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Dearborn, Michigan: The Henry Ford: President Kennedy's Limousine

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Uploaded on Jan 21, 2009

It was still dark outside on October 19, 2008 when I woke up from my restful slumber at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit. I heard some noises, looked outside and saw hundreds of people on the sidewalk on Washington Avenue: the Detroit Marathon was on! I decided to get dressed quickly and check out the action.

The Detroit Marathon is the only marathon world-wide that features an underwater portion (the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel), and its international course linking Windsor (on the Canadian side) and Detroit makes it unique. I enjoyed the busy atmosphere of runners and onlookers and walked south to the Detroit River to catch a beautiful red and orange sunrise.

After my brisk morning walk and a nice breakfast at the hotel my friend Linda and I embarked on a trip to Dearborn, Michigan, to visit The Henry Ford, the largest indoor-outdoor history museum complex in the United States. The indoor exhibits include the vehicle that President Kennedy was shot in as well as the real bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and effectively triggered the Civil Rights Movement. Other highlights include the chair that President Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot. One of our favourites was the Dymaxion House, inventor Buckminster Fullers futuristic round suspended house, originally conceptualized in 1927.

The outdoor grounds include Greenfield Village which encompasses almost 100 historical buildings that were moved here to recreate an America of yesteryear. A steam locomotive takes visitors around, authentic Ford Model Ts offer rides to the public, and children can enjoy a carousel and rides in a horse-drawn omnibus.

Back in the city we visited another jewel of the city: the Detroit Institute of Arts, ranked as the second-largest municipally owned museum in the United States. Assisted by a volunteer guide, we explored this huge cultural institution and admired the extensive African and Asian collections as well as more recent works by African-American artists and German expressionists. This impressive museum also holds works by Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt, Vincent van Gogh, Auguste Rodin, Franz Marc, Oscar Kokoschka, Pablo Picasso and many other prominent artists.

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