-- I had the opportunity to visit the newly remodeled
Detroit Historical Museum on Tuesday, November 13, 2012. The workers
were hard at work putting finishing touches on the exhibits for
their Grand Re-Opening on Friday, November 23.
the tour in the basement where the Streets of Old Detroit is located.
I strolled the sidewalks of the 19th century as there are several
new features. There is a Sanders Confections store with the famous
Sanders-brand candy and confections displayed. There is a newly-widened
wooden sidewalk designed to aid the handicapped. Also new is the
children's "discovery room," which features hands-on
activities for the little people in your life. What used to be
the Cadillac Café is now a railroad station waiting room
where people can congregate as a gathering place.
Trains exhibit is a permanent exhibit that has been totally renovated,
painted and updated. One of the trains has a camera mounted to
the front of it so you can see it travel on its route on two new
flat screen TV's. There are interactive buttons that control different
functions, making it one of the most popular attraction for children
and adults as well. The Glancy family has donated their extensive
collection to the Museum in 1973.
was upstairs on the main floor to the Allesee Gallery of Culture.
Here in the main lobby is a circle of memories from the years
1900s-2000s. There is the solid, brass-colored elevator door from
the downtown Hudson's store. Also there is the old tiles from
the Detroit-Windsor tunnel and the sign from the old Tiger Stadium.
This exhibit highlights the culture of Detroiters from baseball,
cars, and music.
is the Kid Rock Music Lab funded by the Kid Rock Foundation. There
is Kid Rock memorabilia along with that of Detroit legends' musicians.
There are interactive devices for visitors to try.
the "Arsenal of Democracy" exhibit. This gallery is
divided into three areas: the factory, the community and the home.
Detroit had a major role in the war effort. We built bomber planes
at our Willow Run plant and production kept the factories going
around the clock. People came from all over the country to get
employment here. President Franklin Roosevelt wanted to arm democratic
nations against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
Motor City exhibit tells stories of how cars were built from the
early hand-built horseless carriages to the newer models of today.
The popular Cadillac "body drop" attraction remains
the same. Visitors learn about the Detroit men and women entrepreneurs
who made the city into the Motor City. It highlights the city's
growth from individuals to the organizing movements such as the
United Auto Workers. This exhibit also showcases visitors' stories
of their experiences with their favorite classic cars.
of Innovation is also located here. These people forever changed
manufacturing, products, processes, and services. There is an
innovation station where visitors can create their own soft drink
flavor. Hopefully it will spark and empower a new generation of
to Freedom is about Detroit and the Underground Railroad. People
would help runaway enslaved people to find safe houses or hiding
places. The city also provided access to Canada across the Detroit
River. When the U.S. enacted the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which
required that enslaved people be returned to their owners, the
city helped in securing these people to Canada. The journey through
this exhibit concludes evoking the feeling of freedom, hence "The
Doorway to Freedom."
are two temporary exhibits, which will open next week. One is
the "Riding the Rails: How Rail Transportation Helped Build
Detroit." At the turn of the century, Detroit had the largest
regional mass transportation network in the U.S. Rail transportation
were part of the fabric of Detroiters' lives. During the 20th
century, rail transportation has decreased and Henry Ford's automobile
became the vehicle of choice.
temporary exhibit is "The Power of Hope." Focus: HOPE
is a civil and human rights organization founded in 1968 after
the Detroit riots. Focus: HOPE has worked to overcome racism,
poverty and injustice through a food program, an education campus
and workforce development programs. Thousands of people have achieved
financial independence. This exhibit addresses the past, present
and future of Focus: HOPE.
there is the new Museum Store which is located on your way out.
There will be new merchandise along with the old favorites. The
store features Made in Detroit t-shirts, McClure's pickles, Carhartt
apparel and accessories, Vernor's and the original slinky, just
to name a few. It is much larger and brighter than the previous
Historical Museum's grand re-opening is Friday, November 23. Doors
open at 9:30 a.m. and will remain open non-stop for the entire
weekend til Sunday, November 25 at 5 p.m. That's 55 and a half
straight hours. There will be free admission to the Museum from
November 23, 2012 to June 2014. On Friday and Saturday nights,
there will be a Detroit classic-themed movie beginning at 10 p.m.,
going through the night and ending at 9 a.m. During the weekend,
there will be raffles, refreshments and giveaways. Also Bill Bonds
will be at Detroit Legends Plaza located in front of the Museum
facing Woodward Avenue as he casts his hands and signature in
cement on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. Also during this weekend, members
will receive 20 percent off of all store merchandise. It will
be a weekend that will make history.
Detroit Historical Museum is located at 5401 Woodward Ave. in
Detroit's midtown district. For more information, visit their
website at www.detroithistorical.org.
Toy Stories, Detroit's Destinations now open at the Historical