Henry Ford Museum to Open Mathematica Exhibit Sept. 23


The Henry Ford, an American history campus in Dearborn, will unveil Mathematic: A World of Numbers and Beyond on Sept. 23. The exhibition at the Henry Ford Museum, conceptualized by Charles and Ray Eames in 1961, is an interactive display of numbers and mathematics.

“Mathematica not only changed the way exhibitions were designed, but it emphasized the important concept of learning by doing,” says Patricia Mooradian, president and CEO of The Henry Ford. “With its addition on the museum floor, we can provide visitors of all ages a unique, engaging, and interactive experience that incorporates the science, technology, engineering, and math platform.”

Mathematic uses kinetic installations, models, timelines, quotations, imagery, and physical interaction to help viewers digest different mathematical phenomena and ideas. The exhibit also features many large mechanical interactives, including the Probability Machine, a device that drops plastic balls around a grid to create a bell curve, and Minimal Surfaces, six wire wands that dip in and out of soapy water to create bubble forms.

The Henry Ford exhibits one of the three versions of Mathematica, with unique features such as Random Walk, a display where sorting baskets determine the directions of a pathway of lightbulbs, and Conic Sections, where guests can witness light beams transported into shapes across string formations.

“At the Eames Office, we wanted a venue that was respectful enough to conserve Mathematica as a complete and cohesive work of Charles and Ray’s creation, forward looking enough to restore the experience of the piece — even when that meant carefully adapting new technologies to deliver the original experience, and smart enough to present it not simply as a classic but also as a teaching tool for the students of today,” says Eames Demetiros, director of Eames Office.

“We could not be happier with the multi-year journey of getting it just right for The Henry Ford’s community.  The Eames Family and the Eames Office are tremendously grateful to The Henry Ford for their passion and care.”

Founded in 1929, the Henry Ford sees nearly 1.8 million visitors annually, and includes Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, Benson Ford Research Center, and the Ford Rouge Factory Tours.