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Saturday, 6 October, 2007 0:39 AM

Six New Exhibits Open at the Detroit Historical Museum

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

New items to the museum include memorabilia from the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.

by Jason Rzucidlo
AmericaJR@AmericaJR.com

 

 

The Detroit Historical Museum closed for a month during the summer and has re-opened with six new exhibits that feature never-before-seen artifacts. Some of the highlights include the 1920s: Detroit's Building Boom, Rallying The Homefront!, Fabulous 5, Detroit Artists Showcase, New to the Collection and Automotive Showplace.

During the 1920s, over 250,000 new buildings were constructed in the city of Detroit. The Motor City was just behind Chicago and New York in its skyscrapers. The city was doubling in population and the economy was growing during that decade.

When you visit the exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum, be sure to watch the newsreel footage. You'll be able to see buildings under construction in downtown Detroit. Notice how construction workers didn't wear safety cables at the time.

"I enjoyed putting it together," said Janet Anderson, curator of this exhibit.

Albert Kahn was a major player during the 1920s building boom in Detroit. He was an architect that designed a lot of buildings in Detroit including The Bonstelle Theatre, The Detroit News Building, The Fisher Building, The Belle Isle Aquarium and the former General Motors Building.

"He had so many opportunities to do tremendous things," Anderson said. "Detroit has a much higher stature then we think of today. The fourth largest city by the end of the 20s."

According to the curator, the 10 tallest buildings that were built in that decade were: The Penobscot, The Guardian, Cadillac Tower, Fisher Building, David Stott Building, Book-Cadillac Hotel, Book Tower, Eaton Tower, The Buhl Building and the First National Building.

Detroit's Washington Boulevard was planned to be like New York's Fifth Avenue. "We know it didn't happen," Anderson said. "Fifth Avenue is high rise after high rise. Our Washington Blvd. didn't get that much. The plan was interrupted by the Great Depression. Detroit it is the hardest hit city in 1930."

At the exhibit, you'll see a chair from the Fisher Theatre, a model of Corrado Parducci working on a building, tiles from inside the Detroit-Windsor tunnel, a Book-Cadillac Hotel china set, the floor plan for the Fisher Building, a photo of the Detroit Public Library at night from the DIA and much more.

What's the most significant piece of history at the exhibit? "The whole design process on Parducci," said the curator. "You see all the different types of medallions and sculpture work. All the exotic themes and the color."

How was attendance during its opening weekend? "A pretty strong first weekend," said Bob Sadler, director of public relations. "More than 1,800 people saw the exhibit."

Other new additions to the Detroit Historical Museum

The Fabulous 5 section of the museum currently features Detroit's Sports Legends. You'll see memorabilia from Joe Dumars, Gordie Howe, Al Kaline, Joe Louis and Steve Yzerman. There's a jersey from the Tigers, Red Wings, a city of champions plaque and much more. It will be on display from now until early February.

In the Automotive Showplace section, you'll see a 1905 Cadillac Stella. This car was driven by Cadillac Motor Car Company's founder Henry Leland. It is known as the first "concept car" and was the first closed-body car made in the U.S. It was never put into production, according to Sadler.

The New to the Collection part of the museum is displaying items recently obtained by the Detroit Historical Society. You'll see a MLB World Series banner, mayor Kilpatrick's football jersey and Detroit College of Law robes, Marshall Fredericks' bronze mouse (from Eastland Center), and an old Detroit Times wagon (used to deliver newspapers).

At the Rallying the Homefront section, you'll see a collection of posters from World War II. The Historical Museum has so many posters that it will rotate them three different times over the next six months. "We have a pretty extensive collection of World War II era artifacts," Sadler said.

The Detroit Artist Showcase features a mini gallery of paintings by Detroit artist Amy Lorimer.

The six new exhibits at the Detroit Historical Museum are definitely worth your time. Plan on spending most of your time at the 1920's Detroit Building Boom exhibit.

The Detroit Historical Museum is open Wednesday thru Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is open on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. It is open on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and students (aged 5-17), children under age 4 are FREE and members are FREE. Parking is $3 per car. The museum is located at 5401 Woodward Avenue in Detroit. For directions, click here.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Gordie Howe's jersey and the "City of Champions" plaque are pictured here.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

1905 Cadillac Osceola is known as the "first concept car" in America that was never put into production. It was driven by Cadillac Motor Car Company's founder Henry Leland.

 

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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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