DEARBORN, Mich. (WJBK) - The Henry Ford Museum is home to 26 million artifacts - with only five percent of the collection on display at a time. At the Benson Ford Research Center, though, you can find out what's behind the scenes.
The Benson Ford Research Center was founded in the 1920s by Henry Ford and his employees. The collections focus on the beauty of humanity and its advancements over time.
"Think of innovations that have happened since Henry Ford's demise," says Kristen Gallerneaux, curator of communication and information technology. "We didn't really have the computer as we know it, so we've continued to extend into new areas of technology and, any given year, we might acquire anywhere from a hundred to several thousand artifacts. So we're very active in collecting."
The collection is packed with crucial pieces of history, but also has unique nostalgic pieces.
"As Atari was going bankrupt in '83 they needed to offload a lot of their unsold merchandise - in particular these ... ET games which were some of the worst games of all time on record. So, they buried millions of cartridges in this hole in the dessert - buried it, incased it in concrete. And, in 2014, videogame enthusiasts and archeologists got a team and actually got permission to bring this back up to the surface," Gallerneaux says. 'We actually have materials that were in the ground for thirty years in the landfill, and we also have clothing that the archeologists were wearing that day with dirt still intact on them from the El Megroder New Mexico landfill."
From cutting-edge design to household treasures and changes in technology, the Ford Benson Research Center is collecting the American experience one artifact at a time.
"This archive is really important because it really provides a window into these ideas of innovation, ingenuity and resourcefulness. It also helps to humanize technology and other stories as well. It helps to provide a context into this idea of innovation," Gallerneaux says.
For more information on tours for the Benson Ford Research Center, visit www.henryford.org.
The Nine took the show on the road on Friday, July 28 to Dearborn, where we also talked more about the museum. You can watch in the videos in the video player above.