behind-the-scenes tours

At Home with the Smiths

Wednesday, September 6, 2023
Thursday, September 7, 2023
Friday, September 8, 2023

$40 per person

Step back in time to the groovy 1970s for an enchanting evening at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Smith House. Experience the house as the Smiths and Wright intended, alive with the sights, sounds, and scents of a festive evening gathering. The event promises to be a nostalgic journey through the art and lives of Melvyn and Sara Smith, the dedicated Detroit public school teachers who created this remarkable home.

The Treasures of Brookside

Sunday, March 12, 2023
11:00am – 12:15pm SOLD OUT
11:45am – 1:00pm SOLD OUT
1:15 – 2:30pm SOLD OUT
2:00 – 3:15pm SOLD OUT
2:45 – 4:00pm SOLD OUT
3:30 – 4:45pm SOLD OUT
4:15 – 5:30pm SOLD OUT

$40 per person

Come along as we open the doors to historic Brookside School Cranbrook for special art and architecture tours! Originally a school for the Booths’ grandchildren—and rarely opened for public tours—the campus is now the home of Cranbrook Schools’ Brookside Lower School and Vlasic Early Childhood Center. Led by the Center’s curators, the tours will explore the picturesque architecture of the complex, Brookside’s collection of custom furnishings, and its unique works of art. 

Kingswood School and Weaving Showcase

Sunday, October 30, 2022
11:00am – 12:15pm SOLD OUT
11:30am – 12:45pm SOLD OUT
1:00pm – 2:15pm SOLD OUT
1:30pm – 2:45pm SOLD OUT
2:00pm – 3:15pm SOLD OUT
2:30pm – 3:45pm SOLD OUT
3:00pm – 4:15pm SOLD OUT

$35 per person

Come along as we open the doors to historic Kingswood, part of Cranbrook’s esteemed preparatory school, for special art and architecture tours! Inspired by the reweaving of historic Studio Loja Saarinen textiles for Saarinen House on the original Cranbrook Looms, these tours will take you through the magnificent Kingswood School building and conclude with a conversation and demonstration with weaver Paula Stebbins Becker (CAA '93). 

The Treasures of Thornlea House

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Thursday, December 2, 2021
Friday, December 3, 2021

$40 per person

Come along as we open the doors to one of Cranbrook’s hidden treasures, Thornlea. The home of Henry Scripps Booth (son of Cranbrook’s co-founders) and Carolyn Farr Booth for more than sixty years, Thornlea is full of architectural charm and artistic inspiration.

Your tour will explore the architecture of the home, examine its collection of fine and decorative arts, and reveal stories and photographs from the Booth family’s long life in the home. Used for a variety of purposes today, and rarely opened for public tours, the house will be specially staged for this event.

The Bricks of Cranbrook: Humble Material, Monumental Design

Monday, October 25, 2021
Join the Center for our latest Uncovering Cranbrook lecture, this month focusing on the wonders of Cranbrook’s brick buildings! 

Docomomo Tour Day 2020: "the ‘70s Turn 50"


Sunday, October 18th, 2020 | 4:00pm - 5:15pm EDT

Cranbrook Virtual Behind-the-Scenes Program

$25 per viewer

Join the Michigan Chapter of Docomomo US and Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research as they partner with Docomomo US for Tour Day 2020. This year's national theme, which will be explored throughout the month of October by chapters across the nation, is the '70s Turn 50

Zoltan Sepeshy’s "Hauling in the Net" WPA-Era Mural: History and Conservation

Sunday, August 9, 2020 | 3:00 – 4:30pm EDT

Join Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research for a virtual adventure as we go behind the scenes to the conservation studio of Kenneth Katz in Detroit, and the Mormon Print Shop Museum on Beaver Island. Presented in collaboration with the Beaver Island Historical Society, the program highlights the freshly conserved WPA-era mural, Hauling in the Net, by Cranbrook artist Zoltan Sepeshy. Painted in 1940 for the Lincoln Park Post Office, the mural found its way to Beaver Island in 1967 where it remained until last summer, traveling back to Southeast Michigan for a meticulous conservation treatment.

The Trees and Wood of Cranbrook: Nature, Craft, and Design

Saturday, October 26, 2019
$75 Admission for Adults, Seniors, and Students
Join us on this behind-the-scenes tour to explore Cranbrook’s trees, learn how timber is processed and crafted into exquisite furniture, and study wood’s diverse use in the interiors and architecture on campus.

Back to Cranbrook School for Boys with Dr. Jeffrey Welch

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Join us for this special, intimate look at the historic Cranbrook School for Boys campus with retired Professor of English Dr. Jeffrey Welch. This tour will study and interpret the works of art commissioned, purchased, and placed within the school’s courtyards and buildings by Cranbrook founder George Booth and his architect, Eliel Saarinen. 

Saarinen House: Presidents/Residents, 1946-1994

Thursday, October 18, 2018
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Saturday, October 27, 2018

In celebration of Saarinen House: Presidents/Residents, 1946—1994, this behind-the-scenes tour will delve into the exhibition and visit some of the places impacted by past presidents of Cranbrook Academy of Art—Zoltan Sepeshy, Glen Paulsen, Wallace Mitchell, and Roy Slade. Visit their home (Saarinen House, the former Academy president’s residence), explore their studio spaces and buildings they designed or added to campus, and view rarely seen drawings and works of art they produced. 


Header photo by Colton Graub, 2012. Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, Bloomfield Hills.