Sure, Paris, New York, and Berlin may all have more museums than many other major cities, but don’t let that fool you. Here in the Midwest, particularly in Detroit, there are a number of top-rated museums that anyone can visit. The Motor City has often been called the “Paris of the Midwest,” and for more than one reason. Detroit has some of the country’s most well-known and cherished museums, as well as some hidden gems that even most locals may not know about. Here, we’ll share a few of these with you to get you started on your trip through Detroit’s many museums.

(The Detroit Institute of Arts is one of the country’s top art museums. Photo Credit: Michael Ferro)


The Detroit Institute Of Arts
5200 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 833-7900
www.dia.org

The crème de la crème of all Detroit museums is, of course, the Detroit Institute of Arts. The DIA has recently been in the news across the country over the past year and a half due to the city’s bankruptcy and ongoing threats from creditors to sell off the museum’s assets to pay back the city’s debts. But in the end, the Detroit Institute of Arts was saved and not a single piece was sold for creditors. One of the nation’s top museums retains all of its immaculate glory for generations to see. Whether it’s world-famous paintings, sculptures, or highly-praised exhibitions, the DIA has the best of the best, to be sure.

Detroit Historical Museum 
5401 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 833-7935
www.detroithistorical.org

Operated and maintained by the Detroit Historical Society, the Detroit Historical Museum is a local favorite for many residents and tourists alike and has been for nearly 100 years. That’s right: the DHM was founded nearly a century ago back in 1928. For nearly all of that time since, the museum has passed hands from the City of Detroit, to Historical Society officials, with the museum now once again being cared for by the DHS. It goes without saying that if you even have the slightest curiosity for anything concerning Detroit or the city throughout its long 300+ years of being around (Detroit was founded back in 1701), then there’s not better place to get your fill than the Detroit Historical Museum.

(Motown Museum in Detroit. Photo Credit: Michael Ferro)


Motown Historical Museum
2648 West Grand Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48208
(313) 875-2264
www.motownmuseum.org

There’s few native Detroiters who don’t know the story of Motown Records and Berry Gordy, but for newcomers to the city, and those just interested in learning the history behind one of pop music’s most popular sounds, there’s the Motown Historical Museum. Back in 1959, Gordy started Motown Records in a little two-story home on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit. It became known as Hitsville, U.S.A., and was the epicenter of the recording, housing, and gathering point for all of Motown’s biggest stars, including Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and many more. Now, the same home is a historical landmark in itself, and anyone can come and tour the studios and rest of the building where some of the 20th century’s biggest and most influential music was made. A true Detroit landmark!

Related: Detroit’s Best Guided Tours (Even For Locals)

Michigan Science Center
5020 John R St.
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 577-8400
www.mi-sci.org

After the terrible race riots and the white flight of many families into the suburbs, Detroit banker and philanthropist Dexter Ferry decided that he wanted to give a troubled city full of bright, positive youths something productive to enjoy. In 1976, the Michigan Science Center was first constructed right near the Detroit Institute of Arts in the Midtown area and in 2001, it was renovated and revealed as a shining testament to the Motor City’s dedication to science. This 110,000 square-foot facility has its own IMAX theater, exhibits, and plenty of wonderful things for adults and children of all ages, as well.

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Wayne State University
315 East Warren Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 494-5800
www.thewright.org

Back in 1965, Dr. Charles Wright was a well-respected Detroit obstetrician and gynecologist. That year, he decided to establish the city’s first International Afro-American Musuem which would grow in popularity and size to eventually become the largest and one of the most well-respected museums of African American History in the world. Located in the heart of Detroit’s Cultural Center, this 120,000 square-foot facility hosts a number of events and exclusive exhibitions that showcase not just Detroit’s, but the country’s longstanding ties with the African American community and the distinct history that lies there. “And Still We Rise” is one of these core exhibitions that examines a journey 3.5 million years in the making.

Related: Best Art Walks In Metro Detroit

Michael Ferro is freelance writer and a graduate of Michigan State University where he majored in Creative Writing and received the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award. Born and bred in Detroit, he currently resides in Ypsilanti Township. Additional writing can be found at Examiner.com.
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