Community Gallery

The Detroit Historical Museum’s Community Gallery is a changing exhibition space made available to local historical societies, museums, non-profit organizations and educational institutions. Selected for their contributions to the metro Detroit community, the organizations featured here share their stories and provide new perspectives on the issues, ideas and individuals that have shaped our region’s rich history. 

Developed and produced solely by our featured organizations, the words, images and ideas represented in the exhibition do not reflect the ideas, views or opinions of the Detroit Historical Society.



100 Years of Kiwanis

Open January 10 –  March 22, 2015 in the Community Gallery

The Detroit Kiwanis Club  No. 1 is the first Kiwanis Club in the world. It was founded in downtown Detroit in 1915 by a group of businessmen, led by Allen Brown.  

Brown enlisted Gratiot Avenue retailer Joseph G. Prance to form a fraternal club of businessmen with a motto, "We Trade." Don Johnston was elected President. The group was initially called “Benevolent Order of Brothers,” but this was soon changed to "Nunc-Keewanis" (from the Otchipew Indian language). Roughly translated, the phrase means "to express one's self." Later, the name was shortened to "Kiwanis."

Today, Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. Kiwanis and its youth-oriented Service Leadership Programs serve communities in more than 80 countries and geographic areas. Kiwanis International now comprises 600,000 members - men, women boys and girls - worldwide. 

Supported  by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.