of customizations to choose from (such as furniture and room layout), individuals are able to experience their Sagans holistically, making Saganworks not just an alternative to in-person spaces, but a unique adventure.

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technology, by Shanley Carlton, by Casey Hyde, by Ellice Engdahl, by Samantha Johnson, Saganworks, entrepreneurship, digital collections

Over the last two years, if you happened to peek through the windows of The Henry Ford’s conservation lab windows, you might have seen a large, wooden, box-like object on the table. You may have speculated about what it was – a camera, a projector? The answer is that this device is called a “Megalethoscope” – a Victorian photography viewer created optical illusions using light and photographic images.

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The Megalethoscope during treatment in the lab.

The Megalethoscope is one of thousands of objects from The Henry Ford’s Collections Storage Building (CSB) that is being conserved, digitized, and rehoused thanks to a ‘Museums for America Collections Stewardship’ grant from the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS), received in October 2017. Heading behind the scenes, this blog will explain the process that an artifact moves through from conservation to photography—and eventually, becoming viewable on Digital Collections.  

Conservation Treatment

Once an artifact is selected, tagged, and inventoried, it is given a preliminary cleaning with a vacuum and transported into the Conservation Lab.

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(Left) Photo of how the Megalethoscope was found in storage; (Center) The instruction panel that shows how the Megalethoscope works; (Right) The Megalethoscope mounted correctly on its stand.

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The top panels on the Megalethoscope before and after it was cleaned and waxed.

Prior to cleaning, a small spot was tested to determine the best method and materials to use.  A mild detergent, diluted in distilled water did the best cleaning job without damaging the wood. The cleaning solution was gently rubbed on the wood surfaces with swabs to remove all of the dirt and grime, and then the surface was cleared with distilled water to remove soap residue. To bring back the shine of the wood finish, furniture wax was applied and buffed.


Years of storage on its end had caused the joints of the Megalethoscope’s viewer to separate (highlighted in red). Damaged areas were repaired removing the old, dried-up glue, and replacing it with fresh glue.

Large shrinkage cracks had developed in the two side panels that serve as light reflectors, and in the back panel that covers a large pane of glass. Shrinkage cracks develop when wood expands and contracts because temperature and humidity levels fluctuate too much.

Since the cracks were big enough to see through (approximately 1/8th inch wide) thin strips of Japanese tissue paper were soaked with a reversible adhesive, then dried, to fill each of the cracks. As each strip of tissue was compacted into the cracks, the adhesive was activated with solvent. This caused the dry paper to adhere to the edges of the crack and create a bridge. This fill was smoothed down flush with the rest of the wood panel, providing an even surface that could be in-painted to match the adjoining wood panels.

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Using Japanese tissue to fill shrinkage cracks.

Watercolor and acrylic paints were used on the paper fills to hide the repairs and to paint in the large scratches and abrasions that covered the body of the Megalethoscope. To give the painted areas the same shine as the wood finish, a topcoat of acrylic gloss medium was applied.

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(Left) In-painting the paper filled cracks; (Right) Paper fills after they were painted (in green).

To finish the treatment, the glass and mirror pieces of the Megalethoscope were cleaned with a solution of ethanol and distilled water, then wiped with microfiber cloths to prevent streaking. Any metal parts were cleaned with a mild solvent to remove small areas of corrosion and then waxed and buffed them to bring back their shine.

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The Megalethoscope (Left) before and (Right) after conservation treatment.

Investigating Megalethoscope Slides
During treatment, an original photographic slide left inside of the Megalethoscope was discovered. This led to additional investigation. The slide depicted is of the Ponte dei Sospiri in Venice (the Bridge of Sighs). We wondered if there were more of these slides in the collection and after checking our collections database, found a box labeled “Megalethoscope Slides” in the Benson Ford Research Center (BFRC). The contents of the box were not catalogued, so we decided we needed to go to the Archives to see for ourselves!

When the box was brought to the Reading Room at the BFRC, we opened the box and found 21 slides, all in good condition! Many of the slides were photographs of Italy and Paris, plus a handful depicting interiors.

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(Top) The Ponte dei Sospiri slide with handwritten inscription (Bottom) inside the Megalethoscope after it was taken out of storage.

