Fiercely defying traditional boundaries, the most unusual museums in the city are among the best — and are often highly regarded and revered throughout the world. With the unbridled passion for art in Detroit, it’s no wonder the best museums are eclectic in style. From a carnival of sights and sounds to the artifacts from a well-respected profession, museums in the Metro area provide a rich cultural experience and are often experimental in nature or unusual in subject matter. Explore the city by trekking to one of the amazing destinations that Detroit has to offer.
12087 Klinger St.
Hamtramck, MI 48211
Hamtramck Disneyland is an artistic display of carnival and culture, converging upon a backyard in Klinger Street. Dmytro Szylak began constructing his folk art extravaganza on the top of a garage in 1992 with a picture of Elvis, some propellers and those glorious plastic ponies, each painted in bright blasts of color. He added some references to air travel, his Ukranian roots and everyday kitsch, and by the time 1999 rolled around, the towering masterpiece was complete. Visit the back alley to see this amazing outdoor exhibition — sometimes at night the twinkling music of Ukraine fills the air as the mechanical circuits and twinkling lights are turned on, creating the Detroit version of the Main Street Electrical Parade.
Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum
31005 Orchard Lake Road
Farmington Hills, MI 48334
Step into an enchanted wonderland of fortune tellers, mannequins and antique arcade games. The carnival-esque atmosphere is unique and packed with one discovery after the other. Every inch of space is covered with an unusual display, a rare poster or something unexpected hanging from the ceiling. There are machines that move, rides that entertain and prizes galore. This museum also features a snack enclave that has concession-stand treats like cotton candy, popcorn and hot dogs.
3600 Heidelberg St.
Detroit, MI 48207
The Heidelberg Project is an artistic explosion of color, protest, thoughts and expression by Detroit artist Tyree Guyton. The landscape is bombarded with found objects that are normally tossed aside and abandoned, attached onto homes in the neighborhood that were themselves forgotten and neglected. This outdoor museum has evolved throughout the past 27 years and has been destroyed and expanded with equal fervor, rising from the ashes to attain critical acclaim. Visit the two-block area where the Heidelberg Project resides to catch a glimpse of what a visionary can accomplish.
Related: Best Children’s Museums In Detroit
Lawndale Market: The People’s Polaroids
1136 Lawndale St.
Detroit, MI 48209
The Lawndale Market showcases a collection of polaroids so extensive that even Edwin Land, the founder of the Polaroid company, wouldn’t believe his eyes. This party store turned folk art exhibit, The People’s Polaroids, is curated and owned by Amad Samaan, who began displaying polaroids of his customers in 1995. They still come back now as adults to check out the pictures hanging up of them from years ago. Visitors arrive from around the globe to see more than 10,000 people looking at them. It is not only a unique experience, but also an interesting display of the many faces that represent the Detroit community.
The Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry
Kellogg Institute Building
University of Michigan School of Dentistry
1011 North University- G565
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Visit a museum that contains an amazing array of artifacts that are unique to the dental profession. The Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry displays the tools of the trade dentists have used throughout the past 300 years. This exhibition is one of only a few museums in the entire world dedicated to dentistry. The collection houses over 15,000 objects and includes everything from tooth powder and toothbrushes to antique x-ray machines and dentures. The museum also features evolving exhibitions that cover a variety of themes all relating to dentistry.
After receiving a BA in Photography from Savannah College of Art & Design, Nicole Wrona began working with a diverse range of musicians. In addition, she is a freelance writer for numerous publications. Her work can be found at www.metalleaves.com and Examiner.com.