The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, April 27, 2001

Benson Ford Research Center to showcase Henry's stuff

By The Building Tradesman

Henry Ford referred to written history as being "more or less bunk," but today's scholars still have tremendous interest in the 20th Century's greatest industrialist.

Ford researchers will have a centralized location to study 50 years of Ford's history with the construction of the 66,000-square-foot Benson Ford Research Center on the grounds of Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn.

Scheduled to open early next year, the $17 million research center will house some of the Henry Ford Museum's most environmentally sensitive and precious collections. Included will be the vast correspondence files of Henry himself, thousands of boxes of papers recording the first 50 years of Ford Motor Company, 10,000 clothing items, 4,000 textiles and rugs, and 8,300 toys and other childhood artifacts, myriad trade catalogs and advertising items.

The new center will house changing gallery space, environmentally controlled shelving areas, and offices for curators, catalogers, and reference staff. The project also includes 25,000 square-feet of renovated space.

"The new research center will enhance our ability to serve the needs of enthusiasts and researchers around the world," said Steven K. Hamp, president of Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village. "This building represents a major new opportunity for direct interaction between visitors and collections as well as an ongoing commitment to improve access to and care for our collections."

TOPPING OUT THE Benson Ford Research Center at Greenfield Village in Dearborn are (l-r) oiler Ken Miller, iron worker Kurt Kroczaleski, i.w. Wade Oliver, i.w. Steve Miller, i.w. foreman Jim Townsend, 222 Manitowac operator Alfie Grass, i.w. Aaron Patcho, i.w. Mark Presley, i.w. Jay Proux, i.w. general foreman Jerry Foco, and down in front, i.w. Brad Martin. Whaley Steel Corp. performed the steel erection.