Megalethoscope slides are large, multi-layered assemblies. Each slide consists of an albumen photographic image with pin pricks matching the areas where there is a light source or reflection (ex. an illuminated cityscape). Behind it are layers of colored tissue or cellophane and sometimes extra imagery when lit from behind; finally, there is a backing of a thinner, translucent canvas. All of this is stretched over a curved wooden frame. The curve creates a stereo view of the image which encompasses the viewer’s sight lines when they place their head into the Megalethoscope, much the way today’s virtual reality goggles work. Light is directed onto the slide to create different effects.

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Cross section of a Megalethoscope slide. (Image courtesy of The American Institute for Conservation & Artistic Works, Photographic Materials Group Journal, Topics in Photographic Preservation 1999, Vol. 8, Art.5 (pp.23-30).

The slide that was found with the Megalethoscope in storage did not have any color effects, so we were excited to find that the majority of the slides in our archives had variations in color and optical illusions. The slides were moved to the conservation lab, where their surfaces were gently vacuumed. A smoke sponge removed any remaining dust and dirt. A few of the slides had small punctures or tears to the canvas, but since they were stable, we decided to not repair them at the present. We were thrilled to be able to reunite the slides with the Megalethoscope and have a fully functioning artifact!

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(Top Left & Right) In "St. Mark's Square” you can see how people appear when light is applied to the image.

Photographing the Megalethoscope

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The Megalethoscope on a cart for ease of movement during photography.

There are many steps that artifacts go through to be digitized and made available online, especially for objects as complex as the Megalethoscope. After the slides were conserved and cataloged, they were brought to the photography studio. For 3-D artifacts like the Megalethoscope, photography typically includes an image of the front, the back, and each side, if necessary. Photos serve as a reference material for historical researchers, and they document the condition of the artifact at that time.

The slides needed to be photographed in two ways: as they appeared in normal light, and as they would be seen through the Megalethoscope.  Our senior photographer Rudy Ruzicska came up with a very clever arrangement to recreate this effect by placing two sets of milk crates with a sheet of Plexiglas suspended between them. He placed lights directly under and at an acute angle above the Plexiglas. The slides were placed in the middle of the Plexiglas with black paper border around the edges to prevent any light glare.

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Light arrangement for photography of Megalethoscope slides. (Left) Rudy shooting with his custom set-up during the dark shot of the “St. Mark’s Square” slide; (Right) A closer view of the set-up.

The Megalethoscope images were then photographed under normal (“daytime”) light to document their appearance, and with their “nighttime” illumination effect by turning off the studio lights. The first time we saw the images illuminated in the dark, we all gasped – they became so vibrant and magical! 

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A selection of the final images, with color and effects as they would have been seen inside the Megalethoscope.

The Megalethoscope was re-housed in a specially designed box which will store the unit and its base together safely, along with all of the slides. It was then moved to permanent storage in the Main Storage Building (MSB), as have most of the artifacts that we have worked on during the IMLS grant.

Thank you for joining me on this behind-the-scenes journey of an artifact from storage, to conservation, and through to digitization. I hope you enjoyed the ride!


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Alicia Halligan is an IMLS Conservation Specialist at The Henry Ford


IMLS grant, digitization, conservation, collections care, by Alicia Halligan, #Behind The Scenes @ The Henry Ford

Many of us have been baking a bit more than usual while staying at home. So, let’s take look at how America’s favorite cookie, the chocolate chip, was born.

Before we get to chocolate chips, let’s talk chocolate. It’s made from the beans of the cacao tree and was introduced by the Aztec and Mayan peoples to Europeans in the late 1500s.  Then a dense, frothy beverage thickened with cornmeal and flavored with chilies, vanilla, and spices, it was used in ancient ceremonies.

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Map of the Americas, 1550. THF284540

Colonial Americans imported cacao from the West Indies. They consumed it as a hot beverage, made from ground cacao beans, sugar, vanilla and water, and served it in special chocolate pots.

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Chocolate Pot, 1760-1790  THF145291

In the 1800s, chocolate made its way into an increasing number of foods, things like custards, puddings, and cookies, and onto chocolate-covered candy. It was not just for drinking anymore!

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Trade Card, Granite Ironware, 1880-1890 THF299872

Today, most Americans say chocolate is their favorite flavor. Are you a milk or dark chocolate fan? My vote? Dark chocolate.

