by Jeremy Zilar
An integral part of the city of Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan shapes the composition of the city’s economy, population and cultural awareness. One of every three adults in the city are employed by the university; it’s worldwide reputation draws esteemed professors from all parts of the world; and the university hosts a wide range of cultural events promoting local and visiting artists, musicians, writers, and celebrities.
Hill Auditorium houses many cultural events throughout the year. The University Musical Society is considered to be one of the five top presenters of performing arts in the country. Annually, the society presents more than 50 performances featuring artists such as Yo Yo Ma, Jessye Norman, New York City Opera, Emerson String Quartet, and Sweet Honey in the Rock, to name a few. The School of Music, Theatre and Drama also offers many free concerts by orchestras, choirs, bands and chamber ensembles. Fully staged productions of opera, drama, musical theater, and dance are presented each fall and winter term.
Home to one of college football’s most recognized sporting facilities, Michigan Stadium, or The Big House, has come to symbolize the pride, tradition and excellence of the home of the Wolverines. When it comes to Big 10 rivalries, loyalties to U of M are fierce and passionate. There truly is no place like The Big House on a fall Saturday afternoon.
Since its inaugural season in 1927, the stadium has welcomed more than 35 million fans through its gates and more than 170 consecutive crowds of 100,000 plus. Many changes and renovations continuously improve the quality of the facility, while increasing its capacity to its present 107,501. In fact, its most recent project began at the end of the 2007 football season with plans for completion in August 2010. Improvements include elevated concourses with additional restrooms and concessions along both sidelines, a new press box, elevator and stairway access to bring patrons to the new concourses and premium seating areas, and much, much more. When completed, the project will increase seating to more than 108,000.
An oasis of nature, the University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nicolas Arboretum are caretakers of the university’s natural heritage. The garden’s displays, natural areas, conservatory, trails and significant buildings invite visitors’ exploration – and provide students with some of the University’s best study spots.
One of the first outdoor gardens developed on the site, the Perennial Garden showcases color-coordinated waves of bloom from regional plants. A favorite site for weddings, the perennial gardens demonstrate an exuberant display, spring through fall. The Conservatory at Matthaei Botanical Gardens features the sights and smells of plants from all over the world. An exceptionally rare structure, the Conservatory is believed to be the largest free-span conservatory of its structural style. It represents a technological limit of architectural materials and climatic controls in a pre-computer era.
The Nichols Arboretum has an extensive but dispersed collection of native and exotic trees and shrubs masterfully crafted into a naturalistic landscape begun in 1907. The Arb presents one of the richest landscapes in the region, as well as a complex glacial topography that presents vast panoramas, broad valleys, and intimate dales and glens.
The museums and galleries of the University of Michigan inform and entertain visitors on a variety of topics. The Detroit Observatory appears essentially as it was in 1854 and the original astronomical instruments remain intact and operational. The dome is turned manually by pulling a continuous rope. Completely restored in 1998, the observatory is a cultural treasure waiting to be explored and is open for tours on select dates.
The Exhibit Museum of Natural History showcases the natural sciences and anthropology. Permanent exhibits include the most extensive prehistoric life collection in the State of Michigan, rare specimens in the Michigan Wildlife Gallery, and more than 700 rock and mineral specimens in the Geology section. Planetarium shows are offered on weekly on seasonal star talks and astronomy-related topics.
In June 2006, restoration on the University of Michigan Museum of Art’s historic Alumni Memorial Hall began. The $ 41.9 million project will more than double the museum’s space and enable it to accommodate temporary exhibitions, concerts, classes, and more. Through 2008 the museum will operate a temporary exhibition space immediately adjacent to the university’s central campus. The museum’s collections cover the continents of Africa, America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and more.
The University of Michigan also offers collections in anthropology, paleontology, zoology, and even a 2,500-piece showcase of historical and contemporary musical instruments from all over the world.
When published in 1971, Principles of Paleontology (POP) by David Raup and Steven Stanley revolutionized both textbooks and teachi…
Designed for beginners and experienced collectors alike, these field guides make identification of individual specimens sure, simp…
The forbidding Big Badlands in Western South Dakota contain the richest fossil beds in the world. Even today these rocks continue …
“Endlessly absorbing and informative. It would be hard to imagine a better introduction to this most important and fascinating fie…
Details on a Major New Discovery included in a New AfterwordWhy do we look the way we do? Neil Shubin, the paleontologist and pro…
* Hear about one of the most bizarre dinosaurs ever uncovered from its discoverer, acclaimed paleontologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Paul Sereno.