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Tours

Updated: Sep 9, 2021
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Take a Walk on the Wild Side of Birmingham's History  
Birmingham 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.  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.  
Themed Self-Guided Tours of Greenwood Cemetery 
Path through Greenwood Cemetery.(Photo, 2013,  courtesy Patrica O'Blenes, C&G Newspapers) 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. 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.