Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

Opened in 1929, this museum in Dearborn, Michigan, offers 523,000 square feet of artifacts and exhibits that tell a story of American ingenuity. 

Opened in 1929, the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation offers 523,000 square feet of iconic artifacts detailing the history of the United States. Over the years, Henry Ford’s vision for a museum documenting the power of American industry and innovation has become an interactive space offering items of interest for all ages.

Museum visitors can climb aboard the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway’s 2-6-6-6- Allegheny-class steam engine, known as the most powerful locomotive ever produced, or step into the Dymaxion House for a chance to experience life in true George Jetson fashion. Designed by inventor Buckminster Fuller and built in 1946 as the “home of the future,” the space-age, round aluminum structure features revolving closets and chrome accents and was designed to be easily shipped in a metal tube.

The massive complex also showcases some of the most famous automobiles ever produced, including a fleet of presidential limousines ranging from the 1939 Lincoln used by Franklin Roosevelt (nicknamed the “Sunshine Special”) to the 1972 Lincoln Continental used by Ronald Reagan. Nearby, a 1956 Chevrolet Bel-Air convertible sits parked beneath a classic neon McDonald’s sign, advertising 15-cent hamburgers.

Don’t miss the “exploded” 1924 Ford Model T, which shows the car that made Henry Ford famous completely disassembled and suspended from the ceiling, offering visitors an idea of the simplicity of the automobile that put America on the move.

Perhaps some of the most poignant artifacts in the collection — the Rosa Parks bus and the red upholstered chair President Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated in 1865 — add a sense of humanity to these inanimate objects and powerfully connect visitors with American history.

Those looking to take a break from the museum floor can take in the Henry Ford’s Giant Screen Experience, a state-of-the art 4K digital theater that shows films on topics ranging from natural history to the outer reaches of space.  

20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, Michigan, 313/982-6001, thehenryford.org