History & Mission
Exploring the American experience of innovation, ingenuity and resourcefulness
The Henry Ford provides unique educational experiences based on authentic objects, stories, and lives from America’s traditions of ingenuity, resourcefulness, and innovation. Our purpose is to inspire people to learn from these traditions to help shape a better future.
Our Founding History
The origins of our collection, our campus, and our educational programs.
- Henry Ford: Collector By the late 1920s, Henry Ford had become the primary collector of Americana in the world.
- Creating Our Campus Henry Ford built two separate facilities linked by his theories of education: an indoor museum to tell the story of America’s technological progress and an outdoor village to show how these types of objects were made and used.
- A Unique Educational Vision In Henry Ford’s Edison Institute schools, students learned not only from books, but also from objects and hands-on experiences.
Our 20th Century Legacy
Learn about how The Henry Ford’s one-of-a-kind collection, exhibit experiences, and educational programs expanded after the passing of Henry Ford in 1947.
- Evolution of Our Collection Collecting policies, procedures, and goals shifted over the decades following Henry Ford’s death, but stayed consistent with Henry Ford’s founding vision.
- America’s Stories Come to Life By the beginning of the 21st century, our campus had grown into a unique multi-venue destination.
- Educational Principles Despite operating challenges, the education of schoolchildren through exposure to authentic artifacts and hands-on endeavors remained a central mission for The Henry Ford.
With the advent of the digital revolution and advances in modern technology, The Henry Ford is finding new ways to achieve its mission.
The Henry Ford Archive of American Innovation™
Our Archive of American Innovation represents the core assets of
The Henry Ford that illustrate the process and context of innovation.
- New Digital & Physical Experiences Reimagined experiences at The Henry Ford incorporate technology as part of the story—and as an integral part of the visitor’s experience.
- Partners in Education The Henry Ford’s recent educational efforts focus on helping educators inspire students to think and act creatively, to innovate, and to adopt an optimistic, entrepreneurial, can-do spirit.