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MBAD African Bead Museum celebrates new exhibit space following renovation

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Upcoming phases call for additional galleries and housing for visiting artists

Courtesy Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects

Located in a cluster of former townhouses adorned with mosaics of colorful glass and mirrors, Detroit’s MBAD African Bead Museum is one of the city’s most eye-catching and unusual cultural institutions. And, thanks to a recently completed renovation, the Northwest Goldberg attraction has a bright future ahead.

Despite the museum’s popularity, the facility needed some work: ceilings leaked and the building at the corner of Grand River and West Grand Boulevard saw its roof completely collapse. But as a result of $100,000 in fundraising, the future looks bright for the Northwest Goldberg attraction.

Phase one of the project, overseen by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA), completed urgent repairs and stabilized the buildings. It also converted an old storage room into a new 600-square-foot gallery and community gathering area and added new windows, mechanical systems, and a much-needed public restroom facility.

“For the first time in 17 years, we will have a space where we can engage the community through storytelling programs and make the museum available to the people who need a gathering space,” said Olayami Dabls, the museum’s founder and owner in a release. “This adds a whole new dimension to our plans for the future.”

LOHA also unveiled a masterplan for future phases which would renovate all of the site’s buildings, create a new entryway and central gallery, and add residences for visiting artists. Those improvements are dependent on additional fundraising efforts which are already underway, according to the museum.

A grand opening celebration for the African Bead Museum’s new space is scheduled for Saturday, June 22, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The free event is open to the public and will feature a musical performance by Detroit-based musician Efe Bes and exhibitions by Detroit-based artists.

Future phases include a new entryway, administration office, and accommodations for visiting artists.
Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects
Under the plan, the stabilized walls of the partially collapsed corner building will house a new sculpture garden.
Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects