Museums and Historic Homes
Alfred P. Sloan Museum
From fur trading and pioneer life, to lumbering, carriage making, and the automobile boom of General Motors, the Alfred P. Sloan Museum brings history, culture, and technology to life for the entire family.
Arab American National Museum
Arab Americans in southeast Michigan have a lengthy relationship with the automotive industry. The Arab American National Museum (AANM) in Dearborn, MI, is the first and only museum in the United States devoted to Arab American history and culture.
Automotive Hall of Fame
The Automotive Hall of Fame, a museum dedicated to pioneers and innovators from the auto industry, is located in historic Dearborn next to the campus of the Henry Ford.
Cadillac & LaSalle Club Museum & Research Center
The Cadillac & LaSalle Club Museum & Research Center is a premier attraction featured at the Gilmore Car Museum. The Cadillac & LaSalle Club was established in 1958 to encourage the preservation of early Cadillacs and LaSalles. The club promotes the development, collection, publication and exchange of helpful information pertaining to Cadillac and LaSalle.
Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village
The Canadian Transportation Museum is a state-of-the-art 25,000 sq. ft facility that commemorates Canada's transportation heritage from the Windsor Ford City Model T's to the 1992 Dodge Viper. The Heritage Village features over a dozen buildings of local significance.
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Founded in 1965, the Charles H. Wright Museum features innovative exhibits that celebrate the events and accomplishments of African Americans and all Americans.
Cherry Hill Village
One of many areas prospected by Henry Ford as part of the Village Industries, Ford used the Cherry Hill Mill as a source of jobs for returning veterans who manufactured supplemental parts for the nearby Willow Run Bomber Plant. The area now features a stunning, neo-traditional neighborhood south of Cherry Hill, a local theatre and other amenities.
This English Tudor mansion served as the family home of George Booth and Ellen Warren Scripps. Mostly known as family heirs to the Detroit News empire, the family also experimented in the automotive industry. The Scripps-Booth Corp. produced four models of cars all aimed at the luxury touring market, from 1913-1923.
Crocker House Museum
The first mayor of Mount Clemens, Joshua Dickinson, built this Italianate home in 1869. The museum offers escorted tours, group tours, lunch and tour, special and educational programs, classes, lectures and afternoon teas. Annual events include a Garden Walk, Cemetery Walk and Funeral Tea, and Victorian Christmas events.
Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad
Crossroads Village is a one-of-a-kind collection of restored 19th century buildings, amusement rides and authentic narrow-gauge railroad.
Detroit Historical Museum / Detroit Historical Society
Located in the heart of the downtown Cultural Center, Detroit's rich history come to life at the Detroit Historical Museum, one of the Midwest's leading cultural institutions. Many stories from the city's automotive past are preserved here.
Detroit Institute of Arts
The Detroit Institute of Arts has a well documented relationship with Detroit's automotive past. Edesel Ford, sole heir to the Ford Motor Co. empire, and his wife Eleanor saved this museum from closing its doors during the Great Depression and helped establish a fine art legacy for generations to enjoy. It is also home to Diego Rivera's famed "Detroit Industry" fresco murals.
Dossin Great Lakes Museum
Located on the shores of historic Belle Isle, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum tells the story of the critical role the Detroit River played in the evolution of the automotive industry in Detroit.
Durant-Dort Office Building
The Durant-Dort Office Building on Water Street in Flint, MI, is the birthplace of General Motors and iconic automotive brands such as Buick and Chevrolet. Guests can walk in the very offices where William C. Durant and J. Dallas Dort signed the articles of incorporation for what would later become the General Motors empire.
Edsel & Eleanor Ford House
Leave the industry hustle behind and stroll through the beautifully preserved home and lush garden grounds of Henry and Clara's only son Edsel.
Ella Sharp Museum
The Ella Sharp Museum celebrates art and history from around the greater Jackson area, and houses the 1916 Marion-Handley car, a very rare piece of our automotive heritage. The museum and sprawling park features a number of different sites including the original 19th century home of Ella Merriman-Sharp. The museum showcases changing art galleries, hands-on children's activities, and antiques from Jackson's past.
Lawrence Fisher, co-founder of Fisher Body and president of Cadillac Motors, completed this Hollywood-inspired Italian Renaissance Villa in 1927. The mansion is filled with ornate stone and marble work and rare black walnut and rosewood parquet floors. Purchased in 1975 by Henry Ford's great grandson and Walter Reuther's daughter, the mansion has been restored and serves as the Bhaktivedanta Cultural Center blending old auto wealth with timeless Indian heritage.
