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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 near downtown. The name was changed to the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1919 and in 1927 the museum moved to its current location on Woodward Avenue.
  • 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 the wings in a contrasting modernist style.
  • The DIA building measures 658,000 square feet.
  • Funding comes from donations, grants and a 10-year millage tax levied in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, which expires in 2022.
  • The DIA became a private non-profit corporation.
  • The DIA is run by a volunteer board of directors, which appoints and supervises the museum's director.

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

  • 303,196 FY 04 (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 FY 07 (Museum 1/3 open; closed May and June)
  • 427,448 FY 08 (Museum closed July through November; Grand Opening in November)
  • 412,461 FY 09
  • 331,909 FY 10
  • 391,128 FY 11
  • 483,942 FY 12
  • 619,441 FY 13
  • 629,909 FY 14
  • 677,496 FY 15

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