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Tuesday, 28 October, 2008 12:49 PM

'Hero or Villain?' is Now Open at the Detroit Historical Museum

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Model T wheel is featured in the Henry Ford section of the exhibit "Hero or Villain" at the Detroit Historical Museum.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

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DETROIT -- A new exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum allows museum goers to decide if the 16 individuals featured are heroes or are they villains? It focuses on community leaders who have sparked conversation, controversy, drew praise or criticism. The individuals represent a cross-section from politics, sports, commerce and religion. Historical items on display include portraits, paintings, clothing and personal artifacts. The new exhibit is now open and will remain on display through 2009.

Individuals in the exhibit are Antoine Cadillac, Chief Pontiac, Augustus Woodward, Lewis Cass, Henry Ford, Ty Cobb, Fr. Charles Coughlin, Walter Reuther, Jimmy Hoffa, Martha Griffiths, Orville Hubbard, Nancy Ann Martin, Coleman A. Young, Ernest Goodman, Ossian Sweet and Irene McCabe.

"It leaves the final decision up to the visitor," said Bob Sadler, Director of Public and External Relations at the Detroit Historical Museum. "What we do for each of the 16 people presented is we give an idea of their actual biography, we put them in the context of their times when they lived and then we have pro and con statements from contemporaries of theirs."

Some of the historical items being featured include a Model T wheel, a wooden gavel used by Augustus Woodward, a statue of Antoine Cadillac, a Wheaties box from Martha Griffiths, a dress worn by Irene McCabe, an award for Ernie Goodman a copy of Life Magazine with Jimmy Hoffa on the cover.

"The kind of people featured in the exhibit range from Antoine Cadillac, the founder of the city all the way to Mayor Coleman Young," said Sadler. "But also people who were very polarizing figures in their times. This exhibit is meant to be a heavy, thought provoking kind of exhibit. You need to take some time and digest. We're really pleased to offer something with this level of depth."

Additional items on display are a groundbreaking shovel used by former Detroit Mayor Coleman A. Young during the riverfront ceremony in 1982, a broadcast mic used b Father Coughlin, a welcome hat for Walter Reuther, an autographed baseball by Ty Cobb, a map of Detroit by Ossian Sweet and a portrait of Lewis Cass.

"We settled on 16 people," Sadler said about the selection process. "Basically, that's a combination of our curatorial staff, as well as a history advisory committee of statewide historians and scholars that we work with on a fairly regular basis. Each one of these 16 people was given all the writing and things attached to it, they were compiled by 16 different local historians and scholars. We didn't have just one person who put each of the written pieces together."

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 our website at www.detroithistorical.org.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

"Hero or Villain?" sign at the entrance to the exhibit.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A view of one section of artifacts inside the display case.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Henry Ford section includes a portrait, a model T wheel, a lamp and a picture.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

This part of the exhibit is dedicated to Augustus Woodward. It features a quill and ink well, a wooden gavel a compass replica and an 1824 Citizens Memorial document.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A statue of Antoine Cadillac, the founder of Detroit.

 

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