View from the Smithy at Greenfield Village

Americana N°2, photo by Remus Roman

As we’re gearing up for summer, it’s a great time to think about Michigan’s many incredible museums. One of the coolest is Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford in Dearborn. They explain that the origins of Greenfield Village were with Henry Ford himself. His obsession to recreate his childhood home was a resounding success and:

…after several other restorations of buildings at their original sites, he began looking to create a village that would represent the early days of America up to the present. Working with Ford Motor Company draftsman and architect Edward L. Cutler, Ford began laying out plans for Greenfield Village.

It wasn’t meant to represent any specific place in the United States, or even serve as a particular town – Ford created Greenfield Village primarily from buildings that he had purchased and moved to the site, organizing them around a village green with a courthouse, a town hall, a church, a store, an inn and a school. He placed homes along a road beyond the green. He brought industrial buildings, such as carding mills, sawmills and gristmills to the village and made them operate.

Today, Greenfield Village is organized into seven historic districts, with real working farms, a glassblowing shop, a pottery shop and more…so that, just like Henry Ford when he surveyed his preserved birthplace, you, too, can be transported to another place and time to learn about the ordinary and extraordinary people who shaped America.

Click through for a whole lot more.

View this photo of the Smithy at Greenfield Village background bigilicious, see more in Remy’s slideshow, and also at remyroman.com.

Lots more history & museums on Michigan in Pictures.

Automotive Old Guard Leading the Race to the Future

Autonomous Fusion Hybrid research vehicle in Dearborn, courtesy Ford Motor Co

While Uber, Tesla & Google are getting most of the ink, WIRED magazine’s article Detroit Is Stomping Silicon Valley in the Self-Driving Car Race says:

IF YOU’RE BETTING on Silicon Valley stars like Google, Tesla, and Uber to free you from your horrorshow commute with autonomous driving technology, don’t. That’s the key takeaway from a new report that finds Ford—yes, the Detroit-based, 113-year-old giant—is winning the race to build the self-driving car, with General Motors running a close second. Renault-Nissan, Daimler, and Volkswagen round out the top five. Meanwhile, Waymo—aka Google’s driverless car effort—sits in sixth place, with Tesla in twelfth. Uber languishes in sixteenth, behind Honda and barely ahead of startup Nutonomy and China’s Baidu.

That may sound all kinds of wrong to anyone who has seen Uber, Waymo, and Tesla flaunt their tech, and regards Detroit’s old guard as ill-prepared for the robotic future. But it’s the state of the race according to Navigant Research, whose newly released “leaderboard” report ranks these players not just on their ability to make a car drive itself, but on their ability to bring that car to the mass market.

Ford and GM both score in the low to mid 80s on the technology front; it’s their old-school skills that float them to first and second place. They’ve each spent more than a century developing, testing, producing, marketing, distributing, and selling cars. Plus, each has made strategic moves to bolster weak points. Ford just dumped a billion dollars into an artificial intelligence outfit. It acquired ride-sharing service Chariot and invested in Velodyne, a company producing lidar, the laser scanning tech many argue is necessary for self-driving cars. GM scooped up self-driving expertise via a startup called Cruise, and partnered with Lyft to put the eventual result on the road.

Lots more in a great article from WIRED!

View the photo of an autonomous Ford Fusion hybrid bigger on Ford’s website.

More cars & autos on Michigan in Pictures.

Ford-Wyoming Drive-in Theater in Dearborn

_MG_2576 tmlF

Ford-Wyoming Drive-in, photo by Gallopping Geezer

When I first saw this pic I thought it was yet another abandoned drive-in, but it turns out that the Ford Drive-in in Dearborn is open nightly with 5 screens! Their website just lists movies, but the Ford Drive-in entry at Cinema Treasures explains:

Opened in 1950, as a single-screener, with a colossal, late Streamline-style screen, the Ford-Wyoming could originally accommodate around 750 cars. It also once advertised a kiddie playground and boat rides for children.

The drive-in was acquired by Wayne Amusements in 1981, and by 1990, and grown to five screens. Another four screens were built during the early-1990’s.

Today, the still-very popular drive-in is the largest in the United States, parking-wise, with space for over 3,000 cars. (The largest drive-in screen-wise is the Thunderbird in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with 13 screens).

The Ford-Wyoming is open year-round, a rarity for drive-ins, and supplies car heaters along with speakers during the winter season.

Screens 6-9 were closed and demolished in May 2010, and in June 2010 it was renamed Ford Drive-In

WaterWinterWonderland has an entry with tons more information and photos  of the Ford-Wyoming Drive-in including some nice aerial views.

Check Gary’s photo out big as a drive-in screen and see more in his Ford-Wyoming slideshow.

More Michigan movie pics on Michigan in Pictures including a feature on another metro Detroit drive-in, the Wayne Drive-in.

 

Celebrate Henry Ford’s 150th at The Henry Ford Museum!

Entrance to the Museum! - HFM

Entrance to the Museum! – HFM, photo by MikeRyu

Lish Dorset of The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn writes on the Pure Michigan Blog that although summer is always a busy time at The Henry Ford, this summer is shaping up to be especially busy as they celebrate what would have been the 150th birthday of founder Henry Ford. She writes:

We’re celebrating Henry’s legacy all year at The Henry Ford, whose birthday is July 30. Starting in June and running through August, pay a visit to Miller School in Greenfield Village and step back in time to the days of Henry’s youth as he experiments with clock parts, machines and principles that challenged him.

You can also visit Henry’s T, a 15-minute dramatic play and hear how this ultimate maker was inspired to build his universal car. Follow up the play with a visit to Henry Ford Museum and learn how to build a Model T yourself.

Both Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village are offering guided tours to guests with an emphasis on Henry’s work.

Check out HenryFord150.com for a timeline of the legendary automotive pioneer, and you can also read more about events at the Henry Ford and keep up with everything on their Facebook.

Mike took this shot on an Exposure.Detroit photowalk at The Henry Ford. Check it out on black and see more in his Henry Ford Museum slideshow.

Also see the Henry Ford Museum slideshow in the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr for over 400 more photos from The Henry Ford!