What to Do at The Henry Ford Museum
You’ve planned your trip to Dearborn, Michigan and The Henry Ford Museum, and now comes the exciting part — figuring out what to do there. During your visit, you’ll want to experience as much as possible to take in the history of American innovation, and there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Read on to see what you don’t want to miss at the Henry Ford Museum.
If you’re looking to plan your meals throughout the day as well, you’re in luck. We’ve also included some options at the Henry Ford and in nearby Greenfield Village for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between. Just like with the attractions, there are many options available, so you’re sure to find something to suit everyone’s palate.
Things to Do at The Henry Ford Museum
A visit to The Henry Ford Museum is a history lover’s paradise. Even if you prefer the innovative technologies of today, you’ll see something that interests you at this museum.
Enjoy everything from tours of the archives to intriguing exhibits. You can interact with history on your visit and engage with American ingenuity of the past and present. With four venues throughout The Henry Ford, you are sure to find something to spark your curiosity. The venues themselves contain a variety of things to do and sights to see.
1. The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
Explore The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation for a wide variety of engaging exhibits. Learn how stories of the past will inspire creations of the future at this venue of the museum. Some of the highlights include:
- Driving America: If you’re at The Henry Ford Museum, you likely have an interest in the automotive industry. Discover the industry’s impact on American culture and lifestyle in this exhibit.
- What We Wore: A showcase for anyone interested in fashion, this exhibit highlights outfits across the eras. This display of garments and accessories shows how fashion evolved and tells stories of featured pieces.
- Davidson-Gerson Modern Glass Gallery: Find a new appreciation for glass as an art form in this exhibit that contrasts the material’s use in industrial projects. View pieces that demonstrate a range of art styles created by a variety of artists in the Davidson-Gerson Modern Glass Gallery.
- Heroes of the Sky: Head from the road to the skies at the immersive exhibit all about flight. Interact with realistic replicas or take part in a flight simulation that has you walking on the wings of a plane.
- With Liberty and Justice for All: Honoring fights for freedom throughout American history, this portion of The Henry Ford Museum features iconic artifacts. Step through history with items like the Rosa Parks Bus or the chair Abraham Lincoln was seated in when he was assassinated.
- Fully Furnished: Check out antique furniture from the 1600s to unique furnishings of today. See common household pieces in a new way after a journey through this exhibit.
- Agriculture: Innovations in Farming: See the tools farmers used to make life possible. From machinery to handheld devices, these innovative items made raising crops and livestock possible.
Other exhibits at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation will take you through history and teach you the importance of other inventions, large and small. No matter which exhibits you choose to visit, you will discover something new about the history of American ingenuity.
2. Greenfield Village
Walk through 300 years of American inventiveness at Greenfield Village. The 80-acre area splits into several districts that bring history to life:
- Henry Ford’s Model T
- Railroad Junction
- Working Farms
- Liberty Craftworks
- Main Street
- Edison at Work
- Porches and Parlors
Each of these areas encompasses a unique spirit of American invention. Ride a restored Model T, see historical homes, board a steam-powered locomotive and experience life during a different era at Greenfield Village. Centuries of innovation created the steps necessary to get to where we are today, and once you’ve experienced the history, you can see the result of those technological revolutions on a Ford factory tour.
3. Ford Rouge Factory Tour
After stepping back through time, return to the present to get a closer look at sustainable and modern manufacturing. With plenty of sights to offer, you’ll find a lot to do in this area of The Henry Ford Museum.
Learn about the engineering behind the Ford F-150 on the factory tour. You’ll view rare historical footage then enjoy the multi-sensory theatrical experience of the modern day at the Manufacturing Innovation Theater. You can also head up to the Observation Deck for a view of the factory floor to see how they create the Ford F-150.
From the deck, take a look at the innovative Living Roof. Spanning over 10 acres, the roof is one of the largest of its kind and serves to filter rainwater, insulate the building and carry out other sustainable practices. Once you’re done exploring from above, take the Assembly Plant Walking Tour for an even closer look at the factory.
4. Benson Ford Research Center
Tour the exhibits and archives at the Benson Ford Research Center if you want to experience even more history at The Henry Ford. See artifacts from Henry Ford’s papers to art, fashion and other textiles on a general tour. Witness how experts preserve these items on a conservation tour.
If you’re interested in topics not on display, visit the Reading Room where you can access archives of information about American history in fields such as:
Find inspiration among stacks of archival documents and artifacts to learn even more about the past during your visit. If that’s still not enough interaction with history, The Henry Ford offers a variety of special events at these various venues. If you’re visiting with children, plan your visit around kids events perfect for those in preschool and elementary school. The Henry Ford also offers events for teens and adults that are sure to spark an interest in America’s innovative past. After these events, come together at the Giant Screen Experience to witness entertaining stories in 4K.
