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    The Henry Ford’s Christmas wish? A new roof for its new Main Storage Building


    The upside to having a collection with 26 million artifacts and objects is that The Henry Ford has important pieces of history across nearly every genre. The downside is accessing that collection hasn’t always been easy.

    With much of the collection once stored in two off-site storage buildings — one in Dearborn, another on the Dearborn and Detroit border — that meant curators and staff had to go off campus to gather what they needed. And one storage building even had multiple levels.

    “The conditions were not as easy to access,” said Patricia Mooradian, The Henry Ford’s president and chief operating officer. “A lot of things were crated up or boxed up.”

    But that changed recently when the The Henry Ford was able to take over a one-story 250,000-square-foot warehouse adjacent to its campus that previously belonged to Ford Motor Co., allowing the museum to consolidate 70% of its collection in one space.

    The new building, now called the Main Storage Building, however, needs a new roof, a $2 million project that The Henry Ford is hoping patrons will help contribute to on Giving Tuesday. A portion of the donations will be matched by a $500,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    The campaign for the new roof is the latest step in a multi-step process to not just consolidate The Henry Ford’s off site warehouses into one space, organize, prep, move and store the artifacts in a logical way. The warehouse was once Henry Ford’s engineering building.

    Spinning Wheels from the mid 1850's are stored inside the Main Storage Building at the Henry Ford.

    “We had to plan out what was in storage and how we wanted to move it and store it in a way that was logical and made sense, because there were so many different types of items, from very, very large old fire trucks and taxi cabs and wagons and vehicles to sewing machines and various different looms and tools,” said Mooradian.

    Anyone who has ever visited Greenfield Village knows just how extensive The Henry Ford’s collection is, from its Model Ts that zoom around Greenfield Village to washing machines.

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