Past Forward

Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

Posts Tagged henry ford museum

Making Christmas ornaments in Henry Ford Museum, Christmas Eve 1986.

Earlier this month I was sent this blog post from Target showcasing some of their holiday ads from the past 60 years. From Christmas tree-filled print ads to YouTube-ready TV commercials, the post was a hit with many of my co-workers here at The Henry Ford.

The post got me thinking to some of my favorite holiday memories of THF. Growing up in southeastern Michigan, my parents were (and still are) proud members of Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. One of our Christmas traditions every year was to visit the museum on Christmas Eve. We looked forwarded to making ornaments, adding our names to the huge visitor paper chain and, of course, taking our family picture by the Christmas tree.

As I thought about my favorite memories here, I wondered what kind of holiday programming memorabilia we had in our collections? Turns out, there's quite a bit!

Take a look at just a few samples of holiday programming from over the years at The Henry Ford.

Christmas Customs

Visitors to Greenfield Museum in 1964 were treated to "period decorations" for the first time. What could guests expect as they toured the Village? From this 1964 pamphlet:

Appropriate Christmas decorations, authenticated in each instance by careful research, have been installed in the 17th-century Cotswold Cottage, the 18th-century Secretary House, and the 19th-century Noah Webster House, Wright Homestead, and Ford Homestead, as well as in the Clinton Inn and the Martha-Mary Chapel. These buildings will be highlights of the regular guided tours during the holidays.

Crafts - HFM

In the mood to learn more about crafting? Henry Ford Museum was the place for you during Christmas 1976! During the holiday season guests could learn about toymaking, counted thread embroidery, lace making, crewel embroidery, Christmas card painting, quilting, tinsmithing, broom making, candle making, glass blowing, weaving, doll making, cookie baking, basket making AND tole painting. Phew!

Need to know more about what was going on in the museum that year? Dial the Village Party Line!

Yuletide Evening

In the 1980s, visitors enjoyed "Yuletide Evenings" in Greenfield Village, complete with sleigh ride tours and dinner inside Eagle Tavern.

Christmas Safari

While you might not think of a safari when you first think of the museum, children were definitely on the lookout with Santa in 1986 thanks to this holiday scavenger hunt. Chances are pretty good that I was one of those kids!

Holidays 90s

In the 1990s, the holidays were all about being a "unique event" in the museum and Village.

Informational Leaflet, 'Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village,' 2005.

Does this sound more familiar? This dinner reservation form for Holiday Nights in 2005 offered holiday fun for groups of all sizes in Greenfield Village.

Did you ever attend any of these events? Make sure to let me know!

Lish Dorset is Social Media Manager at The Henry Ford. The ornament pictured in this blog post still hangs on her parents' Christmas tree.

Henry Ford Museum

The Henry Ford, dedicated in 1929 as The Edison Institute, has a long institutional history. Over the years, exhibits have come and gone, programs have evolved, and events both anticipated and unanticipated have changed the look and feel of Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. We’ve recently been digitizing some of our own history in the form of photos and documents from previous decades. For example, this activity sheet encouraged young visitors during the holidays in 1986 to find animals in our collections items—but today, you might be even more interested in the included map that shows how much the Museum’s footprint has changed in 27 years. To see the map and the quiz questions, visit this collections record in our online collections—or view additional historic photos and documents related to Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum.

Henry Ford Museum, programs, tourism