Cookies were special treats into the early 1800s; sweeteners were costly and cookies took more time and labor to make. Imagine easing them in and out of a brick fireplace over with a long-handled peel.

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Detail of late 18th century kitchen in Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. See the kitchen for yourself with this virtual visit.

As kitchen technology improved in the early 1900s, especially the ability to regulate oven temperature, America’s cookie repertoire grew.

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Detail of 1930s kitchen in Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. See the kitchen yourself with this virtual visit

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Until the 1930s, baking chocolate was melted in a double boiler before being added to cookie dough. Check out this 1920 recipe for Chocolate Mousse from our historic recipe bank.   

Then came Ruth Graves Wakefield and the chocolate chip cookie. Ruth, a graduate of the Framingham State Normal School of Household Arts, had taught high school home economics and had worked as a dietitian. 

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Image: "Overlooked No More: Ruth Wakefield, Who Invented the Chocolate Chip Cookie" from The New York Times

In 1930, 27-year-old Ruth and her husband Kenneth opened a restaurant in Whitman, Massachusetts called the Toll House Inn. The building had never been a toll house, but was located on an early road between Boston and New Bedford. The restaurant would grow from seven tables to 60. 

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Toll House Inn business card, 1930s. THF183299

A quick aside: our 1820s Rocks Village Toll House in Greenfield Village. Early travelers paid tolls to use roads or cross bridges. This one collected fares for crossing the Merrimack River.   

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Rocks Village, Massachusetts toll house in Greenfield Village. THF2033

With Ruth Wakefield’s background in household arts, she was well-prepared to put together a menu for her restaurant. It was a great location. The Toll House Inn served not only the locals, but people passing through on their way between Boston and Cape Cod. 

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Toll House Inn business card, 1930s. THF18330

Over time, Ruth’s reputation grew, and the restaurant became well-known for her skillful cooking, wonderful desserts, and excellent service.  On the back of this circa 1945 Toll House Inn postcard, a customer wrote: “…down here two weeks ago & had a grand dinner.” 

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Toll House Inn postcard, about 1945. THF183298

Ruth Wakefield, curious and willing to experiment, liked to create new dishes and desserts to delight her customers. The inn had been serving a butterscotch cookie--which everyone loved--but Ruth wanted to “give them something different.”

About 1938, Ruth had an inspiration. She chopped up a Nestle’s semisweet chocolate bar with an ice pick and stirred the bits into her sweet butter cookie batter.  The chocolate bits melted--and didn’t spread, remaining in chunks throughout the dough.    

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Recipe Booklet, "Favorite Chocolate Recipes made with Nestle's Semi-Sweet Chocolate," 1940. THF125196

Legend has it that the cookies were an accident--that Ruth had expected to get all-chocolate cookies when the chocolate melted. One of those “creation myths?” A great marketing tale? Ruth was a meticulous cook and food science savvy. She said it was a deliberate experiment.

The marriage of sweet, buttery cookie dough and semisweet chocolate was a hit--the cookies quickly became popular with guests. Ruth shared the recipe when asked. Local newspapers published it.  And she included it in the 1938 edition of her “Tried and True Recipes” cookbook.

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The Toll House, Whitman, Massachusetts, circa 1945. THF183297

Nestle’s saw sales of its semisweet chocolate bar jump dramatically in New England--especially after the cookie was featured on a local radio show.  When Nestle discovered why, they signed a contract with Ruth Wakefield, allowing Nestle to print the recipe on every package. 

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Nestle’s truck, 1934. Z0001194


Nestle began scoring its semisweet chocolate bar, packaging it with a small chopper for easy cutting into morsels. The result was chocolate “chips”--hence the name.   

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Recipe Booklet, "Favorite Chocolate Recipes made with Nestle's Semi-Sweet Chocolate," 1940. THF125194

In 1939, Nestle introduced semisweet morsels. Baking Toll House Cookies became even more convenient, since you didn’t have to cut the chocolate into pieces.

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Toll House Cookies and Other Favorite Chocolate Recipes Made with Nestle's Semi-Sweet Chocolate, 1941. THF183303

Nestle included the Toll House Cookie “backstory” and the recipe in booklets promoting their semisweet chocolate. 

