detroit 1Photos: Detroit Historical Society

The Detroit Historical Museum has opened its doors to visitors following a major renovation. Don’t worry though, the cobblestone streets and toy trains that have come to define the museum are still intact.

The most recent renovation saw the installation of new exhibitions, as well as the expansion of older ones, and the whole revamp was watched over by the ‘Past>Forward’ campaign of the Detroit Historical Society.

So what is new at the Detroit Historical Museum?

The renovations include three new permanent exhibitions that showcase the unique history of Detroit: the Gallery of Innovation, the Allesee Gallery of Culture, and Detroit: the Arsenal of Democracy.

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The Gallery of Innovations pays homage to the inventive people of Detroit. The Detroit Historical Society created this exhibition to show that Detroit ingenuity is not just limited to the automotive industry, and it is hoped that the gallery will inspire a whole new generation of inventors and problem-solvers.

The Allesee Gallery of Culture helps paint a picture of what it was like to work at the Ford Automotive Company when the first Model T rolled off the line, or how it felt to see Hall of Famer Al Kaline hit a baseball right out of Tiger Stadium. The Allesee Gallery commemorates and celebrates all the great moments that have made Detroit the city that it is.

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Detroit: The Arsenal of Democracy showcases Detroit’s role in World War II. In 1940, President Franklin D Roosevelt urged the United States to become the “arsenal of democracy” in the fight against Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. Detroit answered this call by producing nearly 30 per cent of all war materials made in the U.S. This exhibition shows how Detroiters drastically changed their daily lives in order to help the war effort.

Alongside the three new exhibitions, three existing exhibitions were expanded – the Doorway to Freedom: Detroit and the Underground Railroad, The Streets of Old Detroit, and Motor City.

The Doorway to Freedom exhibition is one of the Detroit Historical Museums most popular attractions. It documents Detroit’s pivotal part in aiding the slaves on their way to Canada via the Underground Railroad. It has been expanded to better tell the tales of the people involved.

The Streets of Old Detroit exhibition has always showcased what walking down the cobblestone streets of Detroit would have been like in the 19th century. This has been a long-loved stop by Detroit natives, so now more shops and store fronts have mysteriously sprung up in 19th century Detroit.

The Motor City exhibition has been rebranded as America’s Motor City. It still tells the tale of how Detroit built cars and how cars build Detroit. However, now the exhibit explains why Detroit became the ‘Motor City’.