The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Santa hailing true believers by name from the balcony of the Robert Frost house.
A sold-out crowd of holiday-lovers and history buffs were on hand over the weekend at Holiday Nights, the special wintertime celebration that takes place within the historical Greenfield Village installation at the Henry Ford Museum. Greenfield Village keeps regular hours seven days a week, from April 14-November 4, but over the winter, Holiday Nights is the only opportunity to visit the 80-acre village grounds, which house authentic historical structures, including the Wright family home and bicycle shop, and Thomas Edison’s entire Menlo Park complex from New Jersey.
The Orville brothers' bike shop, relocated from Ohio, features the back room where they developed their prototype for the first working airplane
Thomas Edison's workshop, where he led a team of inventors in the creation of the light bulb and a breathtaking number of other inventions and innovations.
The Village is likewise home to a host of operational craft works that continue to produce signature woven, glass and ceramic objects in the traditional, handmade mode (an effort, perhaps, to preserve a process soon to be made obsolete by Ford's signature assembly line).
A Greenfield Villager demonstrates the printing press.
Throughout the village, detailed information is provided by a cadre of well-informed historians and artisans.
Visitors were able to go ice skating, be accosted by Mummers, take rides around the park in working Model T’s or horse-drawn carriages, warm themselves around innumerable bonfires, shop for hats made on the premises at Cohen’s Millnery, and visit Santa holding court on the second story of Robert Frost’s former Ann Arbor residence (as well as admire a pair of very tired reindeer resting up for the big night in a paddock outside).
You bet there were chestnuts.
On a regular day, Greenfield Village is a spectacular preserve for our nation’s history, but something about Holiday Nights—and getting to explore these historical places by nighttime, which makes the reality of the outside world seem even farther away—is a special treat that remains a sell-out favorite.
To all a good olde night.
The Henry Ford Museum: 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; 313-271-2455; www.thehenryford.org/index.aspx.
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