Sunday, August 7, 2011

Detroit Shout Out 3 - The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

A wonderful surprise on the last stop of my Zug Island: A Detroit Riot Novel book tour in Detroit was The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on E. Warren Ave. This awesome building sits nicely on a landscaped city block, flanked by the Detroit Institute of Arts on one end and adjacent to the Detroit Science Center on another. For people who think modern architecture lacks style and passion, they need to see this unique museum. This building is just one of a number of signs that this city is far from defeated.

The museum has two levels crowned by an eye catching glass and steel dome which covers the Ford Freedom Rotunda on the upper level. The dome illuminates the Ring of Genealogy centered beneath it on the floor. The ring is comprised of brass tiles engraved with the names of notable African-Americans from American history. The General Motors Theater, the Museum Store, the Research Library, and the four exhibit areas radiate from this expansive, circular public area.
 
The lower level is dedicated primarily to the museum’s educational mission with classrooms, an Orientation Theater, a large Multipurpose Room, and an exhibit on the Tuskegee Airmen Project. The museum cafĂ© is also on this level.  This is one of the best museums I’ve been to in the United States. It was an honor to speak here about about my novel, Zug Island. Many thanks to the museum staff for being so helpful and making me feel welcome.


In addition to its museum and education functions, this venue can be hired out for business, corporate, public, or private gatherings with a full array of services. The Charles H. Wright Museum is truly a community resource and a welcome addition to Detroit’s long overdue recovery. For more details, check out their website at www.CharlesHWrightMuseum.org.