Two signature sounds define Detroit: the soulful strains of Motown music and the roar of engine pistons firing on all cylinders. This is a city with a staggering history of innovation, where groundbreaking ideas have created successful empires in music and the automotive industry. So when planners bring groups to Detroit, they have a multitude of inspired venues for private group functions, based on these success stories that have formed this city’s heritage and a singular American legacy.
The Motown Historical Museum is a simple 2-story house filled with mementoes celebrating one of the nation’s best-known musical genre, including the pianos where Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye composed their greatest hits to Michael Jackson’s trademark jeweled white glove and black fedora hat.
Step into Studio A and you can feel the energy from legendary artists such as Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, the Temptations and Jackson Five (just to name a few) who brought the Motown sound to life. The Museum exemplifies what can be achieved with vision and commitment against all challenges, an inspirational setting for any corporate event.
The 658,000-sf Detroit Institute of Arts has been a beacon of culture for the city for well over a century, with a collection that ranks among the top six in the United States. The DIA’s more than 60,000 works are a feast for the eyes from the 27-panel Diego Rivera Detroit Industry fresco to a pair of one-and-a-half-inch gold openwork earrings from 11th century Persia.
Equally breathtaking are the rooms themselves. The elegant William H. and Patricia M. Smith Crystal Gallery with its gold leaf ceiling and 25-foot crystal mirror walls provide a sense of timeless appeal for any corporate event. The Kresge Court, meanwhile, illustrates different eras of European architecture such as Gothic-style arched windows and Italian Renaissance columns. The midtown museum’s more than 100 galleries display a multinational collection from prehistory through the 21st century.
THE AUTO DYNASTIES
The Edsel & Eleanor Ford House generates a different kind of emotion: the passion for family, the memory of which lingers after more than eighty years. Built on the shores of Lake St. Clair just a 20-minute drive northeast from downtown Detroit, the Ford House is, first and foremost, an intimate family home despite its 30,000 sf. The final residence of Edsel Ford—the only child of Ford Motor Company patriarch, Henry Ford—the house resembles a cluster of Cotswold village cottages, complete with stone roofs, vine-covered walls and lead pane windows surrounded by inviting woodlands and meadows.
The Ford House offers a variety of spaces suitable for events, such as the Gallery, Cotswold Cafe, Terrace and Solarium as well as outdoors on the 87-acre grounds along Lake St. Clair.
The fourth largest historic house museum in the US, Meadow Brook Hall (about 30 miles north of Detroit) was the home of Matilda Dodge Wilson, widow of automobile pioneer John Dodge. The 88,000-sf, Tudor-Revival manse feels like a massive English castle, complete with ornately molded and carved plaster ceilings and stained glass window insets. The Hall is open for tours and events at 13 separate areas, all enhanced by fine art and stunning architectural craftsmanship. The entire building and grounds can also be reserved for buyouts.