Center lectures bring to campus engaging speakers whose topics illuminate Cranbrook's history and enduring legacy.



Tuesday, September 22, 2020 |  10am & 7pm
Virtual Lecture

This lecture will trace Wright’s career as a collector of Japanese art, as an architect working in Tokyo, and the lifelong impact of Japanese architecture and gardens on Wright’s designs for American homes.



Virtual Lecture

This lecture will introduce the pedagogy and designs of the Bauhaus, and compare the German institution with our own Academy of Art. How were they similar? How were they different? How are the legacies of each intertwined, and where do they diverge? Join us for this special Uncovering Cranbrook lecture where we will attempt to answer: Is Cranbrook an American Bauhaus?

Studio Loja Saarinen: The Art and Architecture of Weaving

Virtual Lecture

Join Kevin Adkisson in this 50-minute survey of the weaving enterprise led by Loja Saarinen—Studio Loja Saarinen. Staffed by a team of Swedish immigrant weavers, the Studio produced rugs, curtains, and fabrics for use at Cranbrook and around the country. The lecture will review the Studio’s inception and operation, study the textile designs for Kingswood School for Girls, completed in the early 1930s, and focus on how Loja’s textiles were central to the vision of her husband, architect Eliel Saarinen.


Brendan Cormier, Senior Design Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, discussed the exhibition he co-curated, “Cars,” with Center Director Greg Wittkopp in this virtual lecture. Cormier presents the car as a force for change and symbol of social, political, personal, and economic transformation. 


Join curator Kevin Adkisson for this five-part lecture series surveying the history of American architecture through the lens of Cranbrook’s distinct and impressive architectural history. Each seventy-five minute talk moves between the story of Cranbrook’s creation and the history of modern architecture. 

past Lectures

BAUDER LECTURE | Cars: Accelerating the Modern World

Sunday, June 28, 2020 | 3:00pm
Free Virtual Lecture and Conversation with Brendan Cormier
Senior Design Curator, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England

History of American Architecture: Cranbrook in Context

Monday Evenings, January 27, 2020 - February 24, 2019 | 6:30pm

Join Kevin Adkisson for this five-week lecture series surveying the history of American architecture through the lens of Cranbrook’s distinct and impressive architectural history.

Where Today Meets Tomorrow: Eero Saarinen and the General Motors Technical Center

Sunday, November 10, 2019 | 3:00pm
Lecture, Conversation, and Book Signing with Author Susan Skarsgard
Lecture Only: $10 for adults and seniors, $5 for students
Book & Lecture: $70 for adults and seniors, $65 for students

Cranbrook's Japanese Garden: A Vision for the Future

クランブルック日本庭園: 未来のビジョン
Sunday, October 13, 2019 | 3:00pm

Free Lecture, Reception, and Japanese Garden Tours
Master Plan Summary by Sadafumi Uchiyama, Garden Curator, Portland Japanese Garden

BAUDER LECTURE | Conservation Matters: The Work of the Getty Conservation Institute

Sunday, May 5, 2019 | 3:00pm
Free Lecture and Conversation with Tim Whalen
John E. and Louise Bryson Director, Getty Conservation Institute

History of American Architecture: Building Types

Monday Evenings, January 28, 2019 - March 4, 2019 | 6:30pm

Join the Cranbrook for Collections and Research Collections Fellow Kevin Adkisson for this six-week lecture series surveying the history of six building typologies in American architecture. By examining the intersection of design with social, political, and economic forces, this series will introduce ways of seeing and understanding our built environment.

Open Archives

Sunday, September 16, 2018 | 1:00pm - 5:00pm (with short talks at 3:00pm)

Join us for an afternoon of behind-the-scenes tours of the new Archives Reading Room, mini lectures, and a chance to view our collections up-close and personal.

Japanese Tea Gardens and Tea Houses: From Japan to Frank Lloyd Wright and Today

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Celebrate the history of Japanese tea culture, the ongoing revitalization of Cranbrook's Japanese Garden and the connection between Frank Lloyd Wright, the Smiths, and Japan.

Japanese Garden Lecture Series

Tuesday, May 1, 2018 | 7:00pm
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 | 7:00pm
Thursday, May 17, 2018 | 7:00pm
Tuesday, May 22, 2018 | 7:00pm

This lecture series will feature a presentation of the 2018 Historic Landscape Study of Cranbrook’s Japanese Garden as well as an opportunity to hear from three of the most respected Japanese garden designers working in North America.

The Voices of Cranbrook: History Speaks for Itself

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 | 6:30 pm

Join the Center's Head Archivist for an evening of insight, surprise, and laughter. Hear the voices of some of the people who helped shape Cranbrook, especially during the second half of the twentieth century.

Unpacking Frank Lloyd Wright's Archive and Career

Second Annual Center Bauder Lecture | Sunday, April 8, 2018 | 3:00 pm

Enjoy a free lecture and conversation with architectural historican and curator Barry Bergdoll. The lecture will be followed by a reception and book signing in Page Hall Common Room. 

"Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy" Book Launch and Talk

Saturday, March 10, 2018 | 3:00pm

Celebrate the official book launch of Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy at this free lecture and conversation with the author Brian Conway and photographer James Haefner, followed by a reception and book signing. 

History of American Architecture Lecture Series

Monday Evenings, January 29 - March 5, 2018 | 6:30pm

Join the Cranbrook for Collections and Research Collections Fellow Kevin Adkisson in this six-week lecture series on the history of American architecture. Using Cranbrook and Detroit as a microcosm of larger developments in American architecture, this series will introduce ways of seeing and understanding the built environment.

"Ellen Browning Scripps: New Money and American Philanthropy" Book Talk

Sunday, November 12, 2017

In her talk at Cranbrook House, Molly McClain will bring to life an extraordinary woman, Ellen Browning Scripps, who played a vital role in the history of women, California, the American West -- and the story of the Scripps and Booth families in Michigan.

The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter

Inaugural Bauder Lecture

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Best-selling author and journalist David Sax lectured about his book, The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter, which examines the demand for tangible media and handmade objects in the wake of the digital revolution.

Banner photo by P.D. Rearick, CAA '10