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Detroit Area Museums

World-class museums may not be what come to mind when planning a trip to Detroit.You may be surprised to find that Detroit has a rich history and a cultural fabric unlike that of any other city, and much of it is preserved in a number of fantastic institutions.From priceless masterpieces and sculptures at the Detroit Institute of Arts to hands-on exhibits for the kids at the Detroit Science Center, Detroit has a museum for everyone.Browse the list below and explore the many informative, interactive, and engaging museums of metro Detroit.

 

Note that several of the museums are located within proximity of one another in the Cultural Center area of Detroit, while the others are dispersed around the city and suburbs.However, none of them are more than a short drive away, so take time to visit all of these fine institutions!

 

Arab American National Museum

13624 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn

Website

 

With the second largest population in the country, Dearborn is a fitting home for the first and only museum in the United States devoted to Arab American history and culture.This fantastic museum chronicles how Arab Americans have enriched the economic, political, and cultural landscape of American life.It is to date the only Smithsonian affiliate in Southeastern Michigan.

 

museum of african american historyCharles H. Wright Museum of African American History

315 East Warren, Detroit

Website

 

Dr. Charles Wright, a Detroit obstetrician and gynecologist, established the City's first International Afro-American Musuem in 1965.Three decades and three addresses later, a new Museum of African American History was opened in the heart of Detroit's Cultural Center.The 120,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility is considered one of the largest African American history museums in the world.The buidling house a core exhibition called And Still We Rise which takes visitors on a journey through 3.5 million years of courage, deterimination, ingenuity, and spriitual energy of African Americans as they pursued emancipation and full rights of citizenship.In addition to And Still We Rise, the museum showcases a number of other interesting limited-run exhibittions.

 

 

 

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Cranbrook Art Museum & Institute of Science

39221 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills

Website

 

Cranbrook is a internationally acclaimed center of education, art, and science in the northern suburb of Bloomfield Hills.The campus is comprised of a graduate Academy of Art, contemporary Art Museum, House & Gardens, natural history museum, Institute of Science, and Pre-K through 12 independent college preparatory schools.The Art Museum houses the work of world-renowned architects and sculptors and the Insitute of Science features eleven permanent galleries, a state-of-the-art planetarium and observatory, and an outdoor science garden with nature trails.The institution was founded in 1904 by Detroit philanthropists George and Ellen Booth and was named a National Historic Monument in 1989.

  moreDetroit Historical Museum

5401 Woodward Avenue, Detroit

Website

 

Your exploration into Detroit's and southeastern Michigan's rich history begins at the Detroit Historical Museum.The museum traces the region through over 300 years of history through a number of creative displays.Of particular interest is the 8,000 square foot Motor City exhibition focused on automotive heritage and featuring an actual working auto body drop from the General Motors Clark Avenue facility.

 

 

  diaDetroit Institute of Arts

5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit

Website

 

The DIA has been a hallmark of Detroit culture since its founding in 1885.The museum covers over 600,000 square feet and houses one of the largest and most diverse collections of multicultural art in the United States, including the priceless Vincent van Gogh Self Portrait and the masterpiece sculpture Nail Figure from Zaire.To top it off, visitors are treated to Mexican artist Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry fresco cycle, considered Rivera's most important work in the U.S.Rivera painted 27 fresco panels, many of them modeled after the Ford Rouge Plant, on the walls of the large garden court inside the DIA.

 

  Science Center -- wayneMichigan Science Center

5020 John R, Detroit

Website

 

In the early 1970s, Detroit banker and philanthropist Dexter Ferry believed Detroit's youth lacked the same learning opportunities available in other major cities and led efforts to establish a major science center in the city.Construction on the original science center began in 1976 and a major renovation and expansion was completed in 2001.Today's Michigan Science Center encompasses over 110,000 square feet and offers Michigan's only IMAX Dome Theatre, a state-of-the-art digital planetarium, and multiple exhibit laboratories and learning environments.Situated in the heart of Detroit's Cultural Center, the Michigan Science Center is the perfect family venue that both educates and entertains.

 

 

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Dossin Great Lakes Museum

100 Strand Drive, Belle Isle, Detroit

Website

 

Discover Detroit's maritime history at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum located on Belle Isle in the Detroit River.The museum tells the story of boats, sailors and cargoes on America's inland seas. Dossin visitors can take the helm of a Great Lakes freighter or admire the carved oak and stained glass of an early passenger steamer's grand salon or visit one of the three changing exhibit galleries.

 

 

Henry Ford Museum

20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn

Website

 

The Henry Ford Museum, along with the other attractions on the campus of The Henry Ford, provides an unparalleled chronicle of American life and of the people and ideas that changed lives through innovation.The museum houses an array of exhibits showcasing the results of American genius at work.In addition to one of the finest automotive history collections in the country,†† exhibits include the world's most accurate replica of the Wright brothers' Flyer, the only remaining prototype of the Dymaxion house, and John F. Kennedy's fateful Dallas limousine.Time permitting, visit Greenfield Village, the Benson Ford Library, IMAX theater, and the Automotive Hall of Fame (all are located adjacent to the museum).See the Experience Detroit Automotive Heritage Tours page for more information.

 

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Holocaust Memorial Center

28123 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills

Website

 

Ground was broken on the original Holocaust Memorial Center in 1981 on the campus of the Jewish Community Campus in the northwest suburbs of Detroit.The institution was the first of its kind in the United States and drew visitors from all over the world.With the opening of the new Holocaust Memorial Center in 2004, the institution now houses two core exhibitions -- the Museum of European Jewish Heritage and the International Institute of the Righteous.Your experience starts before you even enter the facility with exterior architecture designed to resemble the walls of a concentration camp.Do not miss this awe-inspiring experience.

 

  es_mi_motown_1_mMotown Historical Museum

2648 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit

Website

 

In 1959, upstart Detroit songwriter and record producer Berry Gordy Jr. purchased a humble two story home, moving his family into one half and setting up a studio in the other.He christened it "Hitsville U.S.A." and from this building grew Motown from a startup business to what became by the mid-70s the largest independent record company in the world.The Motown Historical Museum includes models of eight houses on West Grand Boulevard acquired by the company to house its growing operations until it moved its offices to a high-rise in downtown Detroit in 1968.Among the many displays, visitors are treated to a tour of the studio where Motown greats such as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Diana Ross and the Supremes, and the Jackson Five actually recorded their hits.

 

Yankee Air Museum

47884 D Street, Belleville, MI

Website

 

The Yankee Air Museum is housed at Willow Run Airport, built by Ford Motor Company in 1941 to serve as an airfield for its B-24 Bomber Plant.This was the first aircraft manufacturing plant to use Fordís mass production techniques, employing 42,000 and producing a B-24 every 59 minutes.Led by a group of enthusiasts known as the Yankee Air Force, efforts to build a museum that preserves southeastern Michiganís aviation history began in 1981.The Yankee Air Museum displays an impressive collection of aircraft including a B-24 Bomber, B-17 Flying Fortress, and B-25 Mitchell among others.Those not satisfied with just looking can actually book a flight in one of these aircraft!The less adventurous can explore the 47,000 square foot facility filled with permanent and rotating aviation and historical displays, restoration projects, a retail store and a movie theater.

Related Tours

African American Heritage

Arts & Culture Main Page

Automotive Heritage Tours

Belle Isle

Bloomfield Hills, Cranbrook, & the Village of Franklin

Cultural Center

Music Heritage

 

 

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