The Henry Ford Museum is an absolutely massive and amazing place! There are two parts to the Museum, Greenfield Village and the actual indoor Henry Ford Museum. As I wrote this review I realized that there is simply too much to talk about in one review, so I will begin by reviewing the Village and will review the Museum in another post.
After visiting Greenfield Village it becomes obvious that Henry Ford was some kind of genius madman! He meticulously moved historical buildings to this village. Which may be a bummer for the towns from which he moved them, but it does mean they are preserved to an extremely high standard. He paid close attention to the details; right down to having replica’s made of the china pattern that was used in his childhood home. The Model T’s zipping around the village certainly add the ambiance. You can, for a small fee ride a steam engine, take a carriage ride, or ride in one of those famous Model T’s.
There are several sections to the Village, Greenfield has lots of green spaces for kids to run, and fun reenactments of famous people and times. For example the famous Ohio brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright were energetically telling the neighbors about the success of their first flight from the front porch of their house. Oh and yes it was their actual house moved to the Village.
The Village was immaculately clean, even though it was quite busy. There were very few
lines for anything, and we even got on the train in a timely manner. If you live near here, this would be a great place to get a family membership in order to see everything. There are many shady areas that looked perfect for a picnic!
There are interpreters and presenters everywhere! These presenters and interpreters are some of the best I have ever had the pleasure of observing. They could certainly give Disney Character Cast Members a run for their money. The staff is friendly, polite and extremely knowledgeable, they are just incredibly impressive! Have I mentioned how cool it was to see the Model T’s zipping around the streets? I didn’t get to ride in one though.
Railroad Junction Includes: The Edison Illuminating Company’s Station A and Smiths Creek Depot.
This section includes a steam-powered rail line and an 1800s small-town train depot. This is certainly worth doing, as it gives you a chance to see more of the park, than you otherwise would. You even chug by the Henry Ford Magnet School that is house in, you guessed it, a train! How cool would it be to go to school in a train!
Working Farm Includes: A Carriage Barn, Cider Mill, Richart Wagon Shop, Soybean
Experimental Laboratory, Stony Creek and William Ford Barn.
Okay, the kids and I really liked this section and we were more interested in it than any of the others. This is a working 19th-century American Farm called Firestone Farm. It includes wagons, livestock and fields of vegetables and soybean. It is supposed to be a snapshot of scenes straight from the nation’s agricultural revolution. There are many demonstrations and presentations in this area to help visitors get a feel for how farmers lived off the land, without our modern conveniences.
Edison at Work Includes: Sarah Jordan Boarding House, Thomas Edison’s Fort Myers Laboratory, Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Complex, Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Glass Shed, Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory, Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Machine Shop, and Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Office & Library.
I really liked this section as well. It includes a replica of Edison’s Menlo Park complex at about the time he began to develop the incandescent light bulb. Here you can see Thomas Edison’s workplaces, and the first buildings to be illuminated with electric light. Again, these are buildings that were meticulously taken apart, moved to Greenfield Village and then put back together!
Porches and Parlors District Includes: The Ackley Covered Bridge, Adams Family
Home, Chapman Family Home, Edison Homestead, Farris Windmill, Noah Webster Home, Plympton Family Home and Robert Frost Home.
Some of the houses in this area are as old as the 1650’s-1930’s. It’s pretty neat to show the kids a very different way of life from our Modern Cell Phone driven lives!
Main Street District includes: Eagle Tavern, Grimm Jewelry Store (which is actually a candy store), J.R. Jones General Store, Logan County Courthouse, Martha-Mary Chapel, Phoenixville Post Office, Town Hall, and , the Wright Cycle Shop (One of my favorites, I am fascinated by these guys!).
When you stroll down this street you can really get a sense of a busy little town with automobiles and carriages, events and amusements. Loads of scenic American history and heritage are to be found here. Make sure you try the Hobo Bread from the Grimm Jewelry Store. Yummy!
Henry Ford’s Model T District includes: Bagley Avenue Workshop, Ford Home, Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford Theater, Miller School.
This district follows the life of Henry Ford, industrialist and innovator. You will be amazed at the things he worked on and invented. His childhood home is here as well as a replica of the factory where he built his first automobiles.