Cranbrook and the Car, Part 1: The Aristocrat of Small Cars

In its 100-year history, Cranbrook has been known for producing artists, designers, scholars, athletes, and leaders.  But cars?  An upcoming exhibition mounted by the Center for Collections and Research (that’s us!) at the Cranbrook Art Museum will explore the relationship between Cranbrook and the automobile industry. Called A Driving Force: Cranbrook and the Car, it will highlight the history of Cranbrook through the lens of the automobile, detailing the ways that members of Cranbrook’s community have innovated and influenced the auto industry for the past 100 years.  You can learn more about the exhibition at Cranbrook Art Museum’s website here.

As we prepare to open A Driving Force: Cranbrook and the Car on June 12, we’ll be writing up occasional posts about the exhibition, highlighting bits and pieces of our research and providing glimpses into the down-and-dirty world of museum exhibiting.   And we’re going to kick it all off with the story of James Scripps Booth and the Scripps-Booth Company.

James Scripps Booth (behind the wheel) with brother Warren Scripps Booth in a Scripps-Booth 4-cylinder Model C at Tower Garage at Cranbrook House. Their father George Gough Booth stands next to the car, partially hidden by the windshield.  Circa 1917, Cranbrook Archives.

James Scripps Booth (behind the wheel) with brother Warren Scripps Booth in a Scripps-Booth 4-cylinder Model C at Tower Garage at Cranbrook House. Their father George Gough Booth stands next to the car, partially hidden by the windshield. Circa 1917, Cranbrook Archives.

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Photo Friday: Keith Haring, Elementary School Art Teacher

Photo Friday: Keith Haring, Elementary School Art Teacher

During a visit to the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1987, the legendary artist and social activist Keith Haring took a break to get back to basics and teach Brookside 5th graders a bit about art. September, 1987. Cranbrook Archives.

Photo Friday: Cranbrook Hockey, Football-style

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Cranbrook School hockey practice on the football oval, 1928. Cranbrook Archives.

Hockey at Cranbrook has a long tradition, but it didn’t always have a home.  In 1928, the Cranbrook School hockey team found itself with two out of the three elements necessary for a successful game.  Eager players, check.  Required equipment, check (minus helmets, apparently).  Ice rink?  Not so much.  Always resourceful, however, the team made do, holding practices on the iced-over Cranbrook football field.  Things have changed since then; now the team plays at Wallace Arena, and they tend to wear helmets as well.

Welcome to the Kitchen Sink!

A Home Economics classroom from Kingswood School, 1932.  Ironically, there's no kitchen sink in sight.

Home Economics classroom at Kingswood School, 1932. Cranbrook Archives.

Welcome to the Cranbrook Kitchen Sink!  This is our very first post, so please bear with us as we explain what we’re doing here and get all excited.  If we had glitter, we’d be throwing it right now.

The Cranbrook Kitchen Sink is an exciting new undertaking for the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.  And what is the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, you might ask?  Well, we’re essentially a department of archivists and historians who focus on all things Cranbrook.  We’re charged with interpreting the history of this unique educational community, from its founding in 1908 as a country estate for George and Ellen Booth to its current incarnation as a 319-acre campus that includes a prestigious private school, a science museum, a graduate art academy and an art museum.  Also three historic houses, legendary gardens, architecture with National Historic Landmark status, a world-class art collection, and an archive so in-depth you could get lost in it for days…. you get the idea.  This is a big place with a lot of history, and we’re here to cover it all.

So what will you find at the Cranbrook Kitchen Sink?  Well, everything but the!  We want the Kitchen Sink to be a place where Cranbrook Center and Archives staff can post about their research, report back on cool and interesting documents or stories we’ve uncovered, and get just a sliver of the amazing material that makes up Cranbrook’s 100+ year history out into the wider world.  We’re here to tell you the stories you  haven’t heard about this strange, incredible place called Cranbrook.  So sit back, relax, and enjoy all things Cranbrook!

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