The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

Digital Transformation at The Henry Ford

A dramatic new entrance to The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

Project Overview

Activating Innovation is an extensive museum enhancement project for the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. Using design, interactive technology, and architectural-scale spatial interventions, a suite of new experiences introduces and unpacks the museum’s core themes of innovation. Each experience empowers visitors of all ages and abilities to discover a personal connection to the museum’s objects and the extraordinary innovators, activists, designers, artists, and engineers who created them.

Bluecadet and The Henry Ford worked to create a cohesive visitor journey, introducing a dramatic new entrance, exhibit-specific interpretation, and mobile content visitors can access throughout the museum. Stories that could only be told at The Henry Ford are told on platforms that are equally unique: pillars of display that wrap existing structural columns, which are clad in material that blends into the 90-year old architecture. Each aspect of these new experiences — from the stories represented to the architectural design — works together to tell the rich, multi-faceted story of American innovation.

Project Videos and Images

A Dramatic New Entrance

Four visitor-sensing digital pillars activate the entrance of the museum with immersive innovator portraits that respond to guest behavior. These pillars interactively reveal layered biographies, footage, and knowledge from innovators including Rosa Parks, Buckminster Fuller, and Amelia Earhart — connecting visitors to the human minds behind the museum’s artifacts.

digital product

A digital column displaying information for visitors.

A woman walks around the digital column, taking in the information.

Digital Interpretation Columns

The Agriculture and the Environment interpretation column transforms an infrastructural element into new interpretive surfaces. It offers an introductory film, graphic panels, and two large-scale touch screens that explore the exhibit’s key themes through the lives and work of Rachel Carson, George Washington Carver, and Luther Burbank.

A woman stands in front of the digital column

digital product

A young child using the digital column's touchscreen features.

Two adults interacting with the touchscreen.

Guests can explore five different interactives, which the museum can add or update at any time through a powerful content management system.

Augmented Reality &
Location-Enabled Audio Tours

The new mobile app, THF Connect, lets visitors uncover new stories across the museum. It features interactive audio tours, a digital membership card, turn-by-turn directions powered by over 500 location sensing beacons, and an AR-powered “artifact remixer,” which visitors can use to inspect and mashup objects ranging from the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile to the iconic Eames Shell Chair, then place their new inventions in the museum.

A woman using the THF Connect to observe an exhibit piece.

Phone screens displaying the features of the THF Connect

A man uses the mobile app to interact with a car in the exhibit.

We wanted to create new spaces for visitors to see themselves as a part of these extraordinary stories.”

Troy LaChance

Executive Creative Director, Bluecadet