Driving America, a brand new, one-of-a-kind automotive experience at The Henry Ford in Dearborn,Michigan will open to the public January 29, 2012.

 Centered around an unparalleled collection of historically significant vehicles, this remarkable mix of authentic artifacts, digital media, interactive play and personal accounts focuses on the enormous influence the automobile has had on American culture—from the automotive innovations that have changed our lives to the everyday choices we make.

Driving America is more than an exhibition with cars on display,” saidPatricia Mooradian, president of The Henry Ford. “It is really an interactive, state-of-the-art story of us—us as drivers, consumers and enthusiasts. It examines the car as an innovation and explores how it has changed almost every aspect of our lives and heavily influenced the decisions we make. It is an exhibition that resonates with us all and it will challenge us to think differently about what we drive.”

One of the largest automotive-centric exhibitions of its kind, Driving America is a sweeping 80,000 square feet and includes 130 vehicles and more than 60 cases of artifacts. Sprinkled throughout the experience are 18 interactive 42-inch touchscreens offering thousands of additional details, images, videos and oral histories, all of which give the visitor greater access, beyond the museum floor, to the collections of The Henry Ford. Guests can create their own custom collection that can be accessed through their mobile device or home computer for viewing later.

“We wanted to develop content around what the visitor was seeing,” said Mooradian. “All of the interactives are designed to be learning experiences and activities that utilize artifacts from the extensive Henry Ford collection.”

For those who are all about the cars themselves, Driving America offers up a stellar and unprecedented collection of some of the most important and significant vehicles of our time including an 1896 Duryea, the last remaining example of America’s first production car, the 1865 Roper, the oldest surviving American car, and the 1931 Bugatti Royale the third of only six ever built in the world. Century-old electric cars, current hybrids, muscle cars, racers and modern-day SUVs fill the exhibition’s 20 focal areas that cover everything from hot rods and road trips to road food and racing.

“What makes this exhibition different from most is that it looks at cars through the eyes of the people who use them, or in some cases, don’t use them,” said Bob Casey, senior curator of transportation for The Henry Ford. “Visitors will be asked to think about what attracted them to automobiles in the first place. How have their definitions of style or luxury changed over time? How have their attitudes towards safety, or recreation, or environmental costs changed? Driving America uses The Henry Ford’s unparalleled collection to inspire visitors to think about these and other questions surrounding their relationships with the car.”

Driving America will also include a brand-new theater experience complete with a new signature film that examines how the automobile has truly transformed our world and highlights the choices that lie ahead. In addition, an old favorite, the 1946 Lamy’s Diner, will for the first time offer “diner-style” fare for hungry visitors.

For more information, visit www.thehenryford.org.


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