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Tours

Updated: Sep 9, 2021
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Guided Tours of our Historic Hunter House  
HH Adult BR-1Hunter House with Front GateWith general admission to our changing exhibit at the Allen House, visitors are entitled to a guided tour of the 1822 John West Hunter House-the oldest house in Oakland County, and one of the oldest intact dwellings in all of Michigan. The Hunter House was also the first frame house built in the wilderness of Oakland County using an unusual building style, which visitors can see through an exposure window inside the wall of the house. The interior is furnished with antiques from its occupation periods--from pioneer days through the 1920s when local architect Wallace Frost was hired to renovate the parlor and dining room. Visitors can also see interior painted finishes that were recently changed to reflect a more accurate color scheme based on an analysis of the historic colors, bringing the 200-year old building to life.  The image at left shows the orange-pumpkin color that was discovered as the earliest color used on the bedroom trim work.

New Museum App has Interactive Student Tours 
App Homepage Image The museum is introducing a fun way to learn more about local history with its new free app, available at the appstore for both Apple and Android devices (search 'The Birmingham Museum').  

Allen Family Study circa nineteen thirty-twoVisitors will be able to walk through the museum’s 1822 Hunter House and find those objects that tell special stories that relate to Birmingham’s pioneer period for the elementary local history curriculum requirements. In the Allen House, the specialized tour in the app gives a peek into the lost world of the Allen family in 1926 with view of the rooms now and how they looked when the Allens lived in the house. At the cemetery, visitors can take 4 different tours exploring the history of Birmingham from its earliest settlers to the present day.  Check back soon to find out what new tours are added to the app, or contact the museum at 248-530-1928.

Take a Walk on the Wild Side of Birmingham's History  
Eco City Street REv1939  from Archit Survey of Bham booklet Maple and Woodward Street SignBirmingham is a walkable city, and visitors and citizens alike enjoy pedestrian activities any time of year, and whether or not there is a public health reason to be outdoors. Check out these local walking (and driving) tours for an immersive experience in one of the great historic themes that makes such an excursion a true delight. Downloadable maps can be printed and taken along, or stop by the museum for printed brochures and additional information. You just might be amazed!

Themed Self-Guided Tours of Greenwood Cemetery 
Greenwood Gate
The Greenwood Cemetery is one of Birmingham's historic treasures.  Founded in 1825 after a grisly murder in the settlement of what is now called Birmingham, the cemetery has been the resting place of many of Birmingham's citizens ever since.  The pleasant setting with shady trees is full of local history; the oldest 1/2 acre section was donated by early settler Dr. Ziba Swan.  This article explains more about the origins of Greenwood Cemetery. Greenwood Cemetery is on Oak Street, west of N. Old Woodward.  The main entrance gate is the east gate. Three new printable 2-page walking tours are now available to take with you next time you wander the grounds.

Polly Utter's grave markerGreenwood Cemetery General Markers"Birmingham's Pioneers" features the stories of men and women who came to the wilderness of Oakland County to start new lives half way along the Saginaw Trail (now Woodward Avenue) from Detroit to Pontiac, and are among the earliest burials at Greenwood. The tour path is concentrated in the oldest section of the cemetery near the east entrance on Oak Street.   "19th Century Community Builders" takes visitors through more of the cemetery as the path meanders past the grave sites of those who helped build the small settlement of Birmingham into a thriving village and humming commercial center.  And, for those of you curious about Greenwood's more recent past, "20th Century Notables" highlights an even longer walk through many famous internees, such as American sculptor Marshall Fredericks, noted author Elmore Leonard, early aviators, auto makers and engineers, and the parents of world-famous Twin Towers architect, Minoru Yamasaki. 
 
Birmingham Women's History Walking Tour 
Gitel Levinson Birmingham women have made their mark on the town and actively participated in politics even before the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.  From the pioneer period of Birmingham's settlement to the first women rock critics at 1970s Creem Magazine, this tour features twelve amazing women who shaped their worlds and the various buildings associated with their stories. Download the brochure to learn more. (Photo, c.1880s;  Gitel Levinson, first Jewish woman resident of Birmingham, courtesy Carl Levin) 


Marshall Fredericks Walking/Driving Tour
Freedom of the Human SpiritFamous sculptor Marshall Fredericks resided in Birmingham, and his works are among the most important American art of the 20th century. Our community is proud to have so many of his works available for the public to view!   Download the four page brochure to see a great downtown walking/driving tour with information on each of the sculptures, provided by Fredericks expert Marcy Heller Fisher. (Shown: Freedom of the Human Spirit, Downtown Birmingham's Shain Park; photo courtesy Hometown Life)



Downtown Birmingham Walking Tour
Birmingham TheaterBirmingham has a long and interesting history.  Many of the residences and commercial buildings in the downtown area have had fascinating roles to play in the town, and some have been around for more than a century.  Take a walking tour and check out some of the more interesting and historic of these structures in this walking tour brochure. (Shown: Birmingham Theater, built 1927. Photo courtesy Ron Gross)



Video Tours
Can't make it into the museum for an in person tour? We have several video tours available! The Friends of the Birmingham Museum put together a few videos showcasing individuals on their cemetery tours. This playlist was designed for our second grade virtual visitors. This tour was done for Kent Lund's "The Collectors" program, while the video below features Bella, the city's therapy dog, taking a tour of our "Beyond Suffrage" exhibit.