Detroit: Preservation & Perseverance in the Motor City

Detroit: Preservation & Perseverance in the Motor City



Enjoy the treasure trove of stunning historic homes, grand Art Deco skyscrapers, and mid-century masterpieces that still define the cityscape. This unique travel program, designed specially for the National Trust, focuses on preservation efforts and highlights the innovative works of great architects and designers like Frank Lloyd Wright, Eliel Saarinen, Daniel Burnham, Cass Gilbert, Philip Johnson, Albert Kahn, Minoru Yamasaki, and Mies van der Rohe.

Pricing from
Trip Type
Closer to Home, Group Travel Tour
Departure Dates
Sep 12, 2022 - Sep 16, 2022


DoubleTree Suites – Downtown–Fort Shelby
A member of Historic Hotels of America, the DoubleTree Suites Downtown–Fort Shelby is housed in a historic building built in two phases: a 10-story hotel opened in 1916 designed by Chicago architects Schmidt, Garden, and Martin; and a 21-story tower opened in 1927 designed by renowned Detroit architect Albert Kahn. The property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, restored in 2007, and reopened as the DoubleTree Suites in 2008. With a central location in downtown, and with each guestroom boasting over 650 square feet of space, the DoubleTree Suites is an ideal home base for our tour.


  • Tanya Stephens

    Tanya Stephens

    Tanya J. Stephens is a cultural preservationist, independent curator, and art & design historian whose professional career spans over 20 years working in the intersection of art, design, cultural heritage, history and land preservation.
    Her recent Detroit-based work represents a range of place-based initiatives from public art to cultural landmarks in Detroit’s historic districts and public spaces. Recent projects include; Historic Sugar Hill Arts District in Midtown, Northend/Milwaukee Junction, Historic Fort Wayne, Historic Eastern Market District, Belle Isle, Historic Grandmont-Rosedale, and DTE’s Beacon Park. She is a City of Detroit Motor City Match Award Recipient and Knight Foundation Arts Challenge winner for her recent projects.


Cancellations & Refunds:
Cancellation by participant must be made in writing to ISDI and is effective only upon acknowledged receipt by ISDI. There is a non-refundable registration and planning fee of $500 per person regardless of cancellation date. Written cancellation received by ISDI on or before June 3, 2022: full refund minus $500 per person registration and planning fee. Written cancellation received by ISDI between June 4 and July 29, 2022: full refund minus $1,700 per person cancellation fee (includes registration and planning fee). Written cancellation received by ISDI on or after July 30, 2022: no refund. Tour registration is non-transferable. In the case of cancellation, substitutions are not allowed. After the tour has commenced, no refunds will be issued for any reason including, but not limited to, unused portions of tour.
If the tour is cancelled by ISDI or National Trust Tours due to low enrollment, active registrants will receive a full refund of all tour payments.


  • day 1

    Welcome to Historic Detroit

    Upon arrival in Detroit, transfer independently to the DoubleTree Suites Downtown–Fort Shelby, a member of the National Trust’s Historic Hotels of America program. In the late afternoon, join fellow travelers and our local expert for a guided tour of some of downtown Detroit’s architectural gems. Enter the magnificent Guardian Building, one of the nation’s most extravagant Art Deco skyscrapers, for a glimpse of its stunning lobby adorned in imported marble. Continue to the Detroit Opera House, designed by the distinguished Detroit architect Howard Crane, for a backstage tour highlighting the building’s history and restoration. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at a historic downtown restaurant. (D)

  • day 2

    Art & Preservation in the City

    Begin today at the Detroit Institute of Arts, housed in a 1927 Beaux-Arts building, and view highlights of the renowned collection including the massive Detroit Industry murals by Mexican artist Diego Rivera. Then spend the day with staff members of Preservation Detroit, the city’s oldest and largest preservation organization, who will provide a unique look at the intensive efforts to save and restore Detroit’s irreplaceable landmarks. Following lunch with our Preservation Detroit hosts, set out on a driving tour of the city to see some of their success stories including Albert Kahn’s Fisher Building, Gilded Age mansions of the Brush Park neighborhood, and the recently restored Belle Isle Aquarium. (B,L)

  • day 3

    Cranbrook & Historic Homes

    Celebrated as the “cradle of mid-century modernism in America,” Cranbrook’s world-renowned campus is a treasure trove of history, architecture, craftsmanship, and design. Tour Cranbrook’s expansive campus and see masterworks by architects such as Albert Kahn, Rafael Moneo, Billie Tsien, and Tod Williams and make special visits to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Smith House and the Art Deco home and studio of Finnish American designer Eliel Saarinen. Following lunch, be invited into a restored private historic home, opened exclusively for the National Trust. Meet with the owners who will discuss the house’s conceptual design and the renovations that were necessary to keep the structure functioning and intact. (B,L)

  • day 4

    In the Footsteps of the Fords

    This morning, visit the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, the birthplace of the Ford Model T and one of the most significant automotive heritage sites in the world. See Henry Ford’s office as it was in 1908 and the plant floor where his team of automotive pioneers assembled the first Model Ts. Then drive outside of the city to the shores of Lake St. Clair to visit the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, designed by Albert Kahn in 1926. our the historic estate’s magnificent interiors and manicured gardens and learn about the multiple large scale restoration projects that have been undertaken over the years. Return to downtown Detroit for an independent afternoon before rejoining fellow travelers for a gourmet farewell dinner at one of the city’s top restaurants. (B,D)

  • day 5

    Departures via Henry Ford’s Estate

    Check out of the hotel and take a group transfer to the Detroit airport, stopping en route to see the grounds of Clara and Henry Ford’s estate, Fair Lane, where the 31,000 square foot, 56-room house is currently being restored by a team of artisans, conservators, historians, and craftspeople. Time permitting, also visit the nearby Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. Continue to the airport for independent return flights home. (B)

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