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The Henry Ford digitizes 100,000 artifacts in its collection

November 12, 2020 | In the Press

From Press & Guide (https://www.pressandguide.com/news/the-henry-ford-digitizes-100-000-artifacts-in-its-collection/article_04a97b98-2518-11eb-80a4-cbdf1f9dfbd2.html)

The Henry Ford, located at 20900 Oakwood Boulevard in Dearborn, announced in a press release on Wednesday that it has currently digitized 100,000 artifacts in its collection, which it said is a major milestone for the museum.

The 100,000th artifact is a photograph of the 100,000th Fordson Tractor, with the very first item digitized being a 1929 Ford Model A Coupe used by Henry Ford.

The museum is celebrating during the month of November by giving museum guests a behind-the-scenes look at the digitization process and by counting down the most popular digitized artifacts in its collection on Twitter, with the hashtag #digitization100K.

Funded by a gift from Lynn and Paul Alandt, along with Benson Ford, Jr., on behalf of the Benson and Edith Ford Fund, digitization began with only 500 artifacts, and proved to be a meticulous process.

An artifact selected for digitization is taken to conservation for cleaning, special handling or more extensive treatments, if deemed necessary, and then photographed or scanned, depending on format, size and fragility.

Registrars then work to find information about the object within The Henry Ford's collections to describe it, such as finding out the type of artifact it is, its date, what material its made of, its dimensions and who created and who owns it.

From this, curators draft a summary that gives a quick overview of the artifact's historical significance and the artifact is submitted for approval.

Finally, the artifact's images and cataloging information are then loaded onto The Henry Ford's digital collections and viewed online on The Henry Ford's website.

To date, The Henry Ford has over 26 million artifacts in its collection, meaning there are at least 25,900,000 artifacts to go to be digitized, if the museum wants to digitize them.

"If you've visited our website, read a blog post, shared a social media sotry from our channels, or simply walked through the museum, you've encountered the work of our digitization team," Patricia Moorandian, The Henry Ford's president and CEO, said. 

"Digitization has opened our doors to guests far beyond what we could have ever imagined. People can now view the Rosa Parks bus, the Wright Cycle Shop or Edison's Menlo Park Laboratory from anywhere in the world at any time they choose."

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum was closed for 16 weeks from the end of March 2020 onward.

Consequentially, it is asking for donations to support the museum, including the digitization program, which will be matched by longtime The Henry Ford supporters.

To make a donation, visit the museum's website.

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