Celebrate the Ford Mustang’s 50th Anniversary at The Henry Ford

Did you know that the Ford Mustang celebrates its 50th Anniversary this month? Today, guest blogger Lish Dorset tells us how to join in on the celebration at The Henry Ford Museum. 

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

This year, it’s all about the Mustang at The Henry Ford. If you’re a fan of classic cars, there’s a lot to be excited about this year as the Ford Mustang turns 50. Launched in April 1964, the Mustang was the first of the American pony cars and instantly became an American icon, creating a loyal fan base right from the beginning.

If you’ve been to Henry Ford Museum, you know that we have two very special Mustangs within our collections. The 1962 Ford Mustang I Roadster Concept Car and the 1965 Mustang Serial Number One are visitor favorites within Driving America and help tell the story of the early days of this classic car. As part of the year-long celebration of all-things Mustang, we’ve put these two important vehicles on the road as part of our THF OnWheels Tour so that car lovers across the country can see these two classics up close.

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Our Mustangs first went out on the road this past January at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. As part of Ford’s presence at the show, guests were greeted by these two icons as the company told the story of the car’s history in their exhibit inside Cobo Hall. The cars’ next stop was to Las Vegas and North Carolina for the Mustang 50th Anniversary Celebration in mid-April.

Where can you see our Mustangs back here in Michigan? At this year’s Motor Muster at Greenfield Village. We’re expecting a great Mustang turnout this summer, so it’s definitely an event not to miss.

It’s been a lot of fun so far this year helping celebrate the anniversary of this fantastic car. Whether it’s downloading a wallpaper for your phone or keeping an eye on our blog for updates from our curator of transportation, there’s almost always something Mustang-related to share here at The Henry Ford.

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Our biggest gift to Mustang fans is our THF OnWheels Mustang #1 Fantasy Sweepstakes. Now through September 30 you can enter the sweepstakes for a chance to enjoy a unique, behind-the-scenes experience with our Mustangs as well as a trip to Detroit for the 2015 North American International Auto Show. It’s the ultimate in VIP experiences for VIP Mustang fans.

To keep up to date with automotive happenings at The Henry Ford, make sure to subscribe to THF OnWheels, our enthusiast channel for car lovers. From feature stories to event information, it’s a one-stop-destination for the car news you need. And it’s a great resource for fueling your love of Mustang this year.

Lish Dorset is the social media manager for The Henry Ford in Dearborn. She lives in Royal Oak with her family. She learned how to drive in a 1994 Ford Mustang, much to her mother’s objection.

For more information on the Mustang’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, watch the video below:

Beat the Winter Blues with Some Indoor Family Fun

While the spring season is drawing near, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy some fun indoor activities in Pure Michigan. If your family seems to have come down with cabin fever this winter, these great family activities are sure to put a spring in their step heading into warmer days. Here is a roundup of just a few of the many awesome indoor activities to take advantage of during the winter months. For more indoor family fun, visit michigan.org

Indoor Waterparks

New and Improved! – Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark: Boyne Falls, MI

Photo courtesy of Boyne Mountain Resort

If you’re looking for a new thrill, you won’t want to miss Michigan’s first ProSlide SuperLOOP™, an extreme body slide with a 360 degree loop. This epic slide opened earlier this winter at Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark at Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls.  The Big Couloir experience begins in a launch capsule and features a trap door that drops away and propels riders into an enclosed tunnel traveling with G-force at speeds up to 38 feet per second.  The new half-million dollar attraction is a real adrenaline rush combining anticipation with a free fall sensation and speed!  For those not quite so daring, Avalanche Bay also has many other aquatic attractions.  As Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark at 88,000 square feet, the park boasts six amazing waterslides, a Rip Zone surfing wave, four-story mountain water-play structure, shallow children’s pool, activity pool, lazy river, relaxing hot tubs, mega-arcade, and pub with a full bar.  The park has received top honors being named a top ten indoor waterpark in the U.S. by Budget Travel and featured among America’s coolest indoor waterparks by Travel + Leisure.  Half- and full-day waterpark passes are available and discounts are provided to resort lodging guests. Boyne Mountain’s Ski & Splash Package includes lodging, lift ticket, waterpark admission, hot breakfast, and tubing from $112 per person, per night.

Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark: Frankenmuth, MI

Treat your family to an unforgettable weekend at Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark in Frankenmuth. Enjoy over 30,000 sq. ft. of aquatic fun with Splash landing play area, dumping bucket, giggling gorge and Perilous plunge. Relax in the whimsical whirl hot tub or just float along the lazy river. After splashing around, experience some of Frankenmuth’s many other offerings – including Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, located just next door to Zehnder’s and open 361 days a year!

Great Wolf Lodge: Traverse City, MI

The Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City features a 38,000 square-foot indoor water park with 8 waterslides, 5 pools, 2 whirlpools and a 4-story/12-level interactive Tree House Water Fort. The state-of-the-art facility utilizes nearly 200,000 gallons of water that is splashed, sprayed, waved and played in by both kids and parents alike.

Hands On Activities

The Henry Ford: Dearborn, MI

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

The Henry Ford boasts four one-of-a-kind attractions, 200 acres including Greenfield Village (closed during the winter season) and the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, that will bring you through the ages. Notable treasures such as John F. Kennedy’s Limousine, Rosa Parks bus, and Abraham Lincoln’s chair, plus experiences such as Model T Rides and an assembly plant walking tour make your visit to The Henry Ford truly unique. The Henry Ford offers a glimpse inside centuries of American life with hand-on activities for the kids throughout!

Michigan Science Center: Detroit, MI

The Michigan Science Center is a unique and dynamic hands-on museum, offering programs and activities that inspire families to discover, explore and appreciate science, technology and math in a fun environment. The museum takes an interactive approach to science with engaging, hands-on shows and activities, including Michigan’s only Chrysler IMAX Dome Theater and exhibits covering topics such as space, motion, health and nutrition, engineering and more!  Check out the website for hours, show times, special events and traveling exhibits.

Ann Arbor Hands On Museum: Ann Arbor, MI

Discover the scientist within you at the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum. This interactive museum features more than 250 hands-on exhibits, including some visitor favorites such as whisper dishes, tornado, Building in a Building, Google Liquid Galaxy and the popular water table!  Perfect for kids and adults of all ages, you’ll have a blast witnessing science demonstrations and special events that bring chemistry, physics, geology, math, music and more to life! Visit the website for special events and programs.

Morley Candy and Sanders Factory Tour: Clinton Township, MI

Morley Candy Makers is the place where Sanders chocolate and desserts are created. Morley Candy Makers free factory tour is perfect the family and available Monday through Friday. The journey begins with the story of chocolate, how chocolate is made and how Sanders and Morley Candy Makers got their start in Detroit. Observe Michigan’s largest candy maker create delicious treats in the 100 foot observation walkway, enjoy a chocolate sample and visit the unique candy shop to put the finishing touch on your visit.

Jump, Bounce, and Play

AirTime Trampoline and Game Park: Troy, MI

AirTime Trampoline & Game Park is a high energy trampoline and music experience unlike any other. Imagine bouncing up and down on wall to wall trampolines with the speakers pumping out your favorite songs. With over 15,000 square feet of trampolines and foam pits, guests can flip, jump and bounce while enjoying time with family and friends. AirTime is an exciting activity and perfect outlet for energetic kids!

Jeepers: Auburn Hills, MI

Jeepers is an indoor animated theme park for families with children age 12 and under. The park provides a broad variety of entertainment activities including amusement park rides, soft play areas and skill games, plus comfortable family dining and birthday parties all in a climate controlled indoor setting. Visit the website for hours, prices and events!

Where is your favorite place in Michigan to enjoy some indoor fun? 

