Auto manufacturer Henry Ford was a man ahead of his time. Although he didn't invent the automobile, Ford believed that a car that everyday people could afford would be a huge success. He was right and the company he started still exists today.
But Ford was also ahead of his time in another way. He could have collected the finest and most expensive art in the world. But instead he collected commonplace things, like toasters, farm machinery, kerosene lamps, and steam engines. Ford felt that these everyday objects told a truth not written about in history books. Today, educators call these items "primary sources."
In order to display his collections, Ford founded the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village (originally called the Edison Institute, in honor of his friend, Thomas Edison), the world's largest indoor-outdoor history museum. Ford wanted his museum to be a place where people could see how their ancestors lived and worked. The 13-acre museum and village celebrates the accomplishments of American innovators, such as Ford himself, Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers, George Washington Carver, Noah Webster, and others.