Published: October 30, 2001
Henry Ford Museum Purchases Rosa Parks Bus for $492,000 at MastroNet
DEARBORN, MICH. – Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village confirmed October 26 their purchase of the bus on which Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat more than 45 years ago, sparking the beginning of the Civil Rights movement.
The 1948 General Motors diesel-fueled bus is “the most important artifact in the history of the Civil Rights movement” said Steve Hamp, president of Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village. “We are looking forward to publicly displaying this monumental piece of American history.”
The bus arrived on the auction block on Thursday, October 25 and was won by Henry Ford Museum with the high bid of $492,000. The auction was conducted by MastroNet, an auctioneer house located in Oak Brook, Ill.
Along with the purchase of the bus, Henry Ford Museum acquired the recently discovered and only known written documentation of the bus’s identification number, proving its authenticity as the vehicle that Rosa Parks rode into American history.
“People have searched for written evidence documenting the Rosa Parks bus for years,” said Bill Pretzer, curator, Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village. Evidence on the authenticity of the bus was culled from a scrapbook and through oral histories. “The newly discovered scrapbook compiled at the time by the company manager in which he notes the bus identification number is the first known identification of a specific bus,” remarked Pretzer. “These new documents, along with the oral histories long associated with this particular vehicle, convince us that this is the bus.”
The museum had both the bus and the documents examined by experts who determined they are authentic.
Hamp remarked that the institution will be going to the public at-large, as well as area corporations to ask for support in restoring the bus and putting it on display inside Henry Ford Museum, which coupled with Greenfield Village is the largest indoor-outdoor museum in the country.
“Henry Ford Museum is dedicated to social innovation. What Ms Parks set into motion in 1955, is the same spirit we celebrate everyday. This object is not only important to our collection, but is important as well to the greater Detroit community,” said Hamp.
At this time the bus is at an undisclosed site in Montgomery, Ala. The museum plans to extensively restore the vehicle and ultimately put it on permanent display at a later time.
Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village welcomes more than 1.5 million visitors annually. The museum is at 20900 Oakwood Boulevard and Village Road.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm