Henry Ford's Greenfield Village

Peter Ling captures Edison's last breath and other icons of American progress at the Ford Museum at Greenfield Village.

A twenty-minute drive from Detroit's Metro Airport, near three interstate highways, the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village is one of Michigan's premier tourist attractions. Predictably, it has a large transportation collection with a steamboat ride, locomotives, planes and, of course, cars. Like other American heritage centres, Greenfield Village has also developed the idea of a 'living history' of everyday life. Visitors can watch a traditional potter at his craft, eat early American fare at the Eagle tavern (complete with costumed staff), have a lesson in an old school-room, or ride around in a buggy. But whereas Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, for example, is a Rockefeller-financed renovation of what was a colonial town, Greenfield Village is an invention, a place largely assembled from buildings that were originally elsewhere 'There's nothing like it back home', says the brochure, 'but there once was.' Indeed, in some cases, there was until Henry Ford bought it.

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