Q: Who is Benson Ford?
A: Benson Ford was the second son of Edsel and Eleanor Ford and grandson of Henry and Clara Ford. He served as trustee of the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village for 36 years and succeeded his grandfather as the second Chairman of the Board for the museum from Henry Ford's death in 1947 until 1951. His deep dedication to this institution is honored by his children, Lynn Ford Alandt and Benson Ford Jr. through their generosity in providing major support for the Benson Ford Research Center.
Q: Can I do Research for free?
A: The Benson Ford Research Center is open free of charge to the general public. Staff is always available to assist you in finding materials appropriate for your needs. It is not required, but we encourage you to make an appointment before coming in so that we can have material prepared for you. If you cannot visit the reading room, off-site services are available for a fee.
Q: Where is the Research Center located?
A: The Benson Ford Research Center building is east of the Henry Ford Museum building on the Josephine E. Ford plaza entrance to Greenfield Village. If you walk into the main Greenfield Village entrance you will be in the Josephine E. Ford Plaza. The main entrance to the research center is on your left. You do not need a ticket to Greenfield Village to enter the plaza, go to the research center or visit the Greenfield Village store. The Reading Room is located in on the first floor at the front of the building to your right as you enter the front door.
Q: Where do I park?
A: Parking is free to all visitors. Visitor parking is located west of the Museum just off Oakwood Blvd and along Village Road south of Greenfield Village. Spaces are available for buses and RVs. For directions, see our campus map.
Q: What are the Research Center hours?
A: The Reading Room is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 9:30am-5:00pm. We are unable to retrieve material from storage between 12:00 and 1:00. Please note we are not open Monday, Saturday and Sunday, although you can still visit Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum on those days. We do occasionally have special hours. Information on these is posted in the hours section of our website. Walk-ins are welcome, but if you make an appointment, we can prepare for your research visit by making a list of possible collections of interest and pulling some material ahead of your appointment so that you can make the most of research time here.
Q: Can I bring in a camera, computer or video camera?
A: Computers may be brought into the Reading Room. Cases need to be put in lockers. Digital cameras may be used following policies and procedures. Video cameras are not permitted.
Q: How is the Benson Ford Research Center different from my public library?
A: We do not cover all the varied subjects of public libraries. The focus of our collections is the history of American Culture, the impact of the automobile, industrial manufacturing and design, and many other aspect of American culture.
Q: Can I check out books?
A: Collections are available for research but do not circulate because they are often unique and irreplaceable. We do offer a photocopying service.
Q: Do you have antiques there?
A: Museum objects (or thee-dimensional objects) are not kept in the Research Center. In addition to our library books, we have many rare books and archival collections that you can access in our public Reading Room. However, if you are interested in viewing a three-dimensional artifact that is not on display in the Museum or Village, check out our Behind the Barriers program.
Q: Who uses the Benson Ford Research Center?
A: All sorts of people! We are open to everyone. Many members of the general public come to the Reading Room to do research for personal interest, school papers, and books and periodical articles on any number of subjects. Topics can range from how to repair antique automobiles or find illustrations for publications and film documentaries, to the history of women's clothing in the United States or a survey of agricultural equipment used in the early 20th century. We will be happy to assist you in looking for information on your topic.
Q: What other activities go on there?
A: The Benson Ford Research Center also sponsors many events, publications and exhibits. Browse through the rest of the Research Center web pages to find out more about what's going on.
Q: I want to know how much this object I have is worth. Can I get it appraised there?
A: The Henry Ford does not offer an appraisal service, but there are two organizations that can direct you to a reputable antique dealer in your area. The American Society of Appraisers offers that service. You can call them at 1-800-272-8258 or check their web site, http://www.appraisers.org. They will ask you to identify your area of interest (dishes, silver, furniture, etc.) and your location (city, state, area code, zip code, etc.). The other organization is the Appraisers Association of America. You can call them at 212-889-5494 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. More information about appraisals is on our popular research topics page.