Michigan and Metro Detroit as a whole as been through a lot since March, when the state announced it was on a quarantine for the coronavirus. The area’s cultural institutions largely closed through this whole period, but now they are beginning to open up again with social-distancing visitor plans in place for everyone.
Here are some of the reopening plans and how you can participate in not only getting out of the house but also in supporting these great locations. You can take the family to these great places to tour, especially some of the outdoor gardens where you can enjoy the weather as well as the beauty of the grounds.
After being closed for months, Ford House, the historic estate of Edsel and Eleanor Ford, will open its gates to welcome back the general public to walk the beautiful lakeside grounds and gardens beginning Tuesday, July 7.
Ford House closed to visitors March 11 to help limit the spread of COVID-19, coinciding with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s declaration of a state of emergency and Centers for Disease Control guidelines. In mid-June, the estate launched a phased reopening, admitting only members.
Beginning July 7, the general public may walk the grounds and gardens, tour with Ford House’s new mobile app, and picnic on the National Historic Landmark estate, but a ticket is required. Ford House has added health and safety guidelines for visitors and staff to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Members have been following these protocols on the estate for the past few weeks.
All visitors must register in advance for a timed entry ticket. Tickets are $5 for the general public, and member admission is still free, but tickets are required for admittance. Visitors are also required to practice social distancing and keep a face mask with them at all times while on the estate. All historical buildings, including the Visitor Center and Museum Store, are closed, and house tours are suspended at this time.
“Ford House is a welcoming place where you can immerse yourself in nature and historical architecture while keeping a safe social distance,” Ford House President and CEO Mark Heppner said. “We have been diligent in planning every necessary precaution to protect your health and safety so we can see you and your family back. We are excited to see our visitors’ smiling faces again.”
Ford House has launched a new mobile app with stop-by-stop tours around the Ford House grounds and a virtual look inside the Fords’ main residence. The app is available at www.fordhouse.org and through the App Store. Visitors also can download or print a map and guide to bring along.
After an unprecedented four-month shutdown of Detroit’s Cultural Center due to the COVID-19 state of emergency, the museums and arts and cultural organizations that are at the heart of the district are collectively planning to re-open their doors to the public on July 10.
The Carr Center, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit Historical Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, Hellenic Museum of Michigan, Michigan Science Center and The Scarab Club have been collaborating since late April to create a plan to re-open safely and welcome visitors and employees back into their buildings under the guidance of Midtown Detroit, Inc. (MDI) and the National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF). A small number of other arts and cultural institutions including the Detroit Public Library, International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) will have different re-opening dates but still participated in the process.
“We know that the long-term health and safety of our cultural institutions is currently tied to ensuring the health and safety of all visitors and staff,” says Susan Mosey, Executive Director of Midtown Detroit, Inc. “We engaged NSF to help us create a safety culture and protocols for managing the risks associated with a communicable disease while helping institutions deliver their core missions.”
A re-opening guide and toolkit has been developed by NSF that includes practices, protocols and recommendations for safely operating, as law permits, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The multi-phase re-opening guide includes professional guidelines that are being implemented across the district and are informed by the recommendations of organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services, pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as strict adherence to city, state and federal mandates. Every aspect of normal operations at each institution has undergone a thorough evaluation by NSF and where needed, modifications are in place and will be continually updated to keep staff and visitors safe.
Created in 1915, Cranbrook’s celebrated Japanese Garden is among the oldest existing Japanese-style gardens in North America. It is part of the country estate of Cranbrook’s founders, George and Ellen Booth. It features a vermillion Japanese-style bridge, its original Kasuga Lantern and a recently rehabilitated lily pond.
The Japanese Garden recently reopened and is following the same socially distant visiting guidelines as the rest of Cranbrook House and its gardens. You can visit the garden online before you go with its newly expanded website to see the sights and determine where you want to roam when you arrive on site. It is a great look at the grounds as well.