In a typical day at The Henry Ford I find myself answering patron questions or assisting with research. Then, there’s the not-so-typical day when I’m coordinating and work on the Special Access team.
July 13, 2015, was one of those not-so-typical days. I found myself face to face with someone people may call one of the most fascinating inventors in history, Nikola Tesla. You might be asking, how does one find herself in this position? Well, let me show you.
The Special Access Program is designed to allow for closer examination of artifacts in storage, access to artifacts beyond visitor barriers, or filming behind the scenes at The Henry Ford. It allows patrons (film crews, enthusiasts, model makers, etc.) access to our collections that can’t be accommodated in the usual ways such as viewing exhibits and items on display, searching collections online, or viewing material in the public reading room.
In fact, the artifacts from the collection are some of the biggest stars of our television show, The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation, so the Special Access team is very busy during filming. The first episode of season 2 – filmed in part on this day in July – features the work of Nikola Tesla. I brought several objects to “center stage” for the shoot, including the death mask of Nikola Tesla, shown above. I worked with our Exhibits team to move the electroplated copper mask and its beautifully designed pedestal (which together weigh more than 50 pounds!) from a case in the Made in America exhibition to a sturdy table. It joined several objects that I had moved temporarily from collections storage to the museum for filming:
The Mustang, America’s original pony car, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. When the first generation Mustangs were being built, no one anticipated that they would become American classics and popular vehicles for restoration.
We have many cool pieces of Mustang history here at The Henry Ford, from...
We get questions from young and old alike regarding our national treasures. Everything from such topics as historic figures: Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and the Wright Brothers, to our historic objects: the Rosa Parks Bus, George Washington’s camping equipment, or the John F. Kennedy Limo, just to name a few. As Research Specialist in the Benson Ford Research Center, it's my job to respond to these requests.
Some of my favorite requests come from elementary students, kindergarten to sixth grade. I personally love working on these inquiries and absolutely love seeing how the information we have is used for so many different projects.
One of our library books is actually among these gems. It’s called Talleyrand Meets the Car Makers. In this circa-1960s book by Ford of Britain, Talleyrand (a very cute toy dog similar to today’s Flat Stanley) goes on tour of a Ford plant to entertain and educate.