Ohio History Outside Ohio: Henry Ford Museum

Ohio’s contribution to the world is so grand that it is almost impossible to spend a day out and about and not use something made, invented, or improved by an Ohioan. From the cash register used to buy and sell products to the planes and cars used to transport them. Ohio is everywhere. This means that some of Ohio’s greatest artifacts are no longer in Ohio. Sometimes to learn about Ohio one must leave it.

Original Wright House and Shop

The Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, MI, only 45 minutes from Toledo, house many pieces of Ohio’s contributions to the world.
The museum is broken up into 2 sections, the Ford Museum, and Greenfield Village. Greenfield Village is an open air museum housing many birthplaces, homes, and shops of some very famous people, including some of the artifacts from the world’s most famous Daytonians, Orville and Wilbur Wright. In 1937 Orville helped to move the Wright Cycle Shop where he and his brother built the first airplane. Along with the shop their original house and shed are part of the Main street section. Along with the Wrights house is the birthplace and smokehouse of William Holmes McGuffey. McGuffey was famous for writing the McGuffey reader, considered the first standard grade school textbook, while as a professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. An Entire section of the village is dedicated to Ohio native Thomas Edison, who was a good friend of Henry Ford. Included are recreations of his Menlo Park Complex.

DSCN1674Inside the main museum is a lot more artifacts from Ohio. The 1952 Oscar Mayer Wienermobile built by The Gerstenslager Company of Wooster Ohio is one of the first things visitors see as they enter. Included in the section on the history of furniture is many pieces built in Cincinnati. Cincinnati was a big manufacturing city during the early to mid 1800’s. As the exhibit passes over this time period many placards repeat the cities name. As is expected in a museum built by Henry Ford, a large portion is dedicated to the automobile. One such car is the first DSCN1765Japanese car, a Honda Accord, built in America. With the OHIO license plate USA – 001 it is hard to miss the Buckeye State heritage. The car was built in the Marysville Plant. Another exhibit is the history of tourism by car. This includes a camper used by Henry Ford and two Ohioans, Thomas Edison and  Harvey Firestone. The camper was used on outings the three took as friends.

With the great impact Ohio has had on the world it is no wonder a museum the size of the Henry Ford Museum would contain something of Ohio’s past, but the level of authentic world changing memorabilia makes it worth the short drive outside Ohio.

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