Detroit Historical Museum: A Visitor's Guide

The old fashioned streets of Detroit.
The old fashioned streets of Detroit. | Source

Things to Do in Detroit, MI

There are so many incredible things to see and do in Detroit, Michigan, yet many seem to be hidden gems. You could spend at least a week exploring the city and still not see everything. Some of Detroit's highlights are The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, The Detroit Institute of Arts, The Detroit Children's Museum, and of course, the Detroit Historical Museum.

Five out of Five Stars for the Detroit Historical Museum

5 stars for Detroit Historical Museum

Cost of Admission and Parking

One of the best parts about this museum is the price of admission, it is FREE! Parking is available in the lot next to the museum on Kirby St. The cost is $5 which is payable at the museum entrance. There is also metered parking available along the streets. It is well worth the cost of the parking to explore this incredible museum!

Museum Hours

Day
Hours
Monday
Closed
Tuesday-Friday
9:30 am- 4:00 pm
Saturday-Sunday
10:00 am- 5:00 pm

Exploring the Detroit Historical Museum

The Detroit Historical Museum had its grand re-opening on Friday, November 23,2012. With the re-opening, there are many more exhibits that will attract people of all ages and are interactive as well.

The museum is three levels. Each level hosts a different area of historical significance for the city and its surrounding communities. Many of the displays are interactive and they are all well worth the time you take to explore the museum. Plan to stay for about two hours in order to explore the museum thoroughly.




Pictures of the Lower Level at the Detroit Historical Museum

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Cobblestone street with the store fronts.Sanders is a Michigan based company that sells wonderful sweet treats still today!The inside of the Sanders shop.Alex checks out an old cast iron drinking fountain that you would find during this time period.The model train display was great fun to watch.
Cobblestone street with the store fronts.
Cobblestone street with the store fronts. | Source
Sanders is a Michigan based company that sells wonderful sweet treats still today!
Sanders is a Michigan based company that sells wonderful sweet treats still today! | Source
The inside of the Sanders shop.
The inside of the Sanders shop. | Source
Alex checks out an old cast iron drinking fountain that you would find during this time period.
Alex checks out an old cast iron drinking fountain that you would find during this time period. | Source
The model train display was great fun to watch.
The model train display was great fun to watch. | Source

The Old Fashioned Streets of Detroit

The lower level of the museum takes you on a trip back in time. The ground is made up of a combination of cobblestones and cross section cuts of logs to display what the roads once looked like. There are store fronts of the 19th and early 20th century where visitors can go in and explore the items that would be sold during this time. There are old bicycles, dolls, toys, a sweet shop, and more. There is also a wonderful model train exhibit as well as a discovery room for kids to explore on this level.

Pictures of the First Level at the Detroit Historical Museum

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Alex and Grace pretend to take a spin in this old Ford.One of Ty Cobbs old bats.Faygo is a Detroit based soda pop company.  Here is one of the original bottles.Vernors is a Detroit based ginger ale soda pop company.  Here are some of the first bottles ever made.Included in the display is a signed guitar that was once Bob Seger's.
Alex and Grace pretend to take a spin in this old Ford.
Alex and Grace pretend to take a spin in this old Ford. | Source
One of Ty Cobbs old bats.
One of Ty Cobbs old bats. | Source
Faygo is a Detroit based soda pop company.  Here is one of the original bottles.
Faygo is a Detroit based soda pop company. Here is one of the original bottles. | Source
Vernors is a Detroit based ginger ale soda pop company.  Here are some of the first bottles ever made.
Vernors is a Detroit based ginger ale soda pop company. Here are some of the first bottles ever made. | Source
Included in the display is a signed guitar that was once Bob Seger's.
Included in the display is a signed guitar that was once Bob Seger's. | Source

Allesee Gallery of Culture and America's Motor City

The entrance level of the museum is a mix of both the old and new. This area displays the uniqueness that is Detroit. From sports memorabilia to the music industry to the automotive industry, all the is Detroit is found here.

