Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit, Michigan | C.1885

Photo Credit: Erol Ahmed

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) has one of the largest and most significant art collections in the United States. With over 100 galleries and 65,000 works, the space covers more than 650,000 square feet (198,120 sq m) and is considered one of the top six museums in the United States. The collection is valued at up to $8.1 billion according to a 2014 appraisal.

Founded as a non-profit in 1885, the collection soon outgrew its original building and ownership was to the city in 1919. Paul Phillipe Cret designed a new building in the early 1920s, and the collections moved in in 1927. White marble covers the majority of the facade, and upon the building’s completion it was christened a “temple of art.”

As the fortunes of the city declined in the 1970s and 80s, so did its ability to support the DIA. Even with reduced staff, the city was forced to close the museum for three weeks in June, 1975. Fortunately, the state government of Michigan provided funding to reopen. Over this time period, the state played an ever-increasing role in funding the museum.

Despite this, the City of Detroit filed for bankruptcy in 2013. As part of the settlement, ownership of the museum was transferred back to DIA Inc, returning the museum to its pre-1919 status as an independent non-profit.

The DIA campus is part of the city’s Cultural Center Historic District, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. With about 677,500 annual visitors, the DIA is among the most visited art museums in the world.

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