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Detroit Historical Museum: A Visitor's Guide
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
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!
9:30 am- 4:00 pm
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 MuseumClick thumbnail to view full-size
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 MuseumClick thumbnail to view full-size
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 MuseumClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.
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!