Museums

Visiting a museum is always a unique experience, as each one has its own distinct characteristics, style, and of course, content. Museum subjects vary greatly from city to city, and can range from firefighter's museums to fine art, to sports. If you need help making a selection, our 10Best list highlights the top spots to visit in Detroit.

10 Motorsports Hall of Fame & Museum
If you frequently have the need for speed or have ever put the pedal to the metal, you'll want to visit this facility. Racing vehicles representing a range of fast-moving sports are on display, including stock cars, Indy cars, trucks, motorcycles, and powerboats. You'll also find artifacts and memorabilia that honor the people and the technology behind the records — items like driving suits and videos. A gift shop is available. (248-349-7223, 800-250-7223)

9 Dossin Great Lakes Museum
Located on Belle Isle Park, this maritime museum features a working submarine periscope and allows you a close up view of ship traffic on the Detroit River. Displays cover such topics as the Storm of 1913 (the worst storm to ever hit the Great Lakes), prohibition-era Detroit, and artifacts and treasures from a range of Great Lakes ships, from freighters to passenger liners. (313-833-7935)

8 Henry Ford Museum
Henry Ford Museum showcases the development of technology in the US and documents the width and breadth of American inventions and innovation. The facility occupies nine acres and includes exhibits on agriculture, the automobile, freedom, timepieces, home appliances, jewelry, presidential limousines, and much more. Thematic itineraries provide a more directed focus for visitors who wish to follow them, and temporary exhibits nicely shake up the regular slate of displays. (313-271-1620, 800-835-5237)

7 Detroit Institute of Arts
View works by masters such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Picasso, and Matisse at this impressive museum. Major thematic exhibits place a focus on Africa, Oceania, and the Indigenous Americas; The Arts of Asia and the Islamic World; and Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. A hallmark of DIA's collections is a 27-panel mural spanning four walls called "Detroit Industry" that was painted by Mexican great Diego Rivera. Over 60,000 works constitute the museum's holdings. (313-833-7900, 313-833-4005)

6 Detroit Historical Museum
This museum was established to preserve and document the history, growth, and development of Detroit and its people, including the fascinating "Motor City" exhibit. Children love "Streets of Old Detroit," with its cobblestone streets and old-fashioned storefronts. Other exhibits chronicle Detroit's history as a fur-trading outpost, the Underground Railroad routes leading through Detroit, and the old Boblo Amusement Park. (313-833-1805)

5 Cranbrook Art Museum and Institute of Science
[Cranbook Art Museum is closed for renovations.] This dual-purposed suburban complex offers patrons the chance to explore the marvels of science and encounter the intriguing beauty of 20th-century art. Cranbrook Art Museum's collection of contemporary art includes works that represent a variety of movements and schools, including Art Deco, Arts & Crafts, Modernism, and Post-Modernism. The Institute of Science features laser-light shows, rocks and minerals, dinosaur skeletons, and a slew of fun interactive exhibits meant to thrill children and their parents alike. (877-462-7262, 248-645-3200)

4 Automotive Hall of Fame
Tour the center that celebrates the accomplishments of individuals throughout history who have contributed to the growth and expansion of the worldwide motor vehicle industry. It features a full-size replica of the world's first gas powered car as well as a mural that chronicles automotive history. Hands-on exhibits and interactive displays are also featured. (313-240-4000, 888-298-4748)

3 Detroit Science Center
Get involved with science and technology close-up at this hands-on museum. Interactive displays help visitors learn more about solar energy, fossils, holograms, and laser lights, and an OMNIMAX theater presents fascinating films that put you right in the middle of the action. "Stand" at the edge of a volcano, or "roll and dive" in a supersonic jet — adventure and discovery await! (313-577-8400)

2 Cranbrook Institute of Science
The Institute of Science intends to share with visitors its broad fascination with the natural world and with technology. Its interactive displays and engaging exhibits make the educational process a fun one for young and old. The collection features laser-light shows, rocks and minerals, dinosaur skeletons, local flora and fauna, geology, astronomy, and lessons gleaned from natural history. Planetarium shows makes the night sky and the universe come alive, and a nature center focused on live bats lets kids experience the intriguing creatures up-close. Temporary exhibits further the fun. (248-645-3200, 877-462-7262)

1 Pewabic Pottery Museum
This non-profit organization is dedicated to preserving the ideals of the Arts & Crafts Movement of the early 20th century, while simultaneously advancing contemporary ceramic arts. Visit the production studios, where you can see actual pieces of pottery and tile being crafted. The organization features a regular schedule of changing exhibitions, educational programming, and a museum. (313-822-0954)


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Maps and Directions

1
Motorsports Hall of Fame & Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: NOVI
2
Dossin Great Lakes Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: BELLE ISLE
3
Henry Ford Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: Dearborn
4
Detroit Institute of Arts 10Best List Arrow
Type: Art Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
5
Detroit Historical Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
6
Cranbrook Art Museum and Institute of Science 10Best List Arrow
Type: Art Museums, Museums, Science Museums
Neighborhood: BLOOMFIELD HILLS
7
Automotive Hall of Fame 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: DEARBORN
8
Detroit Science Center 10Best List Arrow
Type: Family Friendly, IMAX Theaters, Museums, Planetarium / Observatory, Science Museums
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
9
Cranbrook Institute of Science 10Best List Arrow
Type: Family Friendly, Museums, Science Museums
Neighborhood: BLOOMFIELD HILLS
10
Pewabic Pottery Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: Art Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: BELLE ISLE