Henry Ford Museum to unveil new exhibition of classic cars

Henry Ford Museum
Workers at the Henry Ford Museum are busy setting up a major new exhibition of 130 historically significant cars and trucks.

Driving America opens on January 29 and focuses on the effect of the automobile on American culture through interactive touchscreen displays, artifacts, and personal accounts. There’s even a mobile diner from 1946 that will be serving classic American diner food.

Of course it’s the cars that are the main attraction. Ranging from the 1890s to the early 2000s, they include numerous innovative designs such as the Model T, the 1907 Rocket Stanley Steamer, and the 1973 Chrysler Newport, which at 19 feet long makes it look like a tank next to some of the miniature cars of today. Driving America doesn’t just look at Ford products; several cars are on loan from other collections and include rival companies such as Honda.

For more on the Henry Ford Museum, check out this article by Gadling’s very own Paul Brady.

Steamer photo courtesy Richard H. LeSesne.

Inside Dearborn’s Henry Ford Museum

Outside downtown Detroit, in Dearborn, there’s a museum filled with airplanes and cars and farm implements and the most outlandish house ever conceived. Somehow, the bric a brac works, brought together as The Henry Ford Museum, an institution less focused on a particular moment or a particular discipline that the very idea of American innovation, financed by the inventor’s healthy curiosity-and bankroll.

Also here is an artificial town, Greenfield Village, a collection of notable buildings brought to Dearborn from across the country. One particularly telling structures is the Wright Brothers’ Cycle Shop, relocated from Dayton, Ohio, Ford’s nod to tinkerers who changed the course of history, experimenting with something completely new in a garage, just like he did with his Quadricycle, the world’s first car. (The museum has that too.)

Traveling the American Road – The Henry Ford Museum


The other Florida

Most people visit Florida for its theme parks and party beaches, but there is another side. The state is a place of incredible natural beauty and home to some of the most powerful and influential people of the 20th Century. If you’re looking for something beyond the “usual Florida vacation,” keep reading for some of our favorite outdoor spaces and hidden cultural treasures.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
The Florida Keys have always been one of our favorite places, and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is one of the reasons. The coral reef encompasses 70 nautical square miles off the coast of Key Largo, and the park includes mangrove forests, tropical hammocks and numerous beach habitats. 100-feet offshore from Cannon Beach there are remnants of an early Spanish shipwreck, and with sailing, diving and snorkeling tours leaving several times a day, it is a great place to experience the magic of the Keys.

St. George Island State Park
In a state known for its white sand beaches, St. George Island State Park is one of the most pristine. A long barrier island between Apalachicola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, St. George is a place of sand dunes, sea oats and sunsets. It is tranquil and unspoiled. There’s also no shortage of activities, with boating, fishing, swimming and all the things you want from a beach minus the crowds and high-rise condominiums.

Keep reading below for three more Florida favorites…

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
It would be a shame not to see manatees while in Florida. The Homosassa Springs have always attracted them, and today the park is a key part of the state’s manatee rehabilitation program.

In addition, the park has many of Florida’s other native wildlife species. The rangers offer wildlife encounters and presentations throughout the day, and the freshwater springs and cypress swamps offer a beautiful environment for kayaking.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates
Located in Fort Myers, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates were the winter quarters of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. The grounds, gardens and houses, including Edison’s workshop, are open to the public. This is a chance to go back in time and see how two influential men lived a simple yet elegant lifestyle in the days before air-conditioning.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Situated on the shores of Sarasota Bay, the grounds of this unique Florida attraction is much more than a circus sideshow. Though John Ringling was one of the seven siblings who created the Ringling Brothers Circus, his former Florida estate includes lavish gardens, an art museum with several large paintings by Rubens and yes, even a circus museum. Ringling had an opulent lifestyle. From the imported marble floors to the exquisite furnishings, this is the place to see just what money could buy.

From lavish estates and art to beautiful natural scenery, Florida has lots to offer the visitor sick of roller coasters and mouse ears. Chart a course for the “other Florida” on your next visit.

