Greenfield Village Michigan
Science history and American History are well-preserved at Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan. Greenfield Village is an open-air museum, with many buildings, vehicles and objects brought specifically to Michigan by Henry Ford to preserve the history of the Industrial Revolution in America. Thomas Edison was Henry Ford’s favorite scientist and entrepreneur when he grew up. Greenfield Village has many different historical buildings and objects from Thomas Edison. There are also original buildings and objects from other scientists and inventors like George Washington Carver and the Wright Brothers.
Greenfield Village contains 8 main sections, each with a specific theme. The entire outdoor museum is surrounded by a working steam engine train track where visits can take a ride. The museum also has Model T Ford rides, a working vintage carousel, Omnibus rides and more. The buildings within Greenfield Village all were either original structures that were moved to the village or reconstructed replica buildings that model the originals. Several famous inventors and scientists have buildings or other historical artifacts on display at Greenfield Village.
Thomas Edison at Work
This is an area of Greenfield Village which includes a replica of Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory for New Jersey. Henry Ford wanted to recreate the place where Edison and his team of scientists had many of their greatest inventions including the light bulb. Some original building materials from Menlo Park and many original Edison artifacts were used in preserving Edison’s history in Greenfield Village. Every detail including each chemical and material contained in Edison’s lab was measured exactly and replicated down to the fine details. If you look closely on the floor of the laboratory there is a chair with an older piece of wood floor under the chair. When Greenfield Village opened, Mr. Edison visited the museum in Michigan. Thomas Edison sat in this chair while he spoke to Henry Ford and others in the laboratory. Since this time, Greenfield Village replaced the wood floor. They keep the chair and the floor under the chair, however, in the exact location where Edison sat for all these years.
Visitors to Greenfield Village Michigan can see what is was like in the factory and laboratory where Edison and his workers and scientists tested materials to invent the light bulb. There are many other original inventions on display here. Inventions like the congress voting machine, various types of telegraph machines and early versions of the phonograph are available for viewing.
Greenfield Village also has Edison’s Fort Myers Laboratory and Office. This is the original building that Edison used while he spent time in Florida over the Winter. Most of the research Edison performed at the Fort Myers Lab was trying to find a replacement for natural rubber.
Original Edison DC Power Station
Greenfield Village also has an original DC power station, brought to Michigan from New Jersey. It is rumored that Mr. Edison told Henry Ford that the power station would remain on New Jersey soil when he attempted to buy the building. Mr. Ford bargained a deal that included moving the power building and the New Jersey soil around it to Greenfield Village. It is now one of the only places in the work where visitors can see a full DC power station.
The Wright Brothers at Greenfield Village
The Wright Brothers also hold a prominent place at Greenfield Village. Henry Ford was interested in aircraft since the first days of flight when Orville and Wilbur flew their Wright Flyer. Henry Ford, as you may remember, helped bring airplane flight to the non-military citizens. Not only did Henry Ford help create his Tri-Motor Ford aircraft with 3 motors for safety, Mr. Ford paved the way for airline flights, literally. Henry Ford built the first paved runway for airplanes in Dearborn, Michigan. Henry Ford’s Tri-Motor plans, first built in 1926, were the first airplanes used for commercial passenger air flights. The Henry Ford Museum next to Greenfield Village has an authentic Ford Tri-Motor and a replica of the Wright Flyer among other vintage airplanes.
The science highlight of this area is the original Wright home and Wright Brothers cycle shop. Henry Ford acquired the two buildings and had them moved from their original location on the West side of Dayton, Ohio to Greenfield Village. The cycle shop contains many original artifacts from the Wright Brothers, including early parts used for development of their gliders and flyers.
The interior of the Wright Cycle shop shows a great deal about how Orville and Wilbur Wright spent their time in preparation for creating the first flying aircraft in the world. Orville Wright himself visited Greenfield Village after the buildings were moved to Dearborn. He and Henry Ford opened them for viewing to the public. Greenfield Village owns an original Wright Brothers cycle, one of the few remaining originals left in the world. The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, however, currently have the cycle on loan and have not yet returned it to Greenfield Village.
Wright Brothers Family Home
The Wright family home was the house where Orville Wright was born. It was owned by the Wright family through the time when Orville and Wilbur built the first airplane that could fly. The house was restored to the 1903 time period, the year the Orville and Wilbur first flew.
This section includes the Firestone Farm, Ford Soybean Lab and Agricultural Gallery, the original William Ford Barn, the Richart Wagon Shop and a Cider Mill. Kids can learn about how the industrial revolution influenced farming in the United States. The Ford Soybean Lab is fascinating. Mr. Ford has a great interest in using soy beans as a material in manufacturing cars and other goods. The Soybean Lab building highlights some of the areas where Henry Ford pushed the use of soy beans.
Greenfield Village has a working industrial-age village of craftsman. There is a glass-blowing shop, several mills, a pottery shop, tin shop, machine shop, several sawmills, gristmill and a weaving shop. Generally there are skilled people who show how things were made near the turn of the 20th century.
The glass-blowing shop is one of the most popular with visitors. It is generally very busy in the shop with several glass projects being worked on at the same time. The glass-blowing shop also has some items visitors can purchase and watch as they are made.
Overall, Greenfield Village Michigan is a great place to learn about the history of some of the most famous American Inventors. Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Orville Wright, Wilbur Wright and George Washington Carver are only a few of the scientists, inventors and leaders who changed the way many things were made in the Early 1900’s. The open-air museum also features the early beginnings of automobiles, trains, airplanes and energy. The artifacts at Greenfield Village will help kids understand how these people lived and how they worked when they were inventing and creating. The atmosphere at Greenfield Village Michigan is a much better way for kids to learn science history first-hand, other than reading about these people in a text book.