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The Detroit Historical Museum

We Hope for Better Things...It Shall Arise from the Ashes

The Detroit Historical Museum

One of the first exhibits you see when you walk into the Detroit Historical Museum is "Detroit’s Official Symbols." The flag of Detroit and the official Seal of Detroit are displayed. The seal pays tribute to the fire of 1805 that burnt Detroit to the ground. The seal reads, “We hope for better things…It shall arise from the ashes.” 

From the Detroit Historical Museum website:

“The seal shows two women.  The woman on the left represents Detroit at the time of the fire.  She is weeping. The woman on the right, who is comforting her, represents hope and the future.  The background scene shows the city in flames on the left.  On the right, a new and brighter city is shown.  On the sides are Latin words which translated into English read “We Hope for Better Things…It Shall Arise from the Ashes.” This motto captures the real spirit of Detroit – one that meets challenges and evokes images of Detroiters working and building together.”

The motto, though adopted in 1827, is as relevant today as it was then. I will not be that woman weeping. I choose to be the woman looking to the brighter city, hopeful of what may arise from the ashes.

Next to this exhibit is the "Fabulous 5: Detroit’s Snack Food Superstars." This features Better Made Snack Food Company, Sanders Confectionery, Stroh’s Products, Vernor’s Ginger Ale, and the Germack Pistachio Company. Frank Germack, Sr. added red vegetable dye to the pistachio’s to attract customers and hide imperfections.

I loved this exhibit but I’m not sure about the gift shop selling Better Made potato chips. People were walking around the museum with open bags of chips, chomping away. It just seemed wrong.

Other noteworthy exhibits:

  •  Hero or Villain? Metro Detroit’s Legacy of Leadership.  This exhibit takes individuals such as Ty Cobb, Jimmy Hoffa, Henry Ford, and Coleman Young and presents an argument for them both as a hero and a villain.
  • Detroit Trivia. I wished this exhibit was larger, in all there were about 20 questions featured arranged by degree of difficulty. They have a “Play Detroit Trivia” card game available for purchase in the Museum Store.
  • VeloCity: Detroit’s Need for Speed. This exhibit celebrates speed and movement on land, water, and in the air. The Red Bull Air Race and the Detroit Grand Prix are featured.
  • Motor City. The history of Detroit cannot be told without exploring the auto industry. This exhibit includes the early years, the role the labor unions played in Detroit, and the body drop machinery from the Clark Street Cadillac Plant.

Motor City Exhibit

We had a great day out and learned quite a bit about Detroit. We went on a free weekend but you have until October 24 to use your Museum Adventure Pass for free entry.

Since the Detroit Tigers have a big game tomorrow, I’ll leave you with one of the Detroit Trivia questions from the exhibit:

Tiger Stadium went by 3 other names. What are they?

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Reader Comments (7)

Nice story. I've been wanting to get back down there and see the snack food exhibit as I gave them a little change for it. I've had a membership at the DHS since I first went to WSU mumblety-five years we try to slip down there at least once a year.
We were down there earlier this year, and I posted a couple of stories about our visit at that time. My favorite has always been the Streets of Old Detroit, and the assembly line/automotive exhibit was a little freaky because Tim saw some of the car components he worked on at Lear in the Museum (a little bit of a weird comment on where the automotive engineering field has gone).
In any case, let's both be the more optimistic women, shall we? :)

October 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDominique

I love the streets of Detroit too, Dominique. One of my favorite spots in ALL of Detroit. Katie and I tried very hard to have our reception there, but the logistics of it just didn't work out.

Great museum, great post. "Rise from the Ashes."

October 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Dibble

We stopped in there in July to see the "Detroit TV People" exhibit and John Kelly and Marilynn Turner were there checking themselves out at the same time. It was pretty funny.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSchmee

Dominique & Matt,
I agree, the "Streets of Detroit" is a great exhibit too!

I wanted to check that exhibit out, but missed it. I used to watch Kelly & Company all the time when I was little.

October 11, 2009 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

I love Detroit streets so much, even though I no longer live there, Detroit goes with me wherever I roam!

May 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHarry

I have two of the answers to the question?
1. Navin Field
2 Briggs Stadium
Is the third answer, "the Corner"? Or are you looking for Bennett Park which was there before Tiger Stadium?

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDoug

We stopped in there in July to see the "Detroit TV People" exhibit and John Kelly and Marilynn Turner were there checking themselves out at the same time.

April 10, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermodifikasi mio sporty

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