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Monday, 27 September, 2010 2:27 AM

Metro Detroit Weddings, Historic Retailers on display at the Detroit Historical Museum

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

An overview of "Saying I Do: Metro Detroit Weddings" exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

DETROIT -- Five new exhibits have recently opened at the Detroit Historical Museum. "Saying I Do: Metro Detroit Weddings," "Fabulous 5: Detroit's Historic Retailers," "WWJ Newsradio 950: 90 Years of Innovation," "Detroit Artists Showcase - Biederman" and the "Scripps-Booth 'Da Vinci Pup' Cyclecar" are now on display for everyone to enjoy. The Masco Corporation Foundation is starting a new program to allow everyone to have free admission to the museum on the third Sunday of every month.

The new exhibit "Saying I Do: Metro Detroit Weddings" is located in the Booth Wilkinson Gallery. It shows how different ethnicities and cultures in metro Detroit have celebrated the uniting of families, neighbors and communities. The exhibit encompasses three centuries of personal stories and community rituals.

"From a 1650 Native American ceremony, which was obviously half a century prior to the French arrival in Detroit all the way up to a present-day Mexican American wedding," said Bob Sadler, director of public and external affairs at the museum. "Basically, there's 22 different cultures that are covered in this exhibit. That, of course, means, 22 incredible wedding dresses on display. What this exhibit really tries to capture in covering wedding traditions and rituals and ceremonies is the diversity in metro Detroit's culture."

Every six months, the Fabulous 5 exhibit is changed with a new collection of five groupings of artifacts. This time, the focus is on historic retailers in Detroit. Crowley Milner & Co., Ernst Kern Co., Fyfe’s Shoe Store, J.L. Hudson Co., and S.S. Kresge Co. are the five retailers highlighted in this exhibit, located in the Kresge Gallery.

"There's a lot of great pieces that are reflective of each of the stores that are featured," Sadler added. "Our Hudson's list of artifacts is quite large. It wouldn't be a homage to downtown Hudson's without including one of those famous brass drinking fountains, which we have in the exhibit. Our Fabulous 5 is a very popular exhibit we change over twice a year."

On Aug. 20, 1920, The Detroit News launched a radio station known as 8MK. It later became WWJ in 1922 and then it adopted an all-news format. The new exhibit tells the story of the city's history and shows how the station has been there to cover all of its major stories. There are unique artifacts, photographs as well as audio and video clips.

"Detroit is very prominent in the history of broadcasting," the director of public and external affairs at the museum explained. "WWJ actually was the first commercial radio station to broadcast. They were producing dramas on air, they were producing play-by-play of sporting events, religious services, obviously news programming, music programming, a great variety of things. This exhibit covers the full 90 year history of the station from Ty Tyson broadcasting Tiger games all the way up to the recently-retired legend Sonny Eliot."

The Detroit Artists Showcase area now features a gallery of illustrations from renowned artist Jerome Biederman. He drew automobiles, aircrafts, trains and much more. Biederman used tempera paint and an illustration board. His works appeared in magazines such as Automobile Quarterly and Horseless Carriage Gazette.

"That's a collection of automotive and transportation drawings from an artist by the name of Biederman," Sadler said. "He wasn't a native Detroiter specifically, but he had a extensive publishing history and did transportation subjects, especially cars. After he passed away, some of the people handling his estate started donating his works to relevant museums around the country. A lot of the automotive portraits were given to the Detroit Historical Museum. This is a just a sampling of those that we received."

The Automotive Showplace features a new classic automobile each year. The "DaVinci Pup" is currently being shown in this area of the museum. It was one of four Scripps-Booth vehicles in the museum's collection. The "DaVinci Pup" was built on a wood frame with a boat-tailed aluminum body that weighs 1,250 pounds and is powered by an all-aluminum 16-valve, 4-cyclinder engine.

"This is a really cool, little car," the director of public and external affairs at the museum added. "It was actually designed in 1927 and built in 1930 by a gentleman by the name of James Booth. He was part of the Scripps-Booth family that also owned The Detroit News. For a short time between 1914 and 1917, actually manufactured cars with the Scripps-Booth nameplate. They were later in 1917 absorbed into General Motors. This particular car was really designed as a one-of-a-kind. It was made by James Booth specifically for his own personal use."

The metro Detroit weddings exhibit will be on display for over a year while the Historic Retailers exhibit will be shown through February. The DaVinci Pup will be on display for a full year while the WWJ exhibit will run through Jan. 2, 2011.

The Masco Corporation Foundation has partnered with the Detroit Historical Museum to make it possible for everyone to visit for free on the third Sunday of every month. These are the corresponding dates: Oct. 17, Nov. 21, Dec. 19, Jan. 16, Feb. 20, March 20, April 17, May 15, June 19, July 17 and Aug. 21, 2011.

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

An overview of the "Fabulous 5: Detroit's Historic Retailers" exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Artifacts from Kresge's, which later became Kmart.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Artifacts from The Ernst Kern Co., a former department store established in Detroit in 1883. In 1900, the company purchased a five story building at Woodward and Gratiot to accommodate increasing business. The store closed its doors for the final time on December 23, 1959.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A brass fountain is among the artifacts from The J.L. Hudson Co. The flagship store located on Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit was demolished on October 24, 1998. Other stores were renamed Marshall Fields and later Macy's.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Artifacts from Crowley, Milner & Co. Crowley Milner and Company, generally referred to as Crowley's, was a department store chain that was founded in Detroit, Michigan in the early 1900s. Crowley's went out of business in 1999. Three mall-based stores were bought by discount chain Value City. These three stores were converted to "Crowley's Value City" in 1999, and remained Value City stores until that chain closed in 2008.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Shoes from Detroit's own Fyfe Shoes, formerly located at 10 W. Adams Avenue in downtown Detroit.

 

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