As the saying goes, life is just one thing after another – and that goes doubly when planning a complex event like a reunion. Choosing a destination or a hotel that can accommodate your group is one step – and a vital one – but it’s just one step. Once you get everyone organized and settled in, you then have to offer them plenty of options for entertainment, socializing and sampling the local fare. And, of course, sometimes you’re going to want to plan your reunion not in some sunny vacation spot, but in the hometown or another spot that’s more meaningful to your attendees.
If your reunion planning takes you to the Motor City, you have an invaluable resource right under your nose: the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Not only is this a beautiful space dedicated to preserving and passing on the story of Black America, it’s also a space dedicated to the community of both local residents and the widespread community of former Detroit and Michigan residents. Even more important to you, the reunion planner: Setting up your reunion-related events at the Charles H. Wright Museum gives you plenty of options because every day and evening brings a rich menu of activities in one place.
An Evening at the Museum
Founded in 1965 by Detroit physician Dr. Charles H. Wright, the museum was inspired by a memorial to fallen World War II soldiers Dr. Wright visited in Denmark, giving him the idea that the best way to preserve knowledge of the struggle of African-Americans was through education. The museum’s humble origins included dozens of exhibits and a traveling museum housed in a converted mobile home. By 1985, the museum’s popularity spurred Detroit to assist in developing a modern facility in the city’s University Cultural Center, and in 1992 interest and use of the museum had grown so much that a third facility was built using public funds. This 125,000-square-foot facility is ideal for any Detroit-based reunion.
Is the Museum Appropriate for Reunions?
The Charles H. Wright Museum is an ideal spot for a multitude of reunion activities. The facility includes:
- Ample Space: Events can take advantage of the modern General Motors Theater (seating 317), two large galleries where meals can be served, two classrooms for presentations, the Ford Freedom Rotunda – a breathtaking architectural space (100 feet in diameter and 65 feet above the floor) ideal for ceremonies.
- Support: The museum can provide catering, audio-visual equipment, staff to assist with planning, security, valet parking and cleaning, as well as resources for private and self-guided tours of the museum.
- Visuals: Events take advantage of the exhibits that add historical, emotional and artistic depth to any gathering.
Is There Enough to See and Do?
The Charles H. Wright Museum is a large facility that combines standing exhibits with daily community-inspired events. In short, any reunion group using the museum as their “home base” or an event destination will never lack for activities.
Aside from the museum’s special temporary exhibits, there are several permanent installations:
- And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History and Culture. This is the main exhibit that sprang from the seeds planted by Dr. Wright in 1965. Today it is a modern multimedia, interactive exhibit spanning 22,000 square feet.
- The Ring of Genealogy. A stunning 37-foot terrazzo tile installation created by artist Hubert Massey highlighting prominent African Americans throughout history.
The Charles H. Wright Museum also features a rich calendar of regular events that reunion attendees can take advantage of, including:
- Musical Performances by some of the most talented and famous artists in America at the Ford Motor Theater and other spaces at the museum, ranging from celebrated jazz musicians to up-and-coming R&B and rock acts.
- Dance Lessons are offered on a weekly basis and can be arranged for groups to turn an off-day into a blast of fun.
- Films, Theater and Lectures on a wide range of subjects are presented regularly in the theater and other spaces.
What About Places to Stay & Eat?
The museum is located in the center of it all in Detroit, and the surrounding area offers convenient access to first-rate lodgings and restaurants.
Aside from catering options for large events, the museum offers the Latimer Cafe, a simple place to grab a quick lunch or snack. A short distance from the museum are some of Detroit’s best restaurants, including places like Seva, a celebrated vegetarian spot for breakfast and brunch; Whitney Restaurant, serving some of the best American fare in the country; and Hop Cat, a wonderful bar specializing in turning evenings into memories.
There are plenty of choices at all budget levels near the museum, ranging from the boutique bed-and-breakfast charm of The Inn on Ferry Street to the classic feel of the St. Regis Hotel, and the classic architecture and old-school service of the Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney.
The museum has the space, activities, events and surrounding neighborhood to make any visit to Detroit a spectacular moment in everyone’s lives. It offers creativity, powerful art experiences, and enjoyable dining and lodging within one of America’s great cities, all while basking in the rich culture of the African American community.
Now you know that reunion events at the Charles H. Wright Museum have the potential to be the event your attendees are talking about years from now. Help spread the word by commenting on this article or sharing it far and wide!