John is currently the Vice President for Venues of Museums and Attractions at The Henry Ford in Dearborn. In his current role John is responsible for the leadership and coordination of a strategic direction for Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, and the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, including the quality, improvement and delivery of guest experiences, staff excellence, alignment, and the financial performance of the venues.
John began his career at The Henry Ford in 1997 and has served in a variety of leadership positions, including General Manager of Village and Museum Operations, Manager of Public and School Programs, and Leader of Transportation & Trades Programs. He has led or served on a number of institutional projects, from the construction of the D,T&M Roundhouse to the design and implementation of the Driving America exhibition to relocation and reinstallation buildings, exhibits, and new experiences for twelve historic structures during the massive Village restoration project. Most recently he led the planning and design for the Manufacturing Innovation Experience at the Ford Rouge Factory Tour.
Prior to joining The Henry Ford, John held leadership positions at museums in Ohio and Texas and with the National Park Service in Nebraska and New Mexico. He holds the M.A. degree in American history from New Mexico State University and the B.S. degree in Recreation & Park Administration from the University of Wyoming. Neilson is a 2005 graduate of the J. Paul Getty Center’s Museum Leadership Institute at Los Angeles, and a 1993 graduate of the Western Archives Institute at the University of California at Berkeley. John and his wife Julie have two children and live in Livonia.
About The Henry Ford
The Henry Ford, founded as The Edison Institution in 1929 by automotive pioneer Henry Ford, is a 250-acre National Historic Landmark site in Dearborn, Michigan. It is the country’s largest indoor/outdoor American history complex, comprising five unique venues: the 9.5-acre Henry Ford Museum; Greenfield Village, an outdoor living history complex with over 80 historic structures moved here from locations throughout the country and representing 300 years of American history; the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, providing access to a real-life truck plant; the Giant Screen Experience; and the Benson Ford Research Center. The campus also includes Henry Ford Academy, a 500-student, high-performing, charter public high school.