Slave, Scholar, Scientist: Explore the History and Legacy of George Washington Carver in New Exhibit at Henry Ford Museum

DEARBORN, MI — (Marketwire) — 10/18/10 — A complex and intimate portrait of one of America’s best known names comes to life in The Henry Ford’s newest exhibit, George Washington Carver, on display November 6, 2010 through February 27, 2011 at Henry Ford Museum. Organized by The Field Museum in collaboration with Tuskegee University and the National Park Service, this exhibit explores Carver’s entire life and career, revealing both his struggles and his remarkable achievements as a scientist, conservationist, educator and humanitarian.

“This exhibit is a fantastic representation of George Washington Carver’s breakthrough research and studies, which truly were ahead of their time,” said Suzanne Fischer, curator of technology at The Henry Ford. “But even more than that, the exhibit explores his fascinating personal life and thirst for knowledge of all different types of subjects, which really shaped much of his work. He broke down many racial and cultural barriers to explore many techniques and methods that scientists and farmers still study today.”

George Washington Carver brings together more than 100 artifacts from Carver’s personal life and work, along with animated and live videos, interactive displays, a diorama of Carver’s childhood farm and a re-creation of the Jesup wagon, his mobile classroom. New to this exhibit are several artifacts from The Henry Ford’s collection, including a microscope used by Carver in his lab and a cast of Carver’s hand made by Isaac Hathaway of the Tuskegee Institute.

Carver overcame tremendous odds to become one of America’s most versatile scientists. Born into slavery in Missouri, he and his mother were kidnapped and then abandoned by slave raiders when he was still an infant. He was adopted by his owners and became known throughout the area for his remarkable skill with plants.

As an adult, Carver became a trail-blazing proponent of sustainability, believing that “nature produces no waste” and neither should man. He was a proponent of crop rotation and sought ways to make alternative crops more useful to farmers and others through the development of products from plants, a field known as chemurgy. Carver found hundreds of new uses for peanuts, sweet potatoes and soy beans. In every aspect of his research, Carver sought to make his findings accessible to the communities around him, putting plain-language information and instructions into bulletins that were widely distributed.

The George Washington Carver exhibit is organized by The Field Museum in collaboration with Tuskegee University and the National Park Service, and is supported at Henry Ford Museum by Ford Motor Company Fund. Entry to this limited-engagement exhibit is free with Henry Ford Museum admission or membership.