This site was created and developed by the University of Michigan-Dearborn and The Henry Ford, with primary funding provided by an Exemplary Education Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and additional matching funds from the DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund. A group of faculty members, librarians, curators, and archivists from UM-Dearborn and the Benson Ford Research Center at The Henry Ford began the project in 2002 and completed it in 2005.
The site is designed as a resource for the Science and Technology Studies Program at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and in particular for its introductory course, both of which take as their particular focus the automobile and automobile industry. As an educational resource, the site includes supplementary teaching materials such as discussion questions and suggestions for writing assignments, and explanations are provided for potentially unfamiliar references in the essays. Thus, it is also meant to be useful to students, educators, and members of the general public with an interest in the automobile’s many roles in American life and society, and to provide a model for other sites and programs at universities in regions shaped by a particular industry, be it coal or computers. Of additional note for scholars and researchers are the oral histories of automotive designers working from the 1940s to the 1980s, the eight new essays by distinguished scholars, and the supplemental archival materials—photographs, product literature, design drawings, advertisements, etc.—from the collections of The Henry Ford.