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11 Must-See Museums in Metro Detroit

best museums in southeast michigan

11 BEST Metro Detroit Museums

If you’re looking for something interesting to do, check out some of the museums in Metro Detroit. You’ll find a eclectic mix of museums and memorial centers, both inside and outdoors worth exploring.

Designed to share unique histories and share artifacts that tell the story of our world, these 11 southeast Michigan museums are worth a visit.

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum
Where: 220 E. Ann St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Why You Should Go: The Hands-On Museum in Ann Arbor is certainly catered to children, but adults and teens will love the way the exhibits spark imagination and wonder. Galleries for all ages keep everyone engaged, and the Preschool Gallery specifically allows children 4 and under to experience the museum in an accessible way apart from older kids.

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Where: 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit, MI 48201

Why You Should Go: The largest museum of African American history can be found right here in Michigan. In Detroit, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History looks at the resilience of African Americans from Africa to the Civil Rights Movement and beyond to modern day in it’s anchor exhibit “And Still We Rise.” See this among the other rotating exhibits for a unique and educational visit every time.

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Detroit Institute of Arts
Where: 5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202

Why You Should Go: The Detroit Institute of Arts is one of the best art museums in Michigan, and the country overall. Spend a day browsing nearly 7,000 pieces of art from all over the world across more than 100 galleries. The DIA is home to many iconic and historic pieces of art, including Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry mural and Vincent Van Gogh’s Self Portrait.

Greenfield Village - top Michigan museums
From the The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village

The Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village
Where: 20900 Oakwood Boulevard, Dearborn, MI 48124 5029

Why You Should Go: Curated in part by Henry Ford himself, The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village make history come alive. Museum pieces educate about history, technology, and innovation. In the collection you can find the chair Lincoln was assassinated in, the bus Rosa Parks was on when she refused to give up her seat, among many other historic presidential vehicles.

In Greenfield Village, significant historical buildings line the streets, including homes, workshops, and labs belonging to inventors like Edison and the Wright Brothers.

Holocaust Memorial Center
Where: 28123 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48334

Why You Should Go: The best reason for visiting the Zelekman Holocaust Memorial Center is provided by philosopher George Santayana: ​“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This important memorial documents the horrors of the Holocaust and the events leading up to it. Nine exhibits designed to engage, educate and empower visitors about the Holcaust (deemed appropriate for ages 12 and up) provide a somber memorial.

The most sobering exhibit is a WWII-era train, used to transport victims to concentration camps, donated by Holocaust survivor Henrietta Weisberg and her husband. The center provides an opportunity to honor and remember the victims of this terrible historical event.

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More Must-See Metro Detroit Museums

Lace Museum Detroit
Where: 133 W. Main Street #219, Northville, MI 48167

Why You Should Go: The Lace Museum Detroit is an antique lace and fashion museum located in Northville, Michigan –approximately 20 miles from the city of Detroit. It is a smaller salon-style museum with a permanent collection that focuses on European and American Handmade Lace. Lovingly curated by Mary Salman, you’ll find exhibits of 19th-century handmade lace & linen, lace-making tools, textiles, and fashion. 

Mill Race Village
Where: 215 Griswold St, Northville MI 48167

Why You Should Go: Mill Race Village is a living museum that is both fun and interesting for all ages to explore. Set in charming downtown Northville MI, you’ll find a replica village that you walk though and enjoy. The buildings include a church, gazebo, school, rustic wooden bridge, blacksmith shop, general store, interurban train station and several homes. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the lovely grounds, or plan some time to explore the town of Northville.

Motown Museum
Where: 2648 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48208

Why You Should Go: Home of Hitsville U.S.A., the Motown Museum transports you back to 1959. Learn all about the iconic music history of Detroit’s very own Motown style and see how it all connects to the future. Once or twice a year the main gallery is changed up to keep things fresh, meaning each new visit is different from the last.

Plymouth Historical Museum
Where: 155 S Main St, Plymouth, MI 48170

Why You Should Go: One of our favorite Michigan history museums, this tiny gem houses the state’s largest collection of Lincoln memorabilia. You’ll also find a charming production of a 19th century Main Street, complete with storefronts. During the holiday season, the Victorian-era Christmas exhibits are charming and interesting for all ages.

People looking at art in the University of Michigan Art Museum - best things to do in Ann Arbor

University of Michigan Museum of Natural History
Where: 1105 N University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Why You Should Go: Operated by the University of Michigan, this amazing museum has the largest collection of prehistoric life in Michigan, in addition to a wonderful planetarium that puts on amazing exhibits and light shows.
The museum has four major permanent exhibits, including the Hall of Evolution, which exhibits on evolution and prehistoric life, including fossils, models, and dioramas of dinosaurs, ancient whales, mastodons, and other organisms.

Witch’s Hat Depot Museum and Historic Village
Where: 300 Dorothy St, South Lyon, MI 48178

Why You Should Go: Step back into the early 19th-century at this unique village and museum in South Lyons. Set inside a beautiful park, you’ll find a chapel, a gazebo and a school to explore among the refurbished. This highlight, though the restored train depot shaped like a Witch’s Hat. The Witch’s Hat Depot has been carefully preserved to show what a turn-of-the-century train depot would look like.

There’s also a 1926 caboose on-site that all (including kids and railroad buffs) will enjoy exploring.

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