Enjoying Holiday Nights as an Insider

Holiday Nights return to The Henry Ford this season! Today, Lish Dorset, social media manager for The Henry Ford, fills us in on what makes this celebration special to her and what she's looking forward to seeing from her behind-the-scenes view this year.

Posing for a family photo in Henry Ford Museum, 1986

If you live in metro Detroit, chances are you’ve been to Holiday Nights here at The Henry Ford at some point. While Greenfield Village closes down for the season in about a week, we open back up at night during the weekends to celebrate the holiday season. This year’s Holiday Nights will be a very special visit for me - it’s my first time as an employee of The Henry Ford and my first chance to see all of the hard work that happens behind the scenes.

Skaters take to the ice rink

Growing up in Birmingham, my family’s Christmas tradition has been to spend Christmas Eve morning at Henry Ford Museum. Year after year we took our family portrait of the small cousins in front of the gigantic Christmas tree housed in the museum plaza. When Holiday Nights started more than 10 years ago, our family, with us cousins now looking more like grown-ups, added that to our must-do holiday activity list. We spent hours ice skating, touring the homes, and enjoying some mulled cider as we awaited the holidays.

Warming station help keep guests and presenters warm during Holiday Nights

I had the chance to take my fiance and best friend to Holiday Nights last year for their first visits. We watched the Liberty Craftworks glass artists pull beautiful candy canes, a favorite among THF members, as we learned more about glass blowing and all the crafts they produce for the holidays. December in Michigan tends to be fairly cold, so a visit to the glass shop and their hot furnaces was a welcomed stop from my group. A visit to the Guild Beer Hall didn’t hurt, either!

Holiday Nights preparation is officially underway, even though it seems like we just put away the last of the Hallowe’en scarecrows and pumpkins! As I drive down Village Road past Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum, I’m always excited to see which decoration was put up that morning. It’s not unusual to see rows upon rows of dark green wreaths being prepared for hanging or our grounds crew surveying the best location to add more accessories.

Singing the night away...

And it’s beginning to look a lot more like the holidays inside the museum, too. The model trains have been getting a holiday makeover over by the Allegheny Locomotive, and the gift shop is packed with ornaments, brand-new toys, and the latest handmade offerings from Greenfield Village’s artisans for holiday gift giving.

While I’m lucky enough to see some of the hard work that goes into another exciting year of Holiday Nights, you can bet I’ll be out wandering Greenfield Village in just a few short weeks with my fiance and friends, celebrating the holidays and starting another round of festive traditions.

Lish Dorset is the social media manager for The Henry Ford in Dearborn. She lives in Royal Oak with her fiance and fat cat, Ronnie. When she’s not sharing some of her favorite artifacts from the collections of The Henry Ford with fans on Facebook, she’s at home crafting. You can learn more about Holiday Nights by check out The Henry Ford’s blog.