Ford Piquette Avenue Plant
The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant serves as one of the historical footings for the Ford empire as Henry Ford's beloved Model T was born in the restored building at the corner of Beaubien and Piquette in downtown Detroit.
Gilmore Car Museum
Visit the 90-acre, historic campus of the Gilmore Car Museum, located in bucolic Hickory Corners just 17 miles northeast of Kalamazoo, to experience a wealth of automotive history and Americana. Gilmore features nearly 200 historic autos and two dozen beautifully restored buildings including a 1930s service station, historic barns and a functioning 1941 diner.
Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford
Experience a place where over 80 acres brim with resourcefulness and ingenuity. Where 300 years of American stories pulse with life. Step foot in the lab where Thomas Edison had his lightbulb moment. The Bagley Avenue shed re-created by Henry Ford to share the story of where he built his first car. The workshop where the Wright brothers taught us to reach for the sky. Take a ride in a real model T and discover our nationâ€™s most formative years at the place where everything feels astonishingly real. Because it is.
Henry Ford Estate - Fair Lane
Family home of automotive giant Henry Ford and wife, Clara Bryant Ford, the Fair Lane Estate tells the story of autmotive royalty set against the tranquil, pastoral setting of the property located along the rushing waters of the Rouge River. The residence was the first site to receive National Historic Landmark status in 1966.
Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation at The Henry Ford
Step into a world where past innovations fuel the imagination of generations to come. A vibrant exploration of genius in all its forms, Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation allows you to experience the strides of Americaâ€™s greatest minds while fully immersing yourself in their stories. Step inside the bus where Rosa Parks took a stand by taking a seat. Play pilot as you explore flight innovations, starting with the Wright brothers' achievements, or see first-hand how the automobile changed our nation in the exhibit Driving America. Put yourself in the place of the movers and shakers who blazed the trail to where we stand today.
Meadow Brook Hall
An iconic landmark of automotive royalty located in a picturesque area of Oakland County, Michigan, Meadow Brook Hall tells the story of Matilda Dodge Wilson and her second husband, Alfred Wilson. The National Historic Landmark was built from the fruits of the success of Dodge cars and Matilda's first husband, automotive pioneer John F. Dodge.
Michigan Fire House Museum
This beautifully restored firehouse at the corner of Cross and Huron streets in Ypsilanti features a number of antique fire trucks and memorabilia. This unique historical collection also features the country's largest collection of antique fire truck bells.
Michigan Historical Center
The Michigan Historical Center galleries feature rich automotive history which include the Highland Park Assembly line, a 1920s auto dealership, UAW Labor Hall, Arsenal of Democracy and the Detroit Auto Show.
Michigan Military Technical & Historical Society
The Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society is dedicated to preserving the stories of Michigan citizens who served and sacrificed, here and abroad, from WWI to the present. The 11,000-square feet museum exhibits the actual equipment, vehicles, weapons, uniforms and other artifacts from American conflicts.
Michigan Science Center
With live stage shows, an IMAXÂ® Dome Theatre, a Planetarium, 250+ hands-on exhibits, lab activities, special exhibits and more, there are approximately two dozen ways to customize your MiSci visit. Thereâ€™s more than you can see and do in a week!
Michigan State University--Vincent Voice Library, Lansing Auto Town collection
The Lansing Auto Town Gallery is an audio special collection featuring oral histories from members and employees of the United Auto Workers Local 602, Fisher Body, and Diamond REO assembly plants in Lansing, MI. This online gallery offers the opportunity to listen to the ordinary, the extraordinary, the wit and candor of these men and women as they discuss experiences and perceptions about factory work, labor and management relations, corporations, the community, and motivations for union activism.
Monroe County Labor History Museum
The only museum in Michigan dedicated to the story of organized labor, this facility features a number of great exhibits commemorating the persaverance of the American workforce.
Nankin Mills Interpretive Center
Nankin MIlls Interpretive Center was orginally a grist mill built in 1842 to serve farmers who lived in the Western Wayne County area. In the early part of the 20th century it served as one of Henry Fords first village industry plants. Today, it is a first-class interpretive center telling the story of the mill, the Rouge River and the surrounding area.
Northville Mill Race Village
The Mill Race Village in Northville, MI, serves as a historical site dedicated life and architecture from the early 19th Century. The sites resides on land donated by the Ford Motor Company and is near the site of the Northville grist mill that was one of the first pieces of Henry Ford's Village Industries.
