This past weekend I escaped the heat and headed to the Detroit Historical Museum to enrich my mind on Detroit’s past and see some old relics. I haven’t been to the museum since I was a child; all of its wonder and glory had escaped my memory. Walking up to the museum from Woodward you’ll find yourself in the Legends Plaza which is surrounded by hand prints and signatures engraved in the cement by the important people who have helped shaped Detroit into what it is today. On the ground is grand map of Detroit’s main streets. Being reminded of where it is you are is a great way to start a journey.
I walked in, grabbed a map, and was thankful for the free admission – yes, free! I headed downstairs and into the Streets of Old Detroit. It was super surreal to be here, looking at old store fronts that must have been about a hundred years old. Hand-stenciled signs, walking in and out of 10 cent stores, candy stores, and pharmacies made me feel nostalgic for a time I never belonged to, but I also felt thankful in a sense. These “streets” I walked on were made out of cobble stone – so don’t show up in heels if you have any hope of exploring this reincarnation of Detroit’s once small town.
Climbing the stairs, I walked into the Allesee Gallery of Culture. It definitely lived up to its name. Inside this circular gallery they have a Little Caesar standing tall from everyone’s favorite $5 pizzeria alongside the old Tiger Stadium sign. This exhibit might have been my favorite part of the museum, touching on important events from the 1900’s until present time exclusive to Detroit.
Be prepared to feel major nostalgia by old stadium chairs, penny rides, Vernors bottles and more.
To the right you can find Kid Rock’s Music Lab which holds a tiny glimpse into Detroit’s huge music history. From Motown to garage to hip hop, it’s was an amazing pleasure to reconnect with how important and dominant Detroit has been to music history. To the left, you’ll find America’s Motor City, something we are all very familiar with! Cars are the name and the game in this exhibit. With recreated auto lines and real-time body drops, including the history of Detroit’s first automakers and the surrounding cities that have been built by it. It was intense to be reminded of how cars used to be so complicated, loud, and without windshields.
Though I spent an hour or so in the museum, there was so much more to explore. The Detroit History Museum is open weekdays from 9:30-4 but is closed on Mondays. Pro tip: The DIA is just across the street – so make an evening out of it.