Museum reopens with 9th annual Cruisin’ Woodward exhibit in Royal Oak

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published August 11, 2020

 A sculpture created by Alexander Buchan of Henry Ford driving a race car is currently on display at the Royal Oak Historical Society Museum.

A sculpture created by Alexander Buchan of Henry Ford driving a race car is currently on display at the Royal Oak Historical Society Museum.

Photo provided by Muriel Versagi

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ROYAL OAK — Volunteers at the Royal Oak Historical Society Museum have been hard at work putting together their first exhibit since the building shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

The ninth annual Cruisin’ Woodward exhibit launched Saturday, Aug. 1, and while the actual Woodward Dream Cruise was officially canceled, the museum opted to focus on memories of the cruise.

“The volunteers put up a sign on the entrance when you come in that says, ‘The COVID Cruise 2020,’” curator Muriel Versagi said. “It’s basically memories — Woodward memories of all the stores and things.”

Versagi said the exhibit features new photographs of people and businesses in Royal Oak, including pictures of how muddy Woodward Avenue was in the 1800s and the entrance to the Detroit Zoo in the 1940s.

The exhibit also showcases automotive concept art from members of the League of Retired Automotive Designers. Alexander Buchan, a former Royal Oak resident who designed automobiles in the 1940s and ’50s, also contributed sculptures of historic racers and vehicles for the duration of the exhibit, which runs through Saturday, Oct. 10.

“Some of their design art, the concept art is just really, really cool,” Versagi said. “The sculptures done by the retired automotive designer are just incredible.”

Due to the pandemic, the museum requires that all visitors and volunteers must wear properly fitting facial coverings at all times. A maximum of 10 guests, not including staff, will be allowed in the museum at one time, and guests will only be allowed on the first floor.

Hand sanitizer will be stationed around the museum, and the typewriter and other hands-on displays will be closed. Food and beverages are also not allowed in the exhibit area.

“Since we are limited to 10 people at a time, if a group wants to come, it would be appreciated if they would send an email and say they would like to come,” Versagi said. “Unfortunately, we cannot do tours of the building at this time.”

Admission to the museum is free, but donations are accepted.

The Royal Oak Historical Society Museum is located at 1411 W. Webster Road, west of Crooks Road. Normal museum hours are 1-4 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

For more information, visit royaloakhistoricalsociety.com, call the museum at (248) 439-1501 or email curator@royaloakhistoricalsociety.org.

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