Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fun at the Ford Museum


Because Michael and I first began dating when I moved to Chicago for a year-long volunteer program, a large part of our interactions have always centered around exploring together. We took advantage of my time there as best we could whenever he visited and made sure to really learn the city together - checking out all the museums, different neighborhoods, local food, festivals, etc.

Michael's work as an engineering consultant has kept this desire to explore and experience new areas together very much alive because we never know exactly how long we'll live in a given area before we pack up and move on to the next project. If we were at the point of my husband switching back to "normal" full-time work and were settling somewhere a bit more permanently, I don't know if we would take advantage of all our city had to offer in quite the same way because we would feel like we had plenty of time to do so. Needless to say, his consulting work helps keep us on our toes and probably ensures that we stay adventurous!

All of this rambling is really just to paint the picture that ever since we got married and I joined Michael in Ann Arbor we've been constantly tracking down fun "Michigan" things to do. We've done a pretty good job of experiencing and learning Ann Arbor, but there have been a few other things about the rest of the state we've been wanting to check out - and this weekend we were able to cross one of those things off our list!

My husband inside the cabin of an Allegheny locomotive
On Saturday we headed to the Henry Ford Museum not realizing just how massive it truly was (even though the bank teller I had a friendly chat with last week when depositing a check practically went bananas when I mentioned heading to the museum - and proceeded to tell me that there is so much to do there). Of course I had looked up some exhibits and information online before we went, but we didn't quite get the big picture until we arrived and witnessed the Ford campus firsthand.

Call us naive, but we envisioned the museum mainly being a collection and history of Henry Ford's endeavors and successes within the automotive industry. And in some ways I suppose you could say this was true, because this did make up one large exhibit...but by no means was it the sole purpose of the museum.

1. Rosa Parks bus  2. Awesome train  3. Dymaxion House  4. Oscar Meyer Weinermobile  5. Massive steam engine
6. Sitting in the back seat of a 96-year-old car  7. The Lincoln Chair

Within one of the exhibits was a brief video explaining some of the history behind automotive inventions and the impact it has had on today's society. It actually surprised me how many things I've grown up with and never once thought to connect to our country's history with motor vehicles (suburbs, shopping malls, hotels, travel plazas, road trips, etc.). The rest of the museum tied this theme together by providing demonstrations and explanations of how vast the impact of various inventions has been throughout our nation's history.

Standing inside the Rosa Parks bus
Beyond cars, the museum had exhibits of historic trains, planes, items from the Industrial Revolution, the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, and more. Easily the most surprising items we were able to see in person were the chair President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in and the "Rosa Parks bus" (the one she refused to give up her seat on in Alabama). We had no clue these items would be on display there...which clearly shows we didn't do that much research before deciding to spend our Saturday there. Oops. But overall it made for a pleasant surprise.

Truth be told, there was a lot to see at the Ford Museum but our brains and our bodies (especially mine!) were not fully equipped to soak all of it in at once. We spent much time tediously reading about the things that most interested us but walked quickly through more than one exhibit that didn't interest us as much.

We spent about 5 hours at the museum and saw everything we wanted to (aka everything we could handle in one trip). I simultaneously realized that 5 hours is probably my new, current time limit before my pregnant self needs to go home and recuperate. Even with amazingly comfortable and supportive walking shoes I had to stop and rest on several benches the longer we explored. But it was worth it. We had a lot of fun together and I'm so glad we finally got to experience this Michigan "must see" tourist attraction. Now we only have one more major "Michigan thing" we really, really want to visit before we head somewhere new - Mackinac Island!

After our trip to the museum we headed to Ohio to spend Mother's Day with Michael's family. This meant we had a pretty packed (and tiring) weekend, but it was a fun one we won't soon forget. I thank God so much for all we were blessed to do this weekend and especially thank Him for the good health and energy levels I've had these past 27 weeks of pregnancy. Please pray for us as we move further into the third trimester and increasingly "uncomfortable" days...and that we'll get to visit Mackinac Island and eat some of their famous fudge in person very soon. :)

"I believe God is managing affairs and that He doesn't need any advice from me. With God in charge, I believe everything will work out for the best in the end. So what is there to worry about."

-Henry Ford


  1. love your outfit - you are lovely!

    there is a BEAUTIFUL catholic church on mackinac island on the main street like right when you enter the island. i was there on vacation a few years ago with my family and there were also some habited franciscan sisters there too - ha!! :)

  2. Okay, so you have to go stay at The Grand Hotel so I can live vicariously through your experience....

  3. Mackinaw Island is the BEST!!! I went there every summer when I was a teen, so cool falling asleep listening to the horses trotting outside, cause there's no cars on the island. Also, be sure to check out Greenfield Village, very fun times there also:)