- About Us
- Detroit Historical Museum
- Dossin Great Lakes Museum
- Things To Do
- Ways To Give
Speakers Bureau Topic Descriptions
Detroit, Michigan: First City of the Old Northwest
As Europeans began exploring the Great Lakes, Detroit became the center of trading activity, and a strategic military installation coveted by the French, British and American governments. Once its political fate was settled, the town became a magnet for immigrants and a burgeoning industrial metropolis. It’s advantageous location and resourceful population made it one of America’s great cities – a leader in manufacturing, education, architecture and the arts.
Detroit and the War of 1812: Border Crossings
For more than a generation, American citizens, British subjects, French settlers, Native Americans, and African slaves and freedmen routinely crossed the border while living and working together in the Detroit River region. That tranquility ended suddenly with the War of 1812. While the causes of the conflict had little to do with this area, the people here had a major influence on the war’s outcome. This lecture is a companion to the latest book published by the Detroit Historical Society, “Border Crossings.”
Boom Town: Detroit in the Roaring ‘20s
From the dust and smoke of the nineteenth century, Detroit burst into the national spotlight in the early twentieth century. The automobile business was at full throttle, resulting in a city that grew faster than any other on the continent. Adding to the excitement, national Prohibition created a demand for alcohol that our Canadian neighbors gladly addressed. Rumrunning became the region’s second largest industry. Conventions loved Detroit, and so did organized crime. Boom town meets the Wild West.
Unique Street Names: The Man on the Street (and Women, too!)
Many towns have an Elm Street, Washington Boulevard, or Second Avenue. Setting Detroit apart are the recognizable names of streets like Woodward, Beaubien, Mount Elliot and Selden. Behind each of these monikers is a man or woman who played a part in Detroit’s past. This unique presentation uses everyday street signs to explore the 300 years of Detroit’s history, and the story of the people whose legacy is traversed by citizens everyday.
Albert Kahn’s Architectural Legacy: The Ubiquitous Mr. Kahn
In the first half of the 20th Century, Detroit architect Albert Kahn revolutionized the design of industrial buildings around the world. He also influenced the artistic and aesthetic elements of commercial and residential structures, in a variety of styles and forms. This presentation will examine his career and the vast legacy of architectural treasures he created for the people of Detroit.
Roots of the Music: Origins of the Motown Sound
Detroit is known the world over for the music that came out of a small studio on West Grand Boulevard during the 1960s and 1970s. But the Motown Sound wasn’t born from thin air. It had its roots in other music that was being made in Detroit and around the country in the years before the company’s founding in 1959. This presentation delves into the city’s history of music making, and the elements that contributed to the unique stylings of Motown and Tamla Records.
About the Great Lakes
Unique Ships of the Great Lakes: Practical Ships designed for Practically Every Need
The massive Freshwater Seas represent a unique nautical environment, unlike anything else in the world. From the beginning, sailors have creatively adapted their craft to the conditions they encountered, and the specific cargoes they carried, from iron ore to passengers. Whether discussing massive freighters or fast speedboats, engineering genius and manufacturing innovation resulted in vessels not found on any other waterway – practically designed and particularly unique.
Great Lakes Shipwrecks: Committed to the Deep: Exploring Underwater Treasures
The very first ship on the upper Great Lakes, LaSalle’s Griffon, sailed only a single voyage before disappearing beneath the waves. Since then several thousand other vessels, along with their crews, have met the same fate. Today these underwater treasures offer recreational divers great opportunities for adventure. The wrecks also offer historians, archaeologists and scientists a trove of well preserved time capsules to be studied and protected. This presentation offers great photographs and underwater video that examine the world of those committed to the deep.
About the Detroit Historical Society
Cool Cars: Unique Automobiles of the Detroit Historical Society Collection
The Detroit Historical Society is caretaker of sixty automobiles. Most are rare – many are one-of-a-kind vehicles that exist in no other collection. These include the first closed salon Cadillac, the Scripps-Booth Bi-AutoGo, and a pre-production Mustang prototype. Several were the personal cars of the Auto Barons, and some came to the Society with original engineering drawings. This presentation takes a tour of a very unique automobile collection.
The Dossin Great Lakes Museum: Detroit’s Maritime Heritage Center since 1949
Originally called the Museum of the Great Lakes, the facility was housed in the J.T.Wing, the last working schooner on the Great Lakes. In 1960, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum opened as the first building specifically designed to promote Great Lakes maritime history. The museum’s permanent exhibits cover aspects of the commercial, cruise, and recreational side of the region’s nautical culture. Rotating exhibits explore everything from shipwrecks to smuggling.
The Detroit Historical Society: Preserving and Presenting Your History Since 1921
For more than 90 years, the Detroit Historical Society has been carrying the torch of Detroit’s past. Working in concert with the City of Detroit, the Society now manages three of the community’s cultural assets. The Detroit Historical Museum, on Woodward in the Cultural Center, tells the story of Detroit from the time of its founding to the present. The Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle concentrates on the maritime aspects of the region. The Society also directs the Collections Resource Center, comprising over 200,000 artifacts from the city’s 300 year history.
The Detroit Historical Society: A Sense of Stewardship
Charged with preserving and presenting Detroit’s history, the Detroit Historical Society has accepted a great responsibility. This presentation looks at the three aspects of the Society’s stewardship role – community education, asset preservation, and history portal. The first is addressed by museum exhibits and programs. The second is covered through the management and preservation of over 200,000 artifacts maintained at the City’s archives. Finally, the Society fields thousands of questions a year, from around the world, regarding Detroit’s long history – we don’t always have the answer, but we know were to find it.