Saturday, July 4, 2009

Greenfield Village

I used to go to Greenfield Village every May back when I taught third grade. It was my favorite place to go for a field trip, but I hadn't been back there for eight years, not since I left the classroom to go into the computer lab. So I was delighted when my friend Donna called saying she had a free pass to the Village and invited me to come with her!

Now if you aren't from the metro Detroit area, you might not be familiar with Greenfield Village. Henry Ford established this complex to preserve historical buildings from American History. It includes his birthplace, the one room school that he attended, and some of the buildings where the first Ford cars were built. It also has significant buildings in the lives of his friends Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and the Wright Brothers. You step back in time as you walk streets lined that are lined with buildings from all periods of American History. Here's some of my favorite things to see in Greenfield Village:

The Firestone Farm probably is my favorite building in the Village. It is a working farm from the 1800s, complete with fields, sheep, chickens, and horses. You will find workers in period dress doing whatever jobs would typically happening during that time of day and year.

In the kitchen, the women are cooking the lunch time meal. It's always interesting to find out what's on the stove. This must be a very unpleasant job to have on a hot day!

The house is filled with period artifacts. Wouldn't this horsehair chair by the window be the perfect spot to work on a quilt?

The Liberty Craftsworks area has been reorganized since my last visit and it is beautiful! The craftshops are arranged around a pretty pond with a gristmill at the entrance.

You can watch craft people at work doing glassblowing, printing, tinsmithing, wool carding, and pottery. The goods they create are for sale in the shops, of course!

The Daggett Farmhouse is a saltbox house from the 1700s. When we visited they were showing the handspun yarn that had been dyed with natural herbs, flowers, and bark.

The Susquehanna Plantation shows what life would have been like in the South during the 1800s from the perspective of both the owner and the slave. I really wanted to get a closer look at that quilt on the stand!

Speaking of quilts, I have always loved this quilt in the Sarah Jordan Boarding House! This house is where many of Thomas Edison's workers lived while working in his Menlo Park complex and was one of the first houses to have electricity. This house is set up with wonderful artifacts as if the workers were still living there, including some messy bedrooms!

Thoughout the village there are singers and actors portraying characters from American history. Here are the "Wright Brothers" on the porch of their birthplace, telling about their first flight.

And there are all kinds of wonderful gardens to explore! The gardens are often labeled - this one had all kinds of plants with preactical uses.

So that's a small glipse of the amazing Americanna that you can see at Greenfield Village. What a perfect thing to post about on the Fourth of July! If you'd like to see more pictures, here's my set of images at Flickr.

My next post will tell about the highlight of this visit - tea in the Cotswold Cottage garden.

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