Detroit high school museum on wheels needs help, memorabilia

Oct 8, 2015 at 4:02 pm

This year, a group is trying to create a museum to Detroit's classic high schools.

If that sounds weird, consider the way charter schools, open enrollment, and emergency managers have altered the education landscape in Detroit. In the old days, high schools were an expression of a neighborhood's identity. If Detroit didn't have names for every neighborhood, and residents described where they lived with an intersection of roads, high schools were a handy way to tell where somebody was from, east side or west side, fancy or working-class. 

That's changed over the last 10 years. Detroit Public Schools has gone from having more than 30 public high school facilities to fewer than nine that survive from the "classic era."

So a group led by organizer Michael Williams, "The Museum for High School Preservation," hopes to exhibit the history of Detroit's classic high schools for all to see. Williams had hoped to purchase an actual old high school, but after frustrating negotiations with Detroit proved fruitless, he's decided to take his show on the road, purchasing a number of buses to arrive at special reunion events and other high school-themed gatherings. He's seeking any historic gear, including lockers, yearbooks, senior pins, graduation caps, bricks, desks, lockers, signs from former school buildings, as well as financial contributions. 

Williams hopes to have the first mobile unit running by Nov. 15, the second by March 2016.

Anyone wanting to help preserve the legacy of the Detroit Public School System should contact Michael or Phyllis at 313-874-4787, or see