"We've never just been collecting old things," said Anderson. "We've been collecting current things as well. With emerging technologies, it's tough. You want to collect things that seem like they're going to be important technologies down the road. But of course you never know."
The transit van is the exhibit's most timely artifact. And Anderson said there was discussion about if it was too soon to include something related to COVID-19.
"This was from March or April 2020, very early in the pandemic, when we didn't know what we were dealing with," said Anderson. "What this would do is go out to hospitals, fire stations, police stations. This would bring the tests to people."
The sleek dragster, meanwhile, is the exhibition's showstopper. The fastest competition car approved by the National Hot Rod Assocation for drag racing, it uses nitromethane fuel which requires less oxygen during combustion, meaning it creates more horsepower than gasoline.
The Henry Ford adds thousands of what's called accessions — objects or groupings of objects — every year to its collection. And what's one item they have their eye in the future? A Tesla Model S.
At the end of the exhibit, guests can even scan a QR code to learn about their own items and if the Henry Ford might be interested in them.
"Collecting Mobility" runs through Jan. 2. Some items, such as the dragster, will eventually be added to The Henry Ford's "Driven to Win" exhibit. It's free with membership or admission to Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation.
'COLLECTING MOBILITY: NEW OBJECTS, NEW STORIES'
Saturday through Jan. 2.
Free with museum admission or membership.
For details, go to thehenryford.org/current-events/.(c)2021 The Detroit News Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.