Last updated: 9/24/2011
Detroit, Michigan
5401 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48202


Janice Gates, Marketing/PR Specialist
phone: 313-833-1805

In 1928, the leaders of the Detroit Historical Society founded the Detroit Historical Museum and for the next 20 years the Society operated the Museum and preserved our region’s rich history through the collection and conservation of artifacts. In 1945, the Society transferred ownership of the Museum and the collections to the City of Detroit, and the Society focused on fundraising and marketing activities for the Detroit Historical Museum and, later, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum.


The Detroit Historical Society is always open to sending artifacts within our Collections to other Museums, commercial business, associations and clubs as well as other locations. All loans are based on availability of an artifact or collection of artifacts, environment of the host location, security of the host location as well as other possible factors.

Individual artifacts can be borrowed at an average rate of $75 per year. This fee varies depending on the size of the artifact and its value to the Collection. This fee does not include shipping, handling or installation. All loans must be approved by the Curator of Collections after host site conditions are evaluated.

Special fees will be accessed for institutions borrowing large quantities of objects for specific displays or exhibits. All loan requests should be made no later than 30 days in advance of the date that the loan is needed. Contact the Curator of Collections for more information at 313.297.8391.

The Detroit Historical Society also has several former exhibits available for travel to and rental by other institutions.


Established in 1921, the Detroit Historical Society’s mission is to educate and inspire our community and visitors by preserving and portraying our region’s shared history through dynamic exhibits and experiences. The Society is responsible for the overall management and operations of the Detroit Historical Museum, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, and a Collection of more than 200,000 artifacts.

Artifact Collections

Want to explore our collections? We have more than 200,000 artifacts that represent more than 300 years of our region’s unique history. Not every artifact or image is currently linked to our website, but we are steadily working on digitizing all items in our collection and the categories below are a link to what is currently available to view online. For additional information, please contact the Curator of Collections at 313.297.8391.

Research Collections

The Detroit Historical Society is pleased to offer opportunities for college students, researchers for scholarly publications, and non profit agencies to research metropolitan Detroit and Maritime related materials or have materials researched on their behalf at our Collections Resource Center or Archives at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. All interested parties are asked to schedule an appointment with the Curator of Collections, preferably one to two weeks in advance of the dated requested. This allows the staff to make sure the pertinent material is available and ready by the appointment date. Contact the Curator of Collections at 313.297.8391 to schedule an appointment.

Educational Programs

At the Detroit Historical Society, we are actively preserving and presenting our region’s stories through our unique exhibits featuring our extensive collection of artifacts at both the Detroit Historical Museum and Dossin Great Lakes Museum.

Our docent guided tours meet the needs and interests of a variety of audiences of all ages. Moreover, all of our student experiences meet the academic standards established by the State of Michigan.
Both museums are easily accessible via major freeways and both offer free parking. What’s more, each museum has its own unique Museum Store featuring books, souvenirs and gifts for history lovers of all ages.
Whether you’re a teacher interested in helping your students understand and interpret Detroit’s past, an activities director planning a field trip for your church or senior group, or a parent organizing an adventure for you and your neighbors, our team can tailor a tour to satisfy your needs.
Lecture Halls
Performance Areas
Access: General Public, Students, Scholars, Members
Appointment required: Yes

Following publications are available:

Making History newsletter
Gift Shop
Online Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
Group Tours
Wheelchair Accessible
Museum Events
This information, including business hours, addresses and contact information is provided for general reference purposes only. No representation is made or warranty is given as to its content or the reliability thereof. User assumes all risk of use. Stories USA, Inc. and its content suppliers assume no responsibility for any loss or delay resulting from such use. Please call ahead to verify the dates, the location and directions.


Western Museums Association’s (WMA) 2023 Annual Meeting

October 5 - 8, 2023

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New England Museum Association 2023 Conference

November 8 - 10, 2023

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Small Museum Association 2023 Conference

February 19 - 21, 2024

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2024 California Association of Museums Conference Announced

March 10 - 14, 2024

Location TBD



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