Old Mill Museum
The Old Mill Museum in Dundee is housed in a former grist mill which Henry Ford converted into his tenth village industry plant. Three floors of the museum showcase Dundee's local history from the 1807 Macon Indian Reservation to everyday life in a Victorian-era village, and the community's love affair with the automobile.
Packard Proving Grounds
Take a step back to the heyday of the Packard Motor Car Co. in its famed Albert Kahn-designed Proving Grounds complex which still stands on Van Dyke Avenue in Shelby Township. From the historical preservation of the original test track, the timing stand, the Charles Lindbergh Hangar and more, the site creates a mystical sense of nostalgia for the golden age of the automobile and the power that was Packard.
Bought by Henry Ford in 1919 and then rebuilt by Albert Kahn by 1921, the Pheonix Mill opened for production the following year in 1922. Part of Ford's Village Industries, Ford employed only women to work in this factory. Especially unique was that Ford paid women workers the $5 day the same as the men working for him - at a time when the average pay for women was less than $1 per day. The facility is now owned by Wayne County and not opened to the public.
R. E. Olds Transportation Museum
Nestled along the banks of the Grand River and housed in the original factory of the Bates and Edmonds Motor Company, the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum lets you step back into automotive history through the eyese of Ransom Eli Olds, one of the industry's great pioneers.
The Rentschler Farm in Saline, MI served as a source of farm produce to city dwellers in the 1900s and today the museum tells the story of local life in the early 20th century. Visitors can also enjoy the Depot Museum and the original Saline mill, once part of Henry Ford's Village Industries, which is now Wellers Funeral Home.
Roush Automotive Collection
The Roush Automotive Collection is a 30,000 square-foot, private facility. Housed within the collection are a wide variety of displays, multi-media exhibits, artifacts, memorabilia and 110-plus vehicles dedicated to the preservation of the heritage of Roush Enterprises. Tours are available by appointment only.
Stahls Automotive Foundation
The Stahls Automotive Foundation and museum facility is a private collection dedicated to preservation and restoration of vintage vehicles A visit to the Stahls Automotive Foundation will take you back to a time in history when cars were more than just a way to take us from point A to point B. Gain a better understanding of how the automobile developed from a novelty to a main form of transportation.
The Wills Sainte Claire Automobile Museum
The Wills Sainte Claire Automobile Museum preserves the history of the Willls Sainte Claire Automobile and its founder, C. Harold Wills. The facility features six to eight autos from the very rare Wills Sainte Claire collection, some restored and some in original condition.
Whaley House Museum
The Whaley House Museum preserves the story of Flint during the late-1800s and early-1900s as the city transitioned from a small carriage building town to one of the world's leading industrial centers. Banker Robert Whaley was the first to believe in a little known entreprenuer named William C. Durant in 1886, when he loaned Durant $2,000 as seed money for what would eventually become an automotive empire.
William E. Scripps Estate
Like many wealthy families in the early 20th century, the Scripps family - founders of media giant, The Detroit News - also experimented in the automotive industry. The family formed the Scripps-Booth Corp. and produced four models, all aimed at the luxury touring market, from 1913-1923. The William E. Scripps Estate is a piece of the area's rich architectural heritage.
Yankee Air Museum - Willow Run Airport
Experience the story of Michigan's famed Arsenal of Democracy by visiting the Yankee Air Museum in Van Buren Township. The Yankee highlights the story of the Willow Run B-24 Bomber Plant which played a critical role in ending WWII.
Ye Ole Carriage Shop
Located in the community that bears the namesake of its celebrated university, the Ye Ole Carriage Shop is a must-see for auto and history enthusiasts. The site boasts the largest collection of Jackson-made autos such as an original 1903 Jaxon, a 1914 Imperial (one of only two left), 1954 Kaiser-Darrin and a beautifully restored 1911 Cutting.
Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum
Visit the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum to experience a fully restored Hudson Dealership resembling how it appeared in its heyday. The museumâ€™s featured automotive stories are Chevrolet Corvair, Tucker, Hudson, Kaiser-Frazer, and General Motors Hydra-matic; all with local connections to the surrounding community.
Ypsilanti Historical Museum
Visit our Museum and Archives to learn about the history of people and places in and around the City of Ypsilanti.
The importance of supporting our automotive heritage
By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images courtesy of Robert Tate's collection
In this special edition of Story of the Week, Author Robert Tate touches on the origin of his passion for automotive history and the role of MotorCities National Heritage Area.