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During World War II, Nestle encouraged people to send Toll House Cookies to soldiers. For many, it was their first taste of a chocolate chip cookie--its popularity spread beyond New England.

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Advertisement, "His One Weakness, Toll House Cookies from Home" November 1943. 
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The homemaker in this 1940s Nestle’s ad celebrates her success as a hostess when serving easy-to-make Toll House Cookies. Chocolate chips would, indeed, soon become our “national cookie.” 

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They Never Get Enough of My Toll-House Cookies!, 1945-1950. THF183304

Chocolate chip morsels were a great idea, so other companies followed suit.

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Recipe Leaflet, "9 Famous Recipes for Hershey's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Dainties," 1956. THF295928

Other delectable treats, like these “Chocolate Refresher” bars shown in this 1960 ad, can be made with chocolate morsels. The possibilities are endless.

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Nestle's Semi-Sweet Morsels Advertisement, "Goody for You," 1960. THF43907

More from The Henry Ford: Enjoy a quick “side trip” to this blog about more American chocolate classics.

Holiday baking is a cherished tradition for many. Chocolate chip cookies are frequently a key player in the seasonal repertoire. Hallmark captured holiday baking memories in this ornament.

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Hallmark "Christmas Cookies" Christmas Ornament, 2004. THF177747

The museum’s 1946 Lamy’s Diner serves Toll House Cookies. Whip up a batch of chocolate chips at home and enjoy a virtual visit

Cookie dough + chocolate chips = America’s favorite cookie! It may have been simple, but no one else had ever tried it before! Hats off to Ruth Wakefield!

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Toll House Cookies and Other Favorite Chocolate Recipes Made with Nestle's Semi-Sweet Chocolate, 1941. THF183301

After all this talk of all things chocolate, are you ready for a cookie? This well-known cookie lover probably is!

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Cookie Monster Toy Clock, 1982-1986. THF318447 

Jeanine Head Miller is Curator of Domestic Life at The Henry Ford.

restaurants, women's history, recipes, food, entrepreneurship, by Jeanine Head Miller, #THFCuratorChat

We hope you enjoyed this week’s experiences focused on Taking Risks. Were you inspired to create or invent something? Please share your story or photos with us on social media using #WeAreInnovationNation!

If you missed anything from our series this past week, check out the recordings and resources below. We hope that you will join us this upcoming week to explore new themes drawn from our Model i Learning Framework, focusing on how innovators Learn from Failure.

What We Covered This Week
How can we be brave and do new things to make the world a better place?

STEAM Stories
Our STEAM story of the week was I Will Be Fierce by Bea Birdsong and illustrated by Nidhi Chanani. I Will Be Fierce was a 2020 Southern Book Prize Finalist and is a powerful picture book about courage, confidence, kindness, and finding the extraordinary in everyday moments. Check it out with your favorite online reading service. Then we learned about the many ways we use metal and fabric with a lesson from  our early childhood curriculum, Innovate for Tots and a coloring page featuring George Washington’s Camp Bed.

#InnovationNation Tuesdays

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Model i, educational resources, innovation learning

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Detail, THF104041

At a time when Americans are traveling less and the lodging industry is making big changes, let’s take a look back at the story of Kemmons Wilson, whose Holiday Inns revolutionized roadside lodging in the mid-20th century.

In the early days of automobile travel, motorists had few lodging options. Some stayed in city hotels; others camped in cars or pitched tents. Before long, entrepreneurs began to offer tents or cabins for the night.

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Auto Campers with Ford Model T Touring Car and Tent, circa 1919 THF105459

More from The Henry Ford: Here’s a look inside a 1930s tourist cabin. Originally from the Irish Hills area of Michigan, the cabin is now on exhibit in Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. For motorists weary of camping out, these affordable “homes away from home” offered a warmer, more comfortable night’s sleep than a tent. You can read more about tourist cabins and see photos of this one on its original site in this blog post.

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Soon, “motels” -- shortened from “motor hotels” -- evolved to meet travelers’ needs. Compared to other lodging options, these mostly mom-and-pop operations were comfortable and convenient. They were also affordable. This expert set showcases the wide variety of motels that dotted the American landscape in the mid-20th century.