There are wonderful displays of old sports equipment and photographs along with the incredible architecture that is found throughout the city. There are videos that can be played that show important events such as the building of the tunnel that connects Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

There is a section that brings Motown alive and blends the modern artists such as Kid Rock and Eminem along with the great oldies such as Aretha Franklin. One interactive display allows you to mix your own music. My kids had great fun with this one!

The Motor City display was not huge, but it did give a nice overview. The two most exciting parts were the display of an old assembly line where a car body drops onto a car frame and the old Ford that you could get into and pretend to drive. It was a nice introduction to the history of the automotive industry.

Pictures of the Upper Level Displays at the Detroit Historical Museum

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The trolley car display showed another means of transportation throughout the city in earlier years.The Underground Railroad display was a wealth of information.Alex is building a car with different types of parts to make it the most efficient.
The trolley car display showed another means of transportation throughout the city in earlier years.
The trolley car display showed another means of transportation throughout the city in earlier years. | Source
The Underground Railroad display was a wealth of information.
The Underground Railroad display was a wealth of information. | Source
Alex is building a car with different types of parts to make it the most efficient.
Alex is building a car with different types of parts to make it the most efficient. | Source

Detroit's Aresenal of Democracy, The Underground Railroad, and Gallery of Innovation

The upper level combines war time with slavery and the future of automotive production. The Arsenal of Democracy gives an in depth view of how Detroit played an important role in the manufacturing of war planes, tanks, helmets, and other products for the army in World War II.

I was very surprised by the amazing Underground Railroad display that was part of this level. It is set up to take you through the steps that African American slaves went through to escape from the Southern plantations. Detroit was on of the important stops on the Underground Railroad because of its proximity to Canada. Many slaves crossed into Canada through Detroit.

Additional Information

There are elevators to allow for handicap accessibility. There is also a place where you can eat as well as a museum store if you wish to purchase items for a souvenir.

I highly recommend that if you live in or are visiting the Detroit area, that you take the time to visit this gem. You can beat the price and it is a perfect way to spend a cold Detroit winter day!

Detroit Historical Museum Location

A markerDetroit Historical Museum 5401 Woodward, Detroit, MI -
Detroit Historical Museum, Wayne State University Executive & Professional Development, Merrill-
[get directions]

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Comments 9 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

It's a great old city, and this was a great tour. Nice job!


ptosis profile image

ptosis 4 years ago from Arizona

Hey, are they still going to have a zombie theme park there?


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

It is billy and so underappreciated! I'm glad you enjoyed and thanks for the support!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

I'm not sure ptosis. I haven't heard anything about it but I will admit that I'm not very "up" on the zombie happenings!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

This would be an interesting stop. Thanks for a look at the "new" historical museum. Giving children a chance to glimpse history and see how things go together is giving them a wonderful gift!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

I didn't realize Detroit had so many things to do. It seems like these days all you hear about is how the city is deteriorating due to the shakiness of the economy.

Hubs like this make it seem desirable to visit as a tourist.

Enjoyed the video, would love to see the music exhibit, particularly about the Motown time period. Would also enjoy walking the old cobblestone street.

Am voting this hub up across the board except for funny.

Hub Hugs,

Gail


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I have visited the Motor City a few times and always enjoyed the Ford Museum tour. I think you have made the city sound like a really good adventure. Great share.


jmartin1344 profile image

jmartin1344 4 years ago from Royal Oak, Michigan

I live in Royal Oak and I was visited my cousin who is only 10 - I took him to the Museum and he loved it. He loved the Old Fashioned Detroit streets... there is a very similar thing in York Museum in England where I used to live - but it was Victorian Streets.

Nice hub! Great to see hubs about Detroit on here!


Vellur profile image

Vellur 3 years ago from Dubai

After reading your hub, I want to visit this museum. The old fashioned streets of Detroit, the underground rail road gallery all are interesting. Voted up, great hub.

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