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Local News / Entertainment

Thursday, 29 October, 2009 3:17 AM

Four New Exhibits are Now Open at the Detroit Historical Museum

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A look at the "Velocity: Detroit's Need for Speed" exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

DETROIT -- Velocity: Detroit's Need for Speed, Fabulous 5: Detroit's Snack Food Superstars, Bath City U.S.A. and Detroit Trivia are four of the newest exhibits to open at the Detroit Historical Museum. Visitors will learn about everything from hydroplane races to drag racing, Vernor's to Better Made Potato Chips, Mount Clemens as an area with healing powers in mineral baths and can test their knowledge about events that happened in Detroit long ago. A 1963 Ford Cougar II was recently added to the automotive showplace on the main floor.

Velocity: Detroit's Need for Speed showcases the love that metro Detroiters have with going fast. Visitors will see everything from horse racing to motor sports to powerboats. Museum guests should recognized artifacts from the APBA Gold Cup Races, Detroit Dragway and the Detroit Free Press marathon, among many other pieces in the exhibit.

"This exhibit covers 300 years of sports in Detroit--anything related to a finish line," said Bob Sadler, Director of Public Relations at the museum. "There's a lot of great artifacts that we have. A 1976 top fuel dragster that it's rare to have something like this in such incredible shape because to be very honest most of these top fuel dragsters had a relatively short life and basically ended up exploding. This one actually raced for part of one season and was kept in pristine shape. It was actually raced by a team headed by Poncho Rendon, who was a legend in the dragster field, and driven by a driver who's still around, Dick LaHaie from the Lansing area."

Anyone from the metro Detroit area knows that the Motor City has some great local snack food companies. Visitors will become very hungry and thirsty after seeing the new exhibit Fabulous 5: Detroit's Snack Food Superstars. Better Made Potato Chips, Germack Pistachio Company, Sanders Confectionary, Stroh's Products and Vernor's Ginger Ale are the five companies that are highlighted in this new exhibit.

"All five are represented here--an array of real cool artifacts," Sadler said. "It's very colorful and certainly it will bring back a lot of memories for people when they come in and see this display. We wanted a variety of product. We've got a lot of great Vernor's stuff. You can see how their look and their logo changed over the years. [We've] got a great variety of old Stroh's bottles and glasses and paraphernalia. Better Made--people are so young that they don't remember that before they pre-packaged the chips into the bags, you would actually go to the store and they have a container, they would actually pull the chips out and put them into a brown bag for you. Before they did all the fancy packaging with all the colorful logos and everything else."

Bath City U.S.A. will reveal how the city of Mount Clemens was known to produce mineral cures in its water. Visitors once flourished to Mount Clemens with aching backs and would leave healed and ready to go dancing. At its high point, 23 major hotels, bath houses and rooming houses lined the streets of the city. Mount Clemens was compared to other bath cities around the world.

"We just opened up a new exhibit in our community gallery, which will be on display through early January," the director of public relations said. "It's about the city of Mount Clemens, Michigan, up in Macomb County, which became very famous in the 19th century for its healing waters. The mineral baths and that whole industry that arose in that area during the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century. Tells an interesting story about Mount Clemens. Something that people might have a little bit of knowledge but don't really know all the details."

Detroit Trivia features trivia questions of increasing difficult about the city's history. Historic images and artifacts accompany the questions to make it perfect for all ages. Who was the first woman elected to the Detroit City Council? What other names did Tiger Stadium go by? Those are just a sample of the questions.

"Also upstairs among the new exhibits we've opened in the last month is Detroit Trivia," Sadler said. "[It's] kind of a whimsical look at 300 years of the city's history and gives you a chance to try your hand at different trivia questions."

Museum staff have reinstalled some artifacts from Soupy Sales, to commemorate the comedian's life. The pieces were recently included within the exhibit Detroit's Classic TV Personalities. The Soupy Sales memorabilia will be on display through Dec. 6.

The Detroit Historical Museum is located at 5401 Woodward Ave. (NW corner of Kirby) in Detroit’s Cultural Center. Regular hours are Wednesday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from Noon to 5 p.m. On Mondays and Tuesdays, the Museum is not open to the public but available for group tours by calling (313) 833-7979. Adult admission is $6. Seniors (60+), college students with valid college ID, and youth ages 5-18 pay $4. Admission for children ages four and under is free. Parking in the Museum’s lot is $4 at all times. For more information, call the Museum at (313) 833-1805 or check out their website at www.detroithistorical.org.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Slot cars and accessories from 1960-1980. Loan courtesy of Eric Johnson.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Souvenir toy cars from the Detroit Grand Prix, Indy Racing Series, Shirley Muldowney Racing Team, Pinewood Derby Cars and a Soapbox Derby Helmet.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

1976 "Rendon & LaHair" top fuel dragster. Loan courtesy of Tony Tiennery.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Driver's suit worn by Robbie Buhl in the Indy Racing Series (2002). Donated by Susan Hanawalt.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

1958 MHRA Drag Strip photograph

 

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Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.

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