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Detroit Historical Museum Reopens With Free Admission Weekend, New Exhibits

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This classic slinky dog toy is one of many featured in the Detroit Historical Museum’s new Detroit Toy Stories exhibit. (Photo courtesy of the Detroit Historical Society)

This classic slinky dog toy is one of many featured in the Detroit Historical Museum’s new Detroit Toy Stories exhibit. (Photo courtesy of the Detroit Historical Society)

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DETROIT (WWJ) - The Detroit Historical Museum emerges from its annual three-week summer recess Friday to kick off a three-day free admission weekend with four new exhibitions.

Among the new exhibitions, a main attraction will be Detroit Toy Stories. Drawing on more than 7,000 items in the Society’s collection, this exhibit features a variety of toys from multiple generations of metro Detroit children, including a doll house, games, wardrobes, pedal cars, hula hoops, toy soldiers, toy trucks and much more.

Detroit Toy Stories will also feature video of historic wind-up toys and classic toy commercials, “play stations” throughout the gallery that will allow guests to play games that have stood the test of time such as Tinker Toy, Operation, Etch A Sketch and checkers, as well as personal stories and photos from metro Detroiters remembering the toys that made their childhood special.

The latest installment of the popular Fabulous 5 exhibit series will showcase “Detroit’s Destinations,” including Belle Isle, Campus Martius Park, Eastern Market, Franklin Cider Mill, and The Heidelberg Project — five historic places that have attracted metro Detroiters for years.

A 1914 Anderson Detroit Electric Car will be featured in the Automotive Showplace. In 1907, the Anderson Carriage Company began building an electric automobile powered by a rechargeable lead acid battery. The vehicles averaged about 80 miles per charge, with a top speed of 20 miles per hour. By 1911, the product had become so successful that the company’s name was changed to the Anderson Electric Car Company, and later to the Detroit Electric Car Company. These cars were more reliable than gasoline cars and did not require cranking to start. They were also more expensive, selling for $2,600 when a new Ford Model T was just $600.

Another new display will feature the works of William Bushnell Stout, an inventor whose technical imagination was years ahead of his time. This display will include numerous illustrations, design drawings and models Stout donated to the Society’s collection. His revolutionary designs – including the Sky Car, an aircraft that could shed its wings and operate as a car – pushed the bounds of contemporary automotive, aeronautic and train travel. It was Stout’s creativity that produced the famous Ford tri-motor airplane. He was an innovator until his death in 1956.

Past this weekend, admission to the museum will be free for all visitors on the third Sunday of each month this fall (Oct. 16, Nov. 20, Dec. 18) and during a week-long holiday celebration, Dec. 26 through Dec. 31.

The Detroit Historical Museum, located at 5401 Woodward, is open to the public 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. Normal adult admission, which resumes Wednesday, September 28, is $6. Seniors (60+), students with valid ID and youth ages 5-17 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, visit detroithistorical.org.

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