Two years of painstaking work by designers, donors and contractors culminated late this morning with the official opening of the Cranbrook Art Museum.
Sipping on coffee and hot cider, more than 100 alumni, faculty, students and supporters of the $22 million project huddled between portable heaters and listened to several congratulatory speeches just outside the doors to the historic building originally designed by the father-son design team Eliel and Eero Saarinen in 1942.
"This project has fundamentally altered the way we think of ourselves and work for now and into the future," said Reed Kroloff, director of the museum and the Cranbrook Academy. "As a community, as a cultural resource in Metro Detroit . . . this project has, and will always be, truly transformational."
The extensive renovation included an overhaul of the lighting system and the addition of a 20,000-square-foot collection wing that now allows the museum to display all 6,000 pieces of artwork for the public and the students.
"This represents the past for me, but also the future for my family," said Susan Muskovitz, a Cranbrook alumnus from Bloomfield Township who, with her daughter, Molly, 4, helped unravel the ceremonial red ribbons on the door. Molly is the fourth generation in her family to attend the school.
The opening also kicked-off 11 days of events coinciding with the celebration on campus.
Check back for updates and further coverage of the historic reopening throughout the day.