The Dymaxion House is a futuristic dwelling machine designed by Buckminster Fuller in the mid-1940's as a prototype tension structure. Constructed from a lightweight aluminum-copper alloy and meant to be mass-produced in aircraft factories, it was going to solve America's housing crisis after WWII and included many futuristic, labor-saving innovations. In the years following the prototype's construction, The Dymaxion House was modified, exposed to the outdoor environment, residential usage took its toll, and the structure was eventually abandoned.
The Henry Ford in Dearborn MI acquired it in 1991. A multi-disciplinary team undertook a three-year conservation program that entailed material testing, finite element analysis, and some inventive treatment methods. In 2001, it opened as a permanent exhibition in the museum.
This presentation will tell the story of the development of the Dymaxion House, the initial conservation program and changes that have been made over the years to accommodate visitor traffic, as well discuss how The Henry Ford, a large indoor/outdoor American history attraction, approaches sustainable, long-term operational/interactive exhibitions.
Presentation by Clara Deck, Senior Conservator, Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan.