Detroit: Museum Day

Taylor Wong '05, Faculty

January 4, 2017

Today was a jammed packed museum day, but first we were journaling our reflections related to the Aims that we are considering in this experience: diversity and empathy.

Then off to our first museum – the Motown Museum, which was incredible! We walked through the original Studio A where lots of Motown music was recorded and learned about Barry Gordy, who was a genius. Did you know he took out an $800 loan from his family trust to start the Motown company? Did you know that Motown got its name because Barry Gordy wanted to incorporate the motor city part, but didn't like how it sounded, so he cut the word "motor" into "Mo"? And Diana Ross started as a secretary at Motown before singing!

We saw some original records and paperwork, as well as Michael Jackson's hat and silver glove that he donated. Studio A never slept. It was always open because Barry Gordy wanted artists to be able to come and record their ideas whenever the ideas came to them. The technicians who were behind the records literally tapped away the floor. We saw the original wood with holes in the floor. Unfortunately, we weren't able to take any photos.

This is how some of the students described their Motown experience.

"Once in a lifetime, because I wouldn't have come by myself."

"Cool seeing music that my parents love (and made me listen to and fall in love with) and where it was made."

"Eye-opening because I always hear the music, and to see the back story, that's cool."

"Music is immortalized, but now we see where it came from. It makes me feel like I could do something like that."

"Inspiring and motivating."

We then went to the Henry Ford Museum and Rouge Factory Tour. There were snow flurries and the kids were so excited to see snow that we couldn't pass up an opportunity for them to make a tiny snowball. It was pretty cold today: 22 degrees, but it felt like 10 degrees with the wind.

The Ford Rouge Factory Tour was AMAZING! We saw five different exhibits including a movie about the history of the Ford Company and its evolution to its current “green” factory; a movie that showed us how an F-150 is assembled – which was like an experience at Disneyland; the factory’s living roof which helps with heat, warmth, electricity and so many other things. The fourth was the crown jewel of the tour - a .3 mile walk around part of the assembly line of the F-150 truck. To see each part of this car being put together through an assembly line and human beings was just so cool. The cars moved at the perfect pace so workers could do each of their specific jobs. Ford has taken into consideration the ergonomics of everything so a car is on a contraption that raises up if you need to screw something in on the bottom of the car and then it lowers if you're doing something on the top of the car.

The final room was an exhibition of five vintage cars, which was awesome for car fanatics.

We finally finished up the factory tour and headed to the Ford Museum which included A LOT of cars, but it also had trains and airplanes and a lot of things that were made in the USA.

We headed back to the hotel to do some journaling before dinner. For dinner we split up into three groups and rode the People Mover to Greektown. One group had barbecue, one group had Wahlberg burgers, and the final group had Greek food.

Thankfully we are not as exhausted as we were yesterday, and hopefully everyone gets a good rest.