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Crouse's Motor Court, a motel in Fort Dodge, Iowa THF210276

More from The Henry Ford: Photographer John Margolies documented the wild advertising some roadside motels employed to tempt passing motorists (check out some of his shots in our digital collections), and our curator of public life, Donna Braden, chatted with MoRocca about motorists’ early lodging options on The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation (you can watch here).

After World War II, more Americans than ever before hit the open road for business and leisure travel. Associations like Best Western helped travelers find reliable facilities, but motel standards were inconsistent, and there was no guarantee that rooms would meet even limited expectations. When a building developer named Kemmons Wilson took a family road trip in 1951, he got fed up with motel rooms that he found to be uncomfortable and overpriced (he especially disliked being charged extra for his children to stay). Back home in Memphis, Tennessee, he decided to build his own group of motels.

As a young man, Wilson (born in 1913) displayed an entrepreneurial streak. To help support his widowed mother, Wilson earned money in many ways, including selling popcorn at a movie theater, leasing pinball machines, and working as a jukebox distributor. By the early 1950s, Wilson had made a name for himself in real estate, homebuilding, and the movie theater business.

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Later in life, Kemmons Wilson tracked down his first popcorn machine and kept it in his office as a reminder of his early entrepreneurial pursuits. Detail, THF212457

Kemmons Wilson trusted his hunch that other travelers had the same demands as his own family -- quality lodging at fair prices. He opened his first group of motels, called “Holiday Inns,” in Memphis starting in 1952. Wilson’s gamble paid off -- within a few years, Holiday Inns had revolutionized industry standards and become the nation’s largest lodging chain.

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An early Holiday Inn “Court” in Memphis, 1958
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What set Holiday Inns apart? Consistent, quality service and amenities Guests could expect free parking, air conditioning, in-room telephones and TVs, free ice, and a pool and restaurant at each location. And -- Kemmons Wilson determined -- no extra charge for children!

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Swimming Pool at Holiday Inn of Daytona Beach, Florida, 1961 THF104037

Thanks to the chain’s reliable offerings (including complimentary toiletries!), many guests chose a Holiday Inn for every trip.

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Holiday Inn Bar Soap, 1960-1970 THF150050

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Holiday Inn Sewing Kit, circa 1968
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Inspired by Holiday Inns’ success, competitors began offering many of the same services and amenities. Kemmons Wilson had set a new standard -- multistory motels with carpeted, air conditioned rooms became the norm.

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"Sol-Mar Motel," an example of a Holiday Inn-style motel in Jacksonville Beach, Florida THF210272

Kemmons Wilson knew location was key. He chose sites on the right-hand side of major roadways (to make stopping convenient for travelers) and took risks, buying property based on plans for the new Interstate Highway System.

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Holiday Inn adjacent to highways in Paducah, Kentucky, 1966
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Holiday Inns’ iconic “Great Signs” beckoned travelers along roadways across the country from the 1950s into the 1980s. Kemmons Wilson’s mother, Ruby “Doll” Wilson, selected the sign’s green and yellow color scheme. She also designed the décor of the original Holiday Inn guestrooms!

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Holiday Inn "Great" Sign, circa 1960
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Holiday Inns unveiled a new "roadside" design in the late 1950s: two buildings -- one for guestrooms and one for the lobby, restaurant, and meeting spaces -- surrounding a recreational courtyard. These roadside Holiday Inns featured large glass walls. The inexpensive material lowered construction costs while creating a modern look and brightening guestrooms. The recreated Holiday Inn room in Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation demonstrates the “glass wall” design. Take a virtual visit here.

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Holiday Inn Courtyard, Lebanon, Tennessee, circa 1962 THF204446

After becoming a public company in 1957, Holiday Inns developed a network of manufacturers and suppliers to meet its growing operational needs. To help regulate and maintain standards, property managers (called “Innkeepers”) ordered nearly everything -- from linens and cleaning supplies to processed foods and promotional materials -- from a Holiday Inns subsidiary. This menu, printed by Holiday Inns’ own “Holiday Press,” shows how nearly every detail of a guest’s stay -- even meals -- met corporate specifications.

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Holiday Inn Dinner Menu, February 15, 1964 THF287323

By the 1970s, with more than 1,400 locations worldwide, Holiday Inns had become a fixture of the global and cultural landscape. Founder Kemmons Wilson even made the cover of Time magazine.