Dining at The Henry Ford
Has learning so much about the past got you ready to refuel? Find everything from meals to sweet treats at The Henry Ford Museum. Much of the fare is historically-inspired and locally-sourced, making the perfect choice for lunch and midday snacks. For meals and savory pick-me-ups, check out these dining options at Greenfield Village and the museum:
- Eagle Tavern: Dine at the 1800s-inspired Eagle Tavern. The restaurant features seasonal fare and uses produce and meat from local farms. Servers dress in mid-1800’s attire to add to the experience. Eagle Tavern operates daily from April through Octoberand on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in November. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- State Street Lunch Stand: For dining options at Greenfield Village, try the family-friendly State Street Lunch Stand. The stand offers casual American favorites like fries, burgers and hot dogs. State Street Lunch Stand is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.through May to early September. If you’re visiting from early September to early October, come from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
- A Taste of History: You’ve toured history and seen kitchens and dining rooms where families of the past gathered to eat. Now you can get a taste of what they were eating. Rotating seasonal menus feature locally-sourced ingredients and historically-inspired meals at A Taste of History. Head to different stations in this restaurant for a variety of fare from different eras. The restaurant is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit daily from April through October or on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in November.
- Mrs. Fisher’s Southern Cooking: Taste recipes preserved through history by Abby Fisher, and top off your meal with a slice of sweet potato pie. Dine outside and enjoy views of the scenic Ackley Covered Bridge and Susquehanna Plantation. Mrs. Fisher’s Southern Cooking is open daily from late May to early September. Stop by from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Owl Night Lunch Wagon: If you’d like to go with foods such as hot dogs, grab a quick bite at the Owl Night Lunch Wagon. It is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily from late May to early September and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from early September to early October.
If you’ve already got lunch and dinner plans somewhere else in Dearborn, you can find small treats at the museum to fuel you throughout the day. Satisfy your sweet tooth at The Henry Ford with these stands and shops:
- Sir John Bennett Sweet Shop: Enjoy candies, chocolates, baked goods, beverages and more at Sir John Bennett Sweet Shop. The sweet shop opens from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stop in daily from April to Labor Day or on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through October.
- Frozen Custard: Cool off on a hot day with the sweet and creamy custard at this stand. Enjoy a treat from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. from April to September.
- Carousel Confections: If you’re looking for more sweet treats, visit Carousel Confections. The shop evokes the era of the soda fountain with floats, sundaes and other treats. Visit from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Cotswold Cottage Tea: Sip delicious tea and munch on baked goods in a garden that Clara Ford often visited. Enjoy a peaceful and scenic break from the museum with your baked goods and beverages. The cottage is open Thursday through Sunday in May to September. Stop in between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Dine at TRIA After a Day at The Henry Ford
Since there are so many things to do at The Henry Ford Museum, you can easily spend all day there. If you stay later than expected and can’t take advantage of dining on site at The Henry Ford, join us at TRIA. We are less than a 10-minute drive from the museum, and we offer dinner after 5 p.m. Enjoy our world-class dining in a casual and welcoming atmosphere — just what you need after a day at the museum.
You’ll find so many amazing offerings at TRIA, including:
- Seasonal American fare
- Internationally-inspired dishes
- Rotating menu items
- Locally-sourced ingredients
- Signature craft cocktails
- Selection of over 35 wines
- Upscale yet casual dining
- Welcoming atmosphere for individuals, families and groups
- Private dining rooms
- Gluten-free menu options
Our delicious and local menu items have an upscale taste you can enjoy in a casual atmosphere. With no dress code requiring formal attire, we welcome guests to stop by — whether they’re coming from work or winding down from a day of sightseeing or coming from The Henry Ford. There’s no need to worry about changing into formal wear after your museum visit. We know you’re hungry after a day of exploring The Henry Ford, and we’d love to have you visit us for dinner.
Want to come in for earlier meals? Stop by for breakfast, starting every day at 6:30 a.m. or lunch from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Fuel up for your day ahead at The Henry Ford or take a break from your tour with a midday meal at TRIA.
Whether you’re visiting the area for The Henry Ford Museum or looking to visit other places in Detroit as well, we welcome you to get a taste of our own innovation. We serve everything from traditional dishes to fare inspired by worldwide flavors, meaning we are sure to have something for everyone.
End your day of exploring with us at TRIA. Reservations aren’t required, but we recommend making one to guarantee yourself, your family or your group a table with us. Contact us online or at 313-253-4475 for delicious dining near The Henry Ford.