DEARBORN, Mich. — During a trip to Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum, visitors will see and experience changes in American life from early days on the farm to modern-day technology.
The village and museum are part of the Henry Ford, a collection of attractions that also includes an IMAX theater, the Ford Rouge Factory Tour and the Benson Ford Research Center in Dearborn, Mich., a metropolitan Detroit suburb.
Entering Greenfield Village, guests stroll past an operating steam or diesel locomotive as they walk to the working farms. At the Firestone Farm, workers may be tending to the animals or crops, sitting down to a family meal inside the farmhouse kitchen, or relaxing in the parlor.
Further into the village, Model-Ts, high-wheeler bicycles popular in the mid-1800s through the Victorian era, a horse-drawn carriage and a 1931 Ford Model AA Bus shuttle down streets lined with historic homes.
One of the historic houses is the childhood home of Wilbur and Orville Wright. Touring the home’s interior can be hit or miss, as tours are usually offered when the village is not busy. For the visitors allowed inside, a climb up the steep and narrow staircase leads to the Wright brothers’ childhood bedroom.
A must-visit attraction for all ages, especially among children, is the Herschell-Spillman Carousel, erected in 1913 and still operating. Guests can ride a tiger, frog, horse, zebra, cat or dog as music plays on the historic carousel.
In addition to the carousel, guests get unlimited rides on the three-mile train route, inside a vintage Model-T, in the horse-drawn shuttle or in the 1931 bus for $14.
For a lunchtime break, dining at the Michigan Café gives visitors a taste of the Great Lakes State’s cuisine. The cafeteria-style restaurant features Detroit-made Faygo soda and Better Made chips, Michigan-brewed bottled craft beer, and ingredients from Michigan farms and local food suppliers.
Inside Henry Ford Museum, visitors will see a large collection of trains and automobiles. Among the vehicles on display are the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, the bus in which Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat during the Civil Rights Movement, and several presidential limousines, including the one in which President John F. Kennedy was shot.
Other notable artifacts include George Washington’s camp bed from the Revolutionary War and the Ford’s Theatre chair where President Abraham Lincoln was seated when he was assassinated. Both artifacts and the Rosa Parks bus are part of the “With Liberty and Justice for All” exhibit that explores America’s struggles and triumphs to gain freedom between the Revolutionary War and the election of President Barack Obama.
The museum also features a rotating exhibit on loan from other museums across the country. The upcoming exhibit, presented by the Detroit Lions, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The exhibit runs Oct. 3 through Jan. 4 and will display the Vince Lombardi Trophy and personal artifacts from the sport’s top players of past and present.
Henry Ford Museum, located at 20900 Oakwood Blvd., is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission to Henry Ford Museum costs $18 for adults, $16 for ages 62 and older and $13 for ages five to 12. Tickets are free for children age four and younger.
Greenfield Village is open from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily through Nov. 2. Then, from Nov. 7 through Nov. 30, the village is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Other than select nights in December for “Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village,” the village is closed through the winter, reopening in mid-April. Tickets to enter Greenfield Village cost $24 for adults, $22 for ages 62 and older and $17.50 for ages five through 12. Children age four and younger are granted free admission.
Combo tickets to visit the museum and the village in one day are available at a discount. Parking for both attractions costs $5 per vehicle.