Hit the link to see pics of the Music Lab Bob set up. Unbelievable. Thanks to Bart, EKR.
Tuesday, 13 November, 2012 10:51 PM
Detroit Historical Museum prepares to re-open after $20 million renovation
PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com
The new Allesee Gallery of Culture at the Detroit Historical Museum.
by Gloria Rzucidlo
DETROIT -- I had the opportunity to visit the newly remodeled Detroit Historical Museum on Tuesday, November 13, 2012. The workers were hard at work putting finishing touches on the exhibits for their Grand Re-Opening on Friday, November 23.
I began the tour in the basement where the Streets of Old Detroit is located. I strolled the sidewalks of the 19th century as there are several new features. There is a Sanders Confections store with the famous Sanders-brand candy and confections displayed. There is a newly-widened wooden sidewalk designed to aid the handicapped. Also new is the children's "discovery room," which features hands-on activities for the little people in your life. What used to be the Cadillac Café is now a railroad station waiting room where people can congregate as a gathering place.
The Glancy Trains exhibit is a permanent exhibit that has been totally renovated, painted and updated. One of the trains has a camera mounted to the front of it so you can see it travel on its route on two new flat screen TV's. There are interactive buttons that control different functions, making it one of the most popular attraction for children and adults as well. The Glancy family has donated their extensive collection to the Museum in 1973.
Next stop was upstairs on the main floor to the Allesee Gallery of Culture. Here in the main lobby is a circle of memories from the years 1900s-2000s. There is the solid, brass-colored elevator door from the downtown Hudson's store. Also there is the old tiles from the Detroit-Windsor tunnel and the sign from the old Tiger Stadium. This exhibit highlights the culture of Detroiters from baseball, cars, and music.
Nearby is the Kid Rock Music Lab funded by the Kid Rock Foundation. There is Kid Rock memorabilia along with that of Detroit legends' musicians. There are interactive devices for visitors to try.
Next is the "Arsenal of Democracy" exhibit. This gallery is divided into three areas: the factory, the community and the home. Detroit had a major role in the war effort. We built bomber planes at our Willow Run plant and production kept the factories going around the clock. People came from all over the country to get employment here. President Franklin Roosevelt wanted to arm democratic nations against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
America's Motor City exhibit tells stories of how cars were built from the early hand-built horseless carriages to the newer models of today. The popular Cadillac "body drop" attraction remains the same. Visitors learn about the Detroit men and women entrepreneurs who made the city into the Motor City. It highlights the city's growth from individuals to the organizing movements such as the United Auto Workers. This exhibit also showcases visitors' stories of their experiences with their favorite classic cars.
The Gallery of Innovation is also located here. These people forever changed manufacturing, products, processes, and services. There is an innovation station where visitors can create their own soft drink flavor. Hopefully it will spark and empower a new generation of problem solvers.
The Doorway to Freedom is about Detroit and the Underground Railroad. People would help runaway enslaved people to find safe houses or hiding places. The city also provided access to Canada across the Detroit River. When the U.S. enacted the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which required that enslaved people be returned to their owners, the city helped in securing these people to Canada. The journey through this exhibit concludes evoking the feeling of freedom, hence "The Doorway to Freedom."
There are two temporary exhibits, which will open next week. One is the "Riding the Rails: How Rail Transportation Helped Build Detroit." At the turn of the century, Detroit had the largest regional mass transportation network in the U.S. Rail transportation were part of the fabric of Detroiters' lives. During the 20th century, rail transportation has decreased and Henry Ford's automobile became the vehicle of choice.
The other temporary exhibit is "The Power of Hope." Focus: HOPE is a civil and human rights organization founded in 1968 after the Detroit riots. Focus: HOPE has worked to overcome racism, poverty and injustice through a food program, an education campus and workforce development programs. Thousands of people have achieved financial independence. This exhibit addresses the past, present and future of Focus: HOPE.
Lastly, there is the new Museum Store which is located on your way out. There will be new merchandise along with the old favorites. The store features Made in Detroit t-shirts, McClure's pickles, Carhartt apparel and accessories, Vernor's and the original slinky, just to name a few. It is much larger and brighter than the previous store.
The Detroit Historical Museum's grand re-opening is Friday, November 23. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and will remain open non-stop for the entire weekend til Sunday, November 25 at 5 p.m. That's 55 and a half straight hours. There will be free admission to the Museum from November 23, 2012 to June 2014. On Friday and Saturday nights, there will be a Detroit classic-themed movie beginning at 10 p.m., going through the night and ending at 9 a.m. During the weekend, there will be raffles, refreshments and giveaways. Also Bill Bonds will be at Detroit Legends Plaza located in front of the Museum facing Woodward Avenue as he casts his hands and signature in cement on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. Also during this weekend, members will receive 20 percent off of all store merchandise. It will be a weekend that will make history.
The Detroit Historical Museum is located at 5401 Woodward Ave. in Detroit's midtown district. For more information, visit their website at www.detroithistorical.org.