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Front Row Seat: Visiting Ford Museum, Greenfield Village opens children's eyes to history

by Mike lesko | reporter Published: September 4, 2016 12:00 AM

Hudson -- The fifth-grade level -- or about age 10 -- seems to be popular for visiting the famed Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Mich.

That's where fifth-graders at East Woods Elementary School are making plans to go May 22 for a one-day trip.

That's where East Woods teacher Mary Gladstone went when she was in fifth-grade and where School Board member James Field visited when he was about 10.

And that's where I went with my mom and dad, Bettie and Mike Lesko II, when I was 10.

Gladstone and Field talked about what an impression the journey made on them. They are so correct.

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Visiting Dearborn was the first major family vacation for me. I have been interested in history for as long as I can remember, and my mom suggested the trip. It was a terrific idea.

I remember being awed by the amazing display of Ford Model T automobiles from yesteryear. Dad talked about his father driving one of those cars, and they seemed to have more meaning to me after that.

The cars didn't have a lot of room for passengers, and I wondered how parents crammed all their children into those vehicles. Dad laughed. He was one of 12 siblings in his family.

"We walked a lot," he said with a smile.

We viewed the laboratory of Thomas Edison, whose long-lasting light bulb was among his more than 1,000 inventions. As a kid, it seemed impossible to me that people functioned without light bulbs not that long ago.

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Mom said people of yesteryear often relied on candle light. It seemed primitive to me a youngster, but that's the way it was.

We saw the Wright Brothers' cycle shop where I learned about how they were instrumental in the birth of aviation. That was another thing that kids take for granted, especially someone like me, who grew up across the street from an airport in Lorain.

The trip was a chance for me to learn about important people and events in American history and how they shaped our country.

Decades later, young people have the same learning opportunities when they visit Dearborn.

The Henry Ford Museum, which has about 250 acres, has more than 21 exhibits. Greenfield Village has more than 80 acres. They are places where history comes alive.

Visiting those two destinations is extremely worthwhile.

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9436

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