The Henry Ford acquires largest collection related to American diners

DEARBORN, Mich. - The Henry Ford has acquired the largest collection of diner materials in the country.

Put together by the leading expert on the subject, Richard J.S. Gutman, the collection features thousands of 2D and 3D artifacts includes historic photographs, slides, drawings, manufacturers' catalogs, postcards, menus, tables, stools, tableware, promotional giveaway items, clothing and more, from diners across the United States.

Gutman grew his collection in the course of his research for four books, numerous articles, three major exhibitions, and multiple restoration and consulting projects. In addition, he was instrumental in the move and restoration of The Henry Ford's own Lamy's Diner, which is now used as a dining experience inside Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, and also the reconstruction of the Owl Night Lunch Wagon, the last surviving lunch wagon in existence, located in Greenfield Village.

"Through Richard's efforts, the American diner is now generally recognized as an icon of roadside architecture and entrepreneurial enterprise," said Patricia Mooradian, president & CEO of The Henry Ford. "With this acquisition we are able to build upon the wonderful foundation that he helped us create many years ago and provide unprecedented access to those seeking inspiration from a design, manufacturing or start-up perspective."

The materials in this collection will contribute to resources for current and future Lamy's dining experiences, along with potential opportunities for related exhibits and programs.

The collection is currently at The Henry Ford and being digitized for online accessibility.

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