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A JHSM Insider’s Tour: The Art and Architecture of the Detroit Public Library…with a Jewish twist

March 21, 2014 @ 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM


When the Detroit Public Library’s Woodward Avenue building opened in 1921, it was considered the city’s most beautiful building.  Perhaps it still is.

JHSM is pleased to present a JHSM Insider’s Tour: The Art and Architecture of the Detroit Public Library …with a Jewish twist

Friday, March 21

9 a.m. – 12 noon 

This tour is filled.  Please phone our office to see if space has become available.

JHSM is pleased to present An Art and Architectural Tour of this fabulous building designed by architect Cass Gilbert (the father of the skyscraper), who found inspiration for the white marble building in the Italian Renaissance. Docents will guide us through this beautiful gem, highlighting the stunning murals, carvings, decorative ceilings, painted windows, floor designs and Ionic columns. 

 The multitude of murals and paintings within the library depict scenes from Detroit’s history, and the history of Western music, poetry, arts and architecture. Decorative ceilings are reminiscent of European palaces and cathedrals.  Painted glass windows, bas-reliefs and mosaics by some of the world’s most talented artisans remind us of fairy tales, mythology and literary genius. 

Join us to learn the history of the museum – and its Jewish connections. Did you know, for example, that the library’s location and funding are credited to Jewish Detroiter David Heineman. Some of the magnificent architectural features and art include

  • Murals by Gari Melcher, Edwin Blashfield/Vincent Ardante and Robert Thom.
  • A fireplace designed by Mary Stratton, founder of Pewabic Pottery.
  • Samuel Yellin wrought iron gate.

  • 15-foot bronze entrance doors with bas relief images from Greek and Roman antiquities
  • Charley Harper wildlife prints.
  • Frank Varga glass mosaic of Copernicus.
  • Millard Sheets mosaic of 414,000 pieces of colored glass.

Our tour will include a rare chance to tour and browse the Ernie Harwell exhibition. 

There is a lot of walking on this tour, please wear comfortable shoes.   

Bus will depart from West Bloomfield JCC and Oak Park JCC
Departure times:

9 a.m. PROMPTLY from West Bloomfield (Jewish Community Center, 6600 W. Maple Rd

9:20/9:25 a.m. from Oak Park JCC (10 Mile Rd)

9:45 a.m. Bagels and coffee at the Detroit Public Library 
10 a.m. Program and Tour begins
11:30 a.m. bus departs for return to Oak Park & West Bloomfield JCC

$36 JHSM Members
$45 non-Members


March 21, 2014
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM


Jewish Historical Society of Michigan


Detroit Public Library
5201 Woodward Ave.
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