Since 1928, the Flint Institute of the Arts (FIA) has chronicled the cultural history of the city and today continues to influence its rebirth. In that time, the museum has been designated as a National Treasure by the President's Committee on the Arts in 2002 and received the Governor's Award for Arts and Cultural Organization in 2007. As a world-class cultural institution, the FIA draws over 120,000 visitors a year to an array of exhibitions, film screening, lectures, educational outreach programs, and family events that enlighten art lovers and celebrate Flint's diversity. Within the FIA's 150,000 square feet of space, stunning gallleries of over 8,000 objects, including sculptures, paintings, and artifacts, tell the story of Flint's past and future. Its libraries and art school prepare the next generation of artists. The FIA also features a video gallery, a cafe and gift shop, a great hall for large events, and a theater for films and lectures.
The boundaries of children's imaginations expand like a sun on the horizon at the Flint Children's Museum, a creative learning space with more than 40 exhibits. The show-stopping stations are designed to engage tykes of every learning type, whether they figure out their world by experimenting, watching, hearing, or even climbing. At the Discovery Zone, kids explore environments such as the rainforest or outer space by scampering about kid-sized replicas. They get a lesson in cause and effect at the "How Things Work" section by building bridges, and try their green thumbs at urban horticulture in the Sproutside outdoor learning area. While older kids cavort about, their toddling counterparts, ages three and under, can head to the cozy Tot Spot to play with age-appropriate toys.
Named one of the city's best cultural museums by CBS Detroit, the Holocaust Memorial Center is among America’s first Holocaust museums. For more than 25 years, the HMC has memorialized the senseless murder of millions, promoting tolerance while sending out a call to action to prevent future discrimination, hate crimes, bullying, and genocide by keeping alive the memory of the Holocaust and the lives it claimed.
Starting near the museum's lobby, an illustrated timeline tracing 4,000 years of Jewish history leads into The Museum of European Jewish Heritage, which highlights Judaism through artifacts and displays. From there, a ramp descending beyond a 22-foot window display of Nazi propaganda leads into an exhibit on The Final Solution. Here, displays and audiovisual installations usher visitors toward the Survivors' Theater, where live presentations by Detroit-area survivors illuminate the atrocities' personal costs. Daily tours are led by the museum's caring, expert educators, who guide guests through the exhibits while encouraging them to internalize the lessons for use in their own lives.
New to the museum is the Weisberg Gallery, where a Holocaust-era boxcar stands as a reminder of the scale of the period's atrocities. The museum also welcomes traveling exhibits such as Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow, a collection depicting the story of Jewish professors fleeing Nazism and finding teaching positions at historically black universities. The exhibit explores the encounter between these scholars and their students, the impact the relationships had on one another, and the effect on the Civil Rights Movement and American society.
Post-war exhibits cover the Nuremberg Trials, honor the righteous individuals who risked their lives to resist the Nazis or save Jewish lives during the war, and pay homage to those who perished with a memorial flame. The museum also houses a well-stocked library, where guests can research their genealogy with materials dedicated to European Jewish history. Beyond its core exhibits, the HMC hosts special exhibits encompassing photographs, art, and history, in addition to sending survivors to speaking engagements throughout the city and hosting the Kindertransport Memory Quilt, whose patches represent the experiences of Jewish youth rescued from Eastern Europe.
Cranbrook Art Museum opened its current Eliel Saarinen-designed building in 1942. Today, its collection features original exhibitions and educational programming on modern and contemporary architecture, art, crafts, and design. A recent $22 million renovation added a Collections Wing, making their rich collection accessible to all visitors.
Permanent mainstay: Tours of the museum's Collections Wing, with more than 6,000 items by artists such as Eames, Knoll, and Saarinen, are all housed in a vault designed to make the collection visible and accessible.
Don't miss: The curator's talks give more in-depth detail about current exhibitions.
Hands-on experiments: In the outdoor sculpture treasure hunt, families seek up to 18 sculptures on the grounds, while learning more about the artists, other works, and which pieces make the best nesting areas for birds.
Future exhibitions: Laura Kalman: Coveted Objects; Theater of the Mind; The Cranbrook Hall of Wonders: Artworks, Objects, and Natural Curiosities; Iris Eichenberg: Bend; MR. MDWST - A REAL GOOD TIME by BEVERLY FRESH; and Alloyed Visions: The Jewelry of Harry Bertoia
The building: a meticulously restored structure designed in 1942 by Eliel Saarinen
While you?re in the neighborhood: Nearby on the Cranbrook campus is Saarinen House, the art deco masterwork of renowned architect Eliel Saarinen. The house served as his residence as Cranbrook Academy of Art's first president and has been restored with its original furnishings.
Foster the next generation of artists: at monthly Drop-In Art Sundays, where children explore the kids' gallery and create their own masterpiece inspired by featured artists
Cranbrook Institute of Science grants visitors an up-close look at a collection of more than 150,000 objects and artifacts that adorn 11 galleries dedicated to natural history and science. Interactive exhibits let visitors feel the fur on a mastodon model, run their fingers along a meteorite, and touch the cast taken from the floor of a now-extinct 500,000-year-old sea. More wonders of the natural world fill the Erb Family Science Garden, where flow pools cascade over three terraces dotted with native plants. To study the world above terra firma, the institute holds nighttime sessions in its research-grade observatory and screens space-related films in its planetarium.
Behind the museum, more than 150 species—from jamaican fruit bats to the malaysian flying fox, the world's largest bat—flap freely through the Bat Zone. During award-winning live shows highlighting how they adapt to living at night, the bats emerge into daylight along with fellow nocturnal critters, two-toed sloths and convenience-store clerks.