Father, son both featured in Detroit museum exhibits

DETROIT – A Detroit father and son are celebrating being part of exhibits at the Detroit Historical Museum, at the same time. It’s the first time in the museum’s history.

When you visit the Detroit Historical Museum, you don’t just learn about what happened here in the past, but what families are doing right now, to make a difference.

“. . . and that’s what Mr. E and Eleazar are doing, they’re making history right now,” said Rebecca Salmien Witt, chief strategy, and marketing officer at Detroit Historical Society.

The society spotlights Black entrepreneurs in their exhibit, The Hustle. Mr. E, also known as Emmanuel Smith, is featured for his Emmy award-winning children’s show, “Mr. E Show”.

“My show is basically like vintage PBS; “Mr. Rogers”, “Mr. Dress Up”, “Sesame Street with innovation and feel of Detroit,” said Smith.

On the same floor of the museum as the Hustle is the 826 Michigan’s Stories in Stereo pop-up exhibit that features stories written by fifth graders at University Preparatory Academy in Detroit.

“As we were kind of talking through the stories that were involved in that exhibit, we realized Mr. E’s son, Eleazar is one of the featured students,” said Salmien Witt.

“My story was about family so mostly about family it was about when my little cousin from Chicago to spend time with us,” 10-year-old Eleazar-Yisrael Smith said.

His father said, “He played it real lowkey. He’s like daddy, ‘We’re going on a field trip to the museum.’ And I’m like ‘Oh that’s sweet!’ and he’s like, “Oh yea, we’re going to be in the museum!’ And I’m like, ‘What are you talking about? Bro I’m in the museum too!’”

That is history itself.

“In 100-year-history of the Detroit Historical Society, the first time we’ve had a parent and child featured in exhibitions in the museum at the same time, it’s really a special moment,” Salmien Witt said.

Like most fifth graders Eleazar-Yisrael Smith thinks being in a museum is pretty cool.

“Most the time they make exhibits about people when they usually pass away so it’s pretty special,” the 10-year-old said.

He hasn’t quite fathomed what this means to his father.

“One message that it sends is that there are great things that families are doing in the city just look around,” said Emmanuel Smith. “This place is always going to be stapled as a part of our family.”

The Stories in Stereo pop up exhibit is open until March 17 and The Hustle exhibit is open until March 31st.

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