(Dearborn, MI – June 11, 2010) — The Henry Ford is planning to build a $15 million exhibition covering the history and innovation of American auto racing, it was announced by Patricia Mooradian, president of The Henry Ford. Racing in America is a permanent 22,000-square-foot engaging and unique experience powered by highly interactive displays and frontier-stretching technologies. Planned for Henry Ford Museum, this exhibition will bring auto racing to life with history’s greatest and most significant vehicles, the personal stories and collections from the most legendary leaders and drivers in the industry, as well as on-site demonstrations of today’s technological advancements.
Co-chairing The Henry Ford’s efforts to build this exhibition are Edsel B. Ford II, Rick Hendrick, Roger S. Penske and Jack Roush.
“Racing in America will be the nation’s first comprehensive, interactive exhibition covering all forms of American auto racing through the lens of innovation,” said Mooradian. “This experience will show how auto racing has evolved as an important part of our culture and is a clear example of America’s ‘can-do’ spirit igniting and inspiring a new generation of dreamers, risk-takers, entrepreneurs and inventors.”
This exhibition will give a thorough overview of our country’s achievements in this sport — from the first American auto race, the Times Herald race through Chicago in 1895, and Henry Ford’s first race car, Sweepstakes, to Bill Elliott’s famous #9 car, which set the all-time NASCAR qualifying record at Talladega in 1987. Other significant artifacts in this exhibit will include the 1965 Indy 500 winner, the Lotus-Ford 38/1, the Goldenrod and Tom Beatty’s Belly-Tank Lakester.
Once visitors enter Racing in America, they will encounter the full spectrum of the sport from stock car racing, drag racing, road-racing sports cars, Indy cars to land-speed record cars.
Beyond the vehicles, this exhibition is about the practical applications of technology, math, and science that auto racing brings to current and future generations. Interactive displays will include an actual NASCAR transporter to be used for on-site demonstrations using the museum’s historic vehicles as well as showcasing present-day technologies. Visitors will actually have the opportunity to announce a famous race on radio or on camera in the “broadcast booth,” and in the “Crash-Safety Theater,” museum-goers will witness the dangers of racing and see the innovations and changes made to make this sport safe for everyone involved. There also will be a special section for kids where they can design race cars of tomorrow with their friends and family.
Dispersed throughout the exhibition will be the oral histories of some of the legends within the industry who changed the world—people like Jim Hall, Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones and Lyn St. James. Web-based curriculum materials for grades 3-12, focusing on history, design, science, physics, and engineering, will also be made available on the exhibit’s website, racinginamerica.com.
“Racing in America celebrates the spirit, skills and genius that auto racing inspires,” said Mooradian. “As an educational institution, The Henry Ford is delighted to present and showcase the 21st century skills of creative problem-solving, perseverance and teamwork that are so well represented in this exciting and engaging sport.”
About The Henry Ford
The Henry Ford, in Dearborn, Michigan, is the world’s premiere history destination and a National Historic Landmark that celebrates American history and innovation. Its mission is to provide unique educational experiences based on authentic objects, stories and lives from America’s traditions of ingenuity, resourcefulness and innovation. Its purpose is to inspire people to learn from these traditions to help shape a better future. Five distinct attractions at The Henry Ford captivate more than 1.6 million visitors annually: Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, The Ford Rouge Factory Tour, The Benson Ford Research Center and The Henry Ford IMAX Theatre. The Henry Ford is also home to Henry Ford Academy, a public charter high school which educates 485 students a year on the institution’s campus and was founded in partnership with The Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company and Wayne County Public Schools. For more information please visit our website thehenryford.org.