The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Mich., is reopening after an extended period of renovation to unfold a tale of America’s obsession with the automobile. Beginning Jan. 29, the exhibition “Driving America” will open to the public. The $8 million project marks the first major overhaul of the museum in 25 years, said Henry Ford museum president Patricia Mooradian.
Automobiles and American taste
Moorandian spoke to the Detroit Free Press of the scope of “Driving America”:
“This is one of the largest auto-centric automotive expositions of its kind,” she said. “It focuses on the enormous influence the automobile has had on American culture from the automotive innovations that have changed our lives to the everyday choices that we all make.”
According to Henry Ford museum curator of transportation Bob Casey, the previous exhibit closed nearly a year ago in preparation for this most recent event. The last exhibit focused on changes within the U.S. automotive industry over the years. “Driving America” views the automotive phenomenon through the lens of popular culture. However, special attention is paid to the industry’s reaction to the pressures of higher gasoline prices.
Automotive history for 80,000 square feet
“Driving America’s” 80,000 square feet of history at The Henry Ford will include 130 cars and trucks, 21 of which have not been displayed at the museum in a quarter century. In addition, there will be about a dozen vehicles on loan from various outside manufacturers and organizations. This sometimes creates odd juxtapositions, such as a 19-foot 1973 Chrysler Newport set beside a 1978 Dodge Omni, the first front-wheel drive hatchback made domestically.
For those wish to partake of “Driving America” in the Dearborn area, tickets will be $17 for adults and $12.50 for children. Admission includes access to other exhibits on architecture, aviation, presidential limousines, manufacturing and the U.S. Civil Rights movement. There is also an IMAX theater, which requires a separate admission. In keeping with the theme of the main exhibit, the IMAX film will highlight how the automobile has shaped American culture. Afterward, patrons can enjoy a diner-style meal at Lamy’s Diner, a vintage throwback to a bygone post-WWII age of sock-hops, egg creams and malted milk.