Detroit Historical Museum

Two recently-opened exhibits at the Detroit Historical Museum shine a light on iconic designs — one from an industry you would expect from the Motor City, the other from a business not always associated with Detroit.

The first is the latest vehicle on display in the museum’s Automotive Showplace, part of the America’s Motor City exhibit. Designed by innovator William B. Stout, the 1935 Stout Scarab was decades ahead of its time. Experienced as an aircraft designer, Stout built his automobile around a lightweight steel frame. A long wheel base and a rear-engine, rear-wheel drive configuration allowed for a roomy interior reminiscent of minivans developed 50 years later.

Stout’s knowledge of aerodynamics and artistic eye resulted in a highly stylized automobile. The art deco influences set this car apart from anything else on the road at that time.

The second is found in Fashion D.Fined: The Past, Present and Future of Detroit Fashion, an exhibit proclaiming that Detroit design is so much more than cars. The exhibit features an amazing gown created by two Detroit artists, Christina Liedtke, founder and creative director of Christiana J. Paul, and Alex Fedirko, a nationally known landscape painter.

Dubbed the “Streets of Detroit” gown, this amazing example of hand-painted couture was inspired by more than 200 years of the city’s history and features homage to the city’s 19th century street plan and six of its most iconic architectural works.

For more information on how to visit these two exhibits, visit detroithistorical.org.

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