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Detroit gets a bad rap these days.

The city was once a source of wealth and pride in our country, but when the American auto industry went down it took the city of Detroit with it. While the buildings may be decrepit, there is one element of this city that still exists as a beacon of hope for this struggling municipality. The Detroit Institute of Art still remains as one of the most grandiose art museums in the country.

This museum has one of the largest art collections in the United States, appraised at a cool $8.1 billion. I don’t mean to sound paranoid, but with crime rates as they are in Detroit, I hope they have their security on point. Clearly this has been an issue in the past: in 2006, a child stuck a piece of gum to one of their greatest Helen Frankenthaler paintings. If a little kid can get away with vandalism in this place, what could a cunning adult do?

Needless to say, with a collection as large as theirs, there is bound to be something for everyone within these walls. One of the main attractions at the DIA is Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry mural. Once called “simply a travesty in the name of art," it's now considered one of the museums finest assets. In addition to the masterpieces they have today, this museum once housed many pieces of art stolen by Nazis. The institute has been successful in identifying a handful of the rightful owners of these works and has promptly returned them. How altruistic! Thumbs up for the Detroit Institute of Art.

The building itself is quite impressive as well. It was built in 1927 during the auto industry boom. Detroit was one of the wealthiest cities in America and had the means to dump a ton of money into one of the most impressive and largest museums in the country. The years have not been kind to this city, leaving little funding for upkeep of this museum. This institute faced a near death experience when Detroit declared bankruptcy in 2013. Luckily, the museum receives most of its funding from the private sector now, allowing it to stay afloat. So don't believe the hype about Detroit, and visit it while you still can. 

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is a museum institution located in Midtown Detroit, Michigan. It has one of the largest and most significant art collections in the United States. With over 100 galleries, it covers 658,000 square feet (61,100 m2) with a major renovation and expansion project completed in 2007 that added 58,000 square feet (5,400 m2). The DIA collection is regarded as among the top six museums in the United States with an encyclopedic collection which spans the globe from ancient Egyptian and European works to contemporary art. Its art collection is valued in billions of dollars, up to $8.1 billion USD according to a 2014 appraisal. The DIA campus is located in Detroit's Cultural Center Historic District, about 2 miles (3.2 km) north of the downtown area, across from the Detroit Public Library near Wayne State University.

The museum building is highly regarded by architects. The original building, designed by Paul Philippe Cret, is flanked by north and south wings with the white marble as the main exterior material for the entire structure. The campus is part of the city's Cultural Center Historic District listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The museum's first painting was donated in 1883 and its collection consists of over 65,000 works. With about 677,500 visitors annually for 2015, the DIA is among the most visited art museums in the world. The Detroit Institute of Arts hosts major art exhibitions; it contains a 1,150-seat theatre designed by architect C. Howard Crane, a 380-seat hall for recitals and lectures, an art reference library, and a conservation services laboratory.

In 2023, readers of USA Today voted the Detroit Institute of Arts the No. 1 art museum in the United States.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Detroit Institute of Arts

Comments (1)


This is a wonderful museum...the Diego Rivera murals by themselves are worth a trip!!! I will be back.