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Best History Museums in Detroit

By: Cityseeker
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Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

The world's largest museum of African American history and culture, this impressive building opened in 1997 and is named after the local doctor and activist who first established it. With 120,000 square feet (11148 meters) of exhibit space, the Charles H. Wright Museum includes several exhibit galleries, a research library, classrooms and a museum store. The anchor exhibit, “Of the People: The African American Experience,” uses Detroit's own history to tell the story of the black experience in the United States. Previously, much smaller incarnations of the museum existed, dating back to 1965.

Detroit, MI, United States
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Historic Fort Wayne

Resting along the banks of Detroit River, Fort Wayne is the only remaining fort out of the many that once stood along the river. Fort Wayne is an 82-acre (33.18 hectares) site that includes the fort, barracks, a garrison, a huge parade ground, and a restored commander's house. Having aged spectacularly over decades and decades, the fort has been enlisted on to the National Register of Historic Places. Having played an integral role as an instruction camp during the course of the Civil War, this star-shaped fortification has braved many ravages of time, yet standing strong as an important landmark of Michigan. Whispering secrets of its storied past, this historic fort lends stirring insights into the country's long-standing maritime history. The premises are also home to the Tuskegee Airmen National Museum.

Detroit, MI, United States
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The Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum

On the grounds of Historic Fort Wayne, this museum documents the first African-American flying unit, the segregated 99th Fighter Squadron, which served in the US Air Force during World War II. There are wonderful collections of aircraft models and fliers' uniforms, the leather bomber jackets with white scarves. Detroit came to host the museum because former Mayor Coleman Young was a Tuskegee Airman. Visiting hours are by appointment only, so be sure to call ahead.

Detroit, MI, United States
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MBAD's African Bead Museum

Besides a huge collection of beads that carry a wide variety of cultural significance, MBAD's African Bead Museum is a haven for art lovers. Ivory, silver, other carved objects and a gallery featuring paintings and sculpture by local African-American artists are also displayed here. It's a short ride from downtown and is a fascinating stop for African history buffs. Guided tours are available.

Detroit, MI, United States
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Arab American National Museum

The Arab American National Museum, located just east of Detroit in Dearborn, is devoted to educating people about Arab American culture and history. Exhibits include Coming to America and Living in America as well as other exhibits designed to bring about awareness about Arab Americans' contributions to the culture, economy and society of the United States. The museum also focuses on immigration and shared experiences with other ethnic groups.

Dearborn, MI, United States
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Troy Historic Village

At the Troy Museum and Historic Village you are able to explore 10 historic buildings that have been carefully restored. Artifacts that are displayed have a history that dates back to as far as the 19th and early 20th Century. Open year round, the museum and village is a perfect look back to the the city of Troy's rich history.

Troy, MI, United States
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Holocaust Memorial Center

Founded in 1984, the Holocaust Memorial Center was the first institution in the United States to offer exhibits about the Nazi extermination of six million Jews in Europe during World War II. It's an eye-opening and breathtaking museum, offering a wide range of information and raising important questions about history. True to their slogan they are illuminating the past and enlightening the future.

Farmington Hills, MI, United States
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