An Inside Look at the Archives of Michigan

If you’re a Michigan history buff or just love to discover new things at Michigan museums, then a visit to the Archives of Michigan or the Michigan Historical Museum  in Lansing is sure to pique your interest! Today, Mary Detloff from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources takes us deep inside the Archives of Michigan for a look at Pure Michigan way back when. 

Outside the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing, MI

Tucked into a light grey archival box on a shelf in the Archives of Michigan, organized neatly in manila folders, the yellowing onion skin typing paper represents the loving correspondence of a Michigan man and woman, a World War II soldier and his wife.

“Dearest, You know now that the invasion has started …” starts a letter from Charles Westie, a Michigan solider, writing to his wife Ardith on June 6, 1944 – D-Day. During the coming weeks, Westie would serve in combat in France as part of the invasion force that turned the tide in Europe in the Allied Forces’ favor.

The Westie correspondence, between two ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances, shows the difficulty of the life of a soldier, waiting in England for his orders to go to battle in Europe, and his wife, waiting anxiously in Michigan for any news from her husband.

Archivist Bob Garret sorting through a photo collection recently donated to the Archives of Michigan.

These letters, along with hundreds of thousands of documents, maps, records, photographs and other ephemera, make up the Archives of Michigan. The Archives holds more than 120 million records that tell the story of Michigan from the encounters of Europeans and Native Americans to records from Governor Jennifer Granholm.

The Archives, the Michigan Historical Museum, and the Michigan Historical Commission all marked their 100th anniversary this past year, coming into existence in 1913 with a law signed by then-Governor Woodbridge N. Ferris.  The law created the Michigan Historical Commission, and directed the body to collect, arrange and preserve historical material related to Michigan and the old Northwest Territory.

”The Archives of Michigan serves as Michigan’s memory.  It holds the historical documents, maps and photographs of state and local governments and private citizens,” said Mark Harvey, state archivist.  “The Archives collections document the tragedies and triumphs of the government and individuals of the State of Michigan.”

Archivist Bob Garrett with an original blueprint for the Michigan State Fairground from 1922.

With documents dating back to 1792, the Archives of Michigan holds a vast selection of historical documents ranging from the original blueprints and architect’s drawings of the Michigan Capitol Building to the papers of former state legislators, to naturalization records from the turn of the century, to more personal collections, such as the Westie letters and a rare diary from a Michigan soldier who witnessed the Philippine-American War in 1899.

The public can access materials from the Archives in a couple of different ways.

Archivist Bob Garrett assisting a researcher in the Archives of Michigan Reading Room.

First, you can visit the Archives of Michigan, located in the Michigan Historical Center, 702 West Kalamazoo, in Lansing. The Archives has a reference room open to the public from 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The reference room is always manned by two Archives staff members, who are available to assist visitors with records requests. Visitors of all ages are welcome, and typically include attorneys, academics, graduate students, staff from legislators’ offices or state agencies, persons doing genealogy research or younger students.

Some of the more popular records in the Archives have been digitized and are available to the public on the website www.seekingmichigan.org, which is a partnership between the Archives of Michigan and the Michigan History Foundation. Seeking Michigan features 1.2 million records, including items such as searchable Michigan census records from 1884-1894, death records from 1897 to 1920 and a lot of Civil War material.

Seeking Michigan also features an online shop called Michiganology that offers unique products with a tie to the Archives, such as t-shirts and prints featuring brewery labels from early Michigan breweries, which were required to register their labels with the state. The store also sells notecards featuring old trout stamps, items highlighting the Proud Robin (once a symbol of Michigan Week) and many other items. There is also a blog maintained by archivists and staff from the Michigan Historical Museum featuring stories from Michigan’s past.

Have you visited the Archives of Michigan or the Michigan Historical Museum? What interesting items did you see during your visit? 

Mary Dettloff is senior advisor for communications for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and a native of Northern Michigan.