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Best Cultural Museums In Detroit

January 5, 2012 4:39 PM

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The Arab American National Museum (credit: arabamericanmuseum.org)

The Arab American National Museum (credit: arabamericanmuseum.org)

Museums have become a way for patrons and casual observers to connect with history, art and culture without having to leave the state. Learn about some of the best cultural museums in Detroit. -Christopher Nadeau
charleshwrightmuseum Best Cultural Museums In Detroit

(credit: chwmuseum.org)

Charles H Wright Museum of African American History

315 East Warren Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201-1443
(313) 494-5800
www.chwmuseum.org

Currently the world’s largest institution dedicated to exploring African American history & culture, MAAH features “120,000 square feet and seven exhibition areas devoted to African Americans and their stories,” as stated on their website. Prominent exhibits include And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History and Culture, the museum’s 22,000 square foot, interactive core exhibit, The Ford Freedom Rotunda and its 100 feet in diameter by 55 feet high glass dome and  Ring of Genealogy, a 37 foot terrazzo tile creation by artist Hubert Massey surrounded by bronze nameplates of prominent African Americans in history among others. This is another museum one should plan on visiting for several hours.

arabamericannationalmuseum arabamericanmuseumorg 300x225 Best Cultural Museums In Detroit

(credit: arabamericanmuseum.org)

Arab American National Museum

13624 Michigan Ave.
Dearborn, MI 48126
(313) 624-0220
www.arabamericanmuseum.org

AANM is the only Michigan-based museum that also happens to be affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.  Don’t be deceived by its store-front location. Once inside, patrons are treated to a beautifully ornate structure with an impressive lending library.  “The Arab American National Museum is the first museum in the world devoted to Arab American history and culture,” it states on their website. Its uniqueness is that it focuses on Americans of Arabic descent rather than those residing in the Middle East. Exhibits are set up in chronological order beginning on the first floor with “Arab Civilization: Our Heritage” and “Coming to America,” and  “Living In America” on the second and finally, “Making an Impact” on the third. Most importantly, AANM dispels stereotypes.

holocaust 300x225 Best Cultural Museums In Detroit

(credit: holocaustcenter.org)

Holocaust Memorial Museum

28123 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills, MI 48334-3738
(248) 553-2400
www.holocaustcenter.org

“The visitor will experience a total exposure to an entire era in human history – revealing a flourishing culture and its brutal suppression, a chronicle of admirable and heroic rescuers and abject executioners,” the museum states on its website. It is the nation’s first freestanding museum dedicated specifically to the Holocaust. It’s best to take the guided tour with a docent for the full impact. A survivor waits at the end of the tour to discuss their personal experiences. Not what anyone would classify as a “good time” but certainly informative.

Christopher Nadeau is a published author of fiction and news articles who has written extensively on Metro Detroit Area museums for the Examiner. He knows there are museums he omitted from these lists but felt it important to include those he’d actually visited or with whom he’d corresponded. Check out Christopher’s blog and book.

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