New automotive exhibit set to open at The Henry Ford

Photo by Daniel Heraty

Featuring more than 130 vehicles, about 60 cases of artifacts and 18 touch-screen kiosks, an exhibit highlighting automotive history called Driving America exhibit is scheduled to open Jan. 29 at The Henry Ford, 20900 Oakwood Blvd. Included in the exhibit are vehicles that were in storage, including an 1896 Ford Quadricycle Roundabout, the first car built by Henry Ford. During a Jan. 19 preview, Chief Information Officer Mike Butman (left) and Director of Historical Resourced Marilyn Zoidis demonstrate one of 18 touch-screen kiosks which offer additional details about the exhibits.

DEARBORN – Driving America, an interactive automotive display at The Henry Ford, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., will open to the public Jan. 29.

A collection of historically significant vehicles, the exhibit focuses on the influence the automobile had on American culture.

“Driving America is more than an exhibition with cars on display,” The Henry Ford President Patricia Mooradian said in a statement. “It examines the car as an innovation and explores how it has changed almost every aspect of our lives and heavily influenced the decisions we make.”

The exhibit comprises more than 80,000 square feet including 130 vehicles, 60 cases of artifacts and 18 touch screen kiosks offering additional details, images, videos and oral histories. Guests can also create their own collection, accessible through mobile devices or home computers for later viewing.

“We wanted to develop content around what the visitor was seeing,” Mooradian said. “All of the interactives are designed to be learning experiences and activities that utilize artifacts from the Henry Ford collection.”

The collection of vehicles includes a 1896 Duryea, the last remaining example of America’s first car; an 1865 Roper, the oldest remaining American car and a 1931 Bugatti Royale, the third of six ever built.

“What makes this exhibition different from most is that it looks at cars through the eyes of the people who use them, or in some cases, don’t use them,” Senior Curator of Transportation Bob Casey said. “Visitors will be asked to think about what attracted them to automobiles in the first place.”

The exhibit also includes a film examining how the automobile has transformed the world. In addition, the 1946 Lamy’s Diner will, for the first time, offer diner-style food.

Additional information on the exhibit can be found at the museum’s website,