Museum InfoMedia Room

DIA interior
DIA interior

Just the Facts

The Building and Operations

  • The original museum, called the Detroit Museum of Art, was founded in 1885, and was located on Jefferson Avenue. In 1927 the museum moved to its current location on Woodward Avenue was re-named The Detroit Institute of Arts.
  • Paul Philippe Cret designed the Woodward Avenue building in the Beaux Arts style. Cret wanted to recreate the aesthetics of European house museums, so each gallery was fashioned as the characteristic backdrop for the art displayed there.
  • A south wing was added to the Cret building in 1966, and a north wing in 1971. Gunnar Birkerts designed both wings in a contrasting modernist style.
  • The DIA building measures 600,000 square feet. Completion of the museum's renovation and expansion project will add another 77,000 square feet.
  • The building, property and collection are owned by the City of Detroit.
  • Under a 20-year agreement with the City of Detroit (Feb. 1998-Feb. 2018), museum operations are the responsibility of a non-profit corporation known as The Detroit Institute of Arts. The non-profit corporation is run by a volunteer board of directors, which appoints and supervises the museum's director and CEO.
  • Under the terms of the operating agreement, the City of Detroit appoints a volunteer arts commission. The commission is charged with ensuring that the museum is in compliance with all provisions of the operating agreement. An annual report is supplied to the mayor of Detroit and the City Council.

The Renovation and Reinstallation Project

A comprehensive renovation, expansion and gallery re-installation project began in 2001 and was completed in 2007. It includes a 35,000 square foot addition, additional gallery space, a new dining facility, an expanded museum shop, upgrades to the infrastructure, and an improved traffic pattern throughout the museum.

In addition to the physical changes, the museum reinstalled the galleries with a focus on the general visitor. More than 5,000 works of art are presented in a way that allows visitors to more easily make personal connections with the art and to understand the objects in the context of their own place and time.

Capital Campaign

The DIA launched a 10-year, $331 million capital campaign in 1999 to fund its building project, operations, and endowment. The New Day at Your DIA campaign was launched with a combined gift of $50 million from Richard A. Manoogian, Josephine Ford, and A. Alfred Taubman. The top three corporate gifts were received from General Motors Corporation, Ford Motor Company and DaimlerChrysler. Each corporation donated $5 million.

In December 2004, after raising $231 million, the New Day at Your DIA campaign was closed and a new campaign was kicked off in January 2005. The Campaign for the Detroit Institute of Arts has a goal of $180 million through 2015: $165 million will complete the building project and provide essential support for operations over the next 10 years; $15 million will be added to the endowment for operations in a continuing effort to secure the DIA's financial future. The construction work, begun in 2001, has been paid for to date with the money already raised.

Museum Attendance

The DIA tracks overall attendance according to its fiscal year (FY), June 30 through July 1.

Attendance over the last 10 fiscal years

  • 569,951 FY03
  • 303,196 FY04 (North Wing closed in May; museum 1/3 open)
  • 250,022 FY 05 (Museum 1/3 open; closed during August)
  • 293,078 FY 06 (Museum 1/3 open; closed during August)
  • 301,066 FY07 (Museum 1/3 open; closed May and June)
  • 427,448 FY 08 (Museum closed July through November; Grand Opening in November)
  • 411,470 FY 09
  • 331,909 FY 10
  • 375,874 FY 11
  • 459,031 FY 12
  • 594,267 FY 13

The top three highest-attended exhibitions

  • Van Gogh: Face to Face 315,000 (3/12/00 – 6/4/00)
  • Splendors of Ancient Egypt 290,000 (7/16/97 – 1/4/98 – six-month run)
  • Degas and the Dance 171,693 (10/20/02 – 1/12/03)

For more information, please contact:

Pamela Marcil

Midtown Detroit