I was really excited for Justin and my latest adventure – a visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts. We talked about going for months, especially after the August art millage that lets residents from Oakland, Macomb and Wayne Counties into the museum for free. Our interest only increased when the Faberge’: The Rise and Fall exhibit opened.
We went to the Detroit Institute of Arts on a weekday morning so it wasn’t too busy. As I mentioned, general admission is free to residents of Oakland, Macomb and Wayne Counties. Some special exhibits are extra, including Faberge’: The Rise and Fall. At t the time we went, the DIA offered an online coupon for the exhibit so check their website before going. Entry into the Faberge’ special exhibit is timed and limited so book your entry time by purchasing online or plan accordingly when you go.
To me, Faberge’ is most well-known for creating amazing, jewel-encrusted eggs. However, we learned that the House of Faberge’ also created dazzling miniature life-like animals carved from semi-precious stones and gems, pendants, frames, cane handles and other items. Faberge’ catered to the upper class Russian society, making a name for himself by capturing the interest of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.
As you wander through each section of the exhibit, you learn something new about Faberge’ and the Russian royal family. It’s also very interesting to read about the big disconnect between the aristocracy and working people in Russia during the early 1900’s. This disconnect ultimately brought down the royal family, leading to the execution of Nicholas, his wife and children. This also led to Karl Faberge’s fleeing Russia and an abrupt close of the House of Faberge’.
The exhibit contains wonderful examples of the creativity and hard work done by Faberge’ and his workers. Through accompanying text and photographs throughout the exhibit, visitors gain insight into the workshops, storefronts and even the homes of the tsar and his family. I’m not usually a fan of the audio tours for exhibits (I don’t like using public headphones) but we did for this exhibit and were not disappointed. It provided some extra details about the items and people.
As you round the final part of the exhibit, you encounter six beautiful imperial Easter eggs. We were surprised to learn there are only 42 Imperial Faberge’ eggs left in existence. Viewing the eggs was fascinating – each is full of intricate details, telling a story with the design and images. Each egg took a year to create and most are made with diamonds, gold and other precious gems.
We also wandered through many of the permanent exhibits in the museum. A new exhibit, Motor City Muse: Detroit Photographs, Then and Now, is awesome. It includes more than 100 photographs from throughout Detroit taken over many years. Many depict a scene from 1973 and the exact same location in 2010. It was interesting to see the differences. Justin and I have heard many stories from our parents about what Detroit used to be like so it was cool to see pictures from before we were born. (This exhibit was included with general admission so no additional charge.)
When we left Detroit, we headed to Hamtramck for lunch at the Polish Village Café. We love the authentic Polish food. The small restaurant is usually busy but we arrived at the end of the lunch rush so easily got a table. I had some delicious pierogi stuffed with sweet cheese and potato pancakes. Justin indulged in pierogi, dill soup and a side of city chicken. We split a Polish beer. A great meal….until the bill came. The restaurant doesn’t take credit cards! We lucked out by finding an ATM located upstairs from the restaurant, however, when our transaction ended, the machine stated ‘out of order.’ The only other downside was we smelled like fried food. The smell was strong enough that I was glad we were heading home so I could shower and change. But the food is worth it.
Faberge’: The Rise and Fall exhibit closes at the DIA Jan. 21, 2013 so hurry if you want to see it! Motor City Muse: Detroit Photographs, Then & Now closes June 16, 2013.