Car art of the US landscape: Weird, wacky and wonderful

It seems fitting that car art has taken its place in the landscape of the United States. When Henry Ford was crafting his Model T, he probably didn’t foresee that his innovation would lead to another type of car creativity. Yesterday for Gadling’s day of Weird America, Jeremy posted about Detroit’s gigantic Uniroyal tire that was once used as a ferris wheel at the World’s Fair, and Sean posted about Mystery Hill, America’s Stonehenge. Car art brings these two together in a weird and wacky kind of way.

Drive along I-40 in Texas heading west from Amarillo (or east if you’re driving from the New Mexico border) and you’ll come across Cadillac Ranch. The first time I saw these 10 Cadillacs sticking up in the air in the middle of a field, their noses buried far enough down so that they’d stay in their upright angle, I was relieved. Actually, I think I felt ecstatic. If you’ve ever driven through this part of Texas, you know just how monotonous the landscape can seem. Flat, flat and more flat. Those cars have been a weird but wonderful visual treat for people traveling that highway ever since Stanley Marsh 3 put them there years ago.

Awhile back, I seem to recall, these cars changed colors with various paint jobs. These days, though, anyone can paint on them. Graffiti is the most common approach. Here is a blog by Alan Mizel who spent time basking in the wackiness of Cadillac Ranch as part of his current trip around the world. There are several photos that pay tribute to this creation.

Next up: Carhenge is more than just Carhenge. There’s the Car Art Reserve

We drove to Carhenge as part of our great American road trip from Ohio to Montana and back four summers ago. When we pulled up, our mouths open like a cliche, we came across a friend of Jim Reinders, the man who conceptualized the project. The friend was collecting the trash and was happy to give us background information about the place.

It was a surprise to see her since Carhenge is a bit outside of Alliance, the closest town. I was impressed to see that this attraction is one that has a method to what some might call madness. Next to this wonderfully weird car creation that was conceived of as a tribute to the artist’s father is a picnic area with tables and a parking lot. This is a regular must-see attraction surrounded by flat land. This outdoor sculpture park seems to say, “What’s your hurry? You might as well stay awhile because, heaven knows, the world is a mysterious place. Take a breather.”

Carhenge, a collection of 38 cars arranged in the manner of Great Britain’s Stonehenge, is only part of the 3-D exhibit set out in the middle of nowhere. The Car Art Reserve is included on the property where the creative spirit runs strong in other car artists’ work as well. One that I remember is “The Fourd Seasons.” Made of Ford cars painted different colors, this sculpture represents wheat growing during the four seasons of Nebraska. Part of the fun of looking at the art is to see what each installation is named.

Artists can still submit sculptures. There’s plenty of room. Carhenge’s Web site contains project history and how to become a part of it.

Here are two other examples of weird car art (of sorts) that I have yet to see.

  • At Wilkin’s Oklahoma Truck Supply south of Tonkawa, there’s an 18-wheeler that is perched on its cab with the truck bed straight up in the air. The truck boasts an advertisement for the business.
  • In Oregon Curiosities, the book’s author describes Yard-0-Fun near Fort Hill, Oregon. Located on Twarp Farm, the yard has a red, white and blue pick-up truck up in a tree. The truck is only one of the weird items on display. Supposedly, you can see the car from the highway between Portland and the coast.

And here’s a car art sculpture that no longer exists but may rise again if someone gets a hankering to reconstruct it.

Near Chicago in Berwyn, Illinois there was a car art shish kabob called “Spindle.” Created by Dustin Shuler, this artwork was made from eight cars skewered onto a pole. If you saw the movie, “Wayne’s World,” you saw this sculpture. Unfortunately, the town voted to get rid of the sculpture a few years ago. The top two cars were saved and stored, however, so someone looking to make Spindle 2 has a head start.

And finally, look for car art moving along U.S. roads and highways. In Columbus, Ohio, for example, several car art artists live here. Greg Phelp’s car with a “That Car” license plate is the one with all the doll parts. Here’s what it looks like in snow.

If you have any car art to share, let Kevin Mc at HubPages know. He’s interested. Thanks to his post on car art, I found out about the car kabob. A commenter of the post clued me into the pick-up truck in the tree.