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Time Magazine for June 12, 1972 THF104041

We hope his story inspires you to make your own mark on the American landscape -- or at least take a fresh look at the roadside the next time you’re out for a drive, whether down the street or across the country!

Saige Jedele, Associate Curator, Digital Content at The Henry Ford, has happy poolside memories from a childhood stay at one of Holiday Inns’ family-friendly “Holidome” concepts. For more on the Holiday Inn story, check out chapter 9 of "The Motel in America," by John Jakle, Keith Sculle, and Jefferson Rogers.

#THFCuratorChat, by Saige Jedele, hotels, entrepreneurship, road trips, travel

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Rachel Carson devoted her early career to studying and writing about the ocean. During the 1950s, her poetic books about the sea brought her recognition and fame as an author.

Carson’s books helped build a new awareness about the environment. Her most important book, Silent Spring, released in 1962, asked Americans to examine the negative effects of widespread chemical pesticide use.

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Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, Silent Spring, linked human action to environmental destruction and ignited a national conversation. THF110029

During World War II, a chemical called DDT protected troops by killing disease-spreading insects. After the war, numerous products containing DDT became commercially available to American consumers for pest control.

In Silent Spring, Carson urged the public to live in harmony with nature and cautioned against the overuse of DDT, which destroyed insect populations and threatened other wildlife species. America reacted. The government banned DDT in 1972. The environmental movement—sparked in part by Carson’s book—continues today.

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An interactive digital experience in Henry Ford Museum features the stories of Rachel Carson, Luther Burbank, and George Washington Carver.

Learn more about Carson’s life and work in Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, where a new digital experience in the Agriculture & the Environment exhibit explores

  • The post-WWII “chemical craze” that prompted Carson to act
  • The long-term environmental effects of pesticide misuse
  • Books and magazines from the beginning of the environmental movement
  • Carson’s influence on the evolution of environmental activism
  • Pesticide use today

environmentalism, women's history, technology, nature, Henry Ford Museum, books

We hope you enjoyed this week’s experiences focused on Staying Curious. Were you inspired to create or invent something? Please share your story or photos with us on social media using #WeAreInnovationNation!

If you missed anything from our series this past week, check out the recordings and resources below. We hope that you will join us this upcoming week to explore new themes drawn from our Model i Learning Framework, focusing on how innovators Take Risks.

What We Covered This Week
How can we turn our questions into ideas, and our ideas into actions?

STEAM Stories
Our STEAM story of the week was I Have an Idea by Herve Tullet and then we learned about the many ways we use paper with a lesson from  our early childhood curriculum, Innovate for Tots. Watch the here.

#InnovationNation Tuesdays
See this week's highlighted clips below:

Continue Reading

Model i, educational resources, innovation learning

HQ Mess at Susq

This Memorial Day weekend, bring a favorite recipe from Civil War Remembrance in Greenfield Village into your own home. Though the name of the dish is simple, the results are plentiful and could well feed an army. It’s also simple to make; the true key to this dish is cooking it over an open fire, but it can also be prepared on a kitchen stove over medium-to-high heat. Whichever method you choose, a large cast-iron skillet is essential to re-creating this dish. 

A few tips from our chefs:

  • There's no wrong way to prepare this dish; add whatever herbs and spices you like.
  • Always serve it family style.
  • For a breakfast twist, add a fried egg.

Sausage, Apples & Potatoes
4 pounds potatoes
2 pounds smoked pork sausage (we recommend Dearborn Brand)
2 pounds apples
1 pound sweet onion
1 pound butter
2 ounces fresh garlic, grated
Salt and pepper to taste                                                                              

Boil potatoes until tender; let cool, then peel and cut into 1-inch chunks. Slice sausage into 2-inch pieces. Slice apples into ½-inch pieces. Julienne onions into ½-inch slices. Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over the campfire (or on stove). Add the butter and sausage; cook until lightly browned. Add the apple slices, onion and garlic; cook for about 5 minutes. Top with the potatoes and let cook for a few minutes before stirring. The potatoes must be cool when added. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in. Let all cook together until everything is tender and the flavors are melded, about 10-20 minutes. Stir occasionally, but if you stir too much, it will be mushy.