A tour guide points in the distance with a large group of students following his gaze.

Detroit Virtual Exhibits

What are the objects that surround you? That inform your thoughts, drive your ideas, stimulate your inquiries? The objects that are not just present in their physical form, but for their lives as curiosity engines. For some, the tactile qualities of an object are touchstones to sense memories—the weight of a tool handle or a door knob, the way we interact with a building or a task. Other objects are like icons on our desktops, visual anchors that take us to places or ideas, operating systems or archives.

This series of Detroit Center exhibitions asks U of M faculty and staff to select an object that informs their work with the City of Detroit, and to reflect on the relationship between object and subject, artifact and inquiry.

Where we once had a first-floor gallery space, as our space has been re-configured, we are adapting to both the square footage and the new opportunity of being the entryway to the building. Our exhibitions are housed in a display case in this entryway, just off Woodward Avenue. And while we are practicing physical distance, these exhibitions serve as a conduit for social connection via objects and conversation as conduit.

Basing this program in part on a Cooper-Hewitt/ National Museum of Design program called Object of the Day our exhibit case invites one U of M researcher a month to share an object that relates to their work in Detroit along with a brief text. These can be designed or built objects, collected artifacts, or the residuals of processes that provokes or inspires your work.

Exhibit: Iron Teaching Rocks How to Rust 

Exhibit: Records of Conant Gardens

Exhibit: A Threshold