COVID-19 Memorial Garden


Recognizing the many losses suffered by our community in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Detroit Historical Museum has dedicated a public memorial garden in front of Legends Plaza. Over the summer, everyone is invited to contribute to the memorial by painting a rock or two and adding it to the growing pile of colorful stones. Commemorate a lost loved one or use your design to simply celebrate life. When the garden closes at the end of the summer, some of the stones will be added to the Detroit Historical Society’s permanent collection as artifacts from this time.  

The garden is located in front of the curved wall at Woodward and Kirby. It's open now and will remain in place throughout 2021. Participate by adding decorated stones any time or tagging us in photos of your stones on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We will be adding all the digitally submitted stones to an online photo archive.  

The Detroit Historical Society is also collecting oral histories from the COVID-19 crisis. Add yours to our oral history archive here. 


Tips for decorating a memorial rock: 

1. Pick a rock. Any shape, any size. Just make sure you can carry it! 

2. Wash your rock thoroughly and let it dry completely. Drying will require some time because rocks are porous, overnight works well. 

3. Choose your paint. For durability, avoid watercolor or poster paint, which will be washed away by the elements. House paint is great. Spray paint works. Acrylics are good. Oils work but take a long time to dry. Even a sharpie is good if you have a light colored rock.  

4. Paint away! Dark colored rocks might require a layer of background - paint the whole rock, let it dry, then add a design. Words are encouraged - paint them right on or add with a sharpie at the end.  

5. As long as your paint is not water-based, no sealing is required. Just let your paint dry thoroughly. 

6 Add your rock to the garden online by tagging us in a photo or drop it off at the Museum.