Meadow Brook Hall, the National Historic Landmark located on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester, today announced it will transform the guest experience with the construction of a new Visitor Center. The planned facility will provide modern amenities and versatile spaces for the estate to expand and enhance its vibrant collection of tours, events, educational programs and community experiences.
“It is difficult to overstate how impactful the new Visitor Center will be for the future of Meadow Brook Hall,” said Meadow Brook Hall Executive Director Bill Matt. “This project will energize our efforts and establish Meadow Brook’s future as a premier destination for families, couples and people of all ages. This effort is many years in the making and we are grateful for the enthusiastic support of our community, donors and Oakland University leadership. We are thrilled to launch this next phase of Meadow Brook.”
Built in 1929, Meadow Brook Hall is the historic home of Oakland University founders Alfred and Matilda Dodge Wilson and the fourth largest historic home in the nation. In 2021, Meadow Brook celebrated its 50th year as an historic house museum, cultural center and events and wedding venue. Known particularly for its engaging tours and community events, such as the beloved annual Holiday Walk, the estate has continued to evolve—most recently with last year’s launch of its dazzling new outdoor light show, Winter Wonder Lights.
The $2.7 million dollar Visitor Center project has been thoughtfully designed to expand behind the Family Garages, a plan that will maintain the historic integrity of the estate buildings while creating modern and functional spaces—and redefine the visitor experience for everyone who walks through the gates. It will also establish a new formal entrance to the estate, rerouting the entrance to provide a magnificent first look at the historic home, which stands at a grand 88,000 square feet.
Meadow Brook’s new Visitor Center will feature a Welcome Gateway to greet guests, an Open-Air Plaza and Patio for gathering, helpful services and amenities, Orientation Gallery to tell engaging stories, Learning Center to increase educational programs, interactive exhibition and gallery space, a Multimedia Theatre and more.
HopkinsBurns Design Studio, the Ann Arbor-based architecture firm who specializes in historic preservation for properties such as the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, have been selected to design the Visitor Center. Construction will be managed by Rochester, Mich.-based Frank Rewold & Sons who has a special connection to the estate. Owner Frank Rewold, Jr. is the grandson of the company’s founder Frank Rewold, who was Matilda Dodge Wilson’s personal handyman and built and repaired many of the structures at Meadow Brook and Oakland University.
A philanthropic campaign is now underway and has already raised a quarter of the overall fundraising goal of $2 million. Several named giving opportunities are still available.
A groundbreaking event for the new Visitor Center will be held at the start of construction in 2023. For more information, visit meadowbrookhall.org/visitorcenter.
Meadow Brook Hall is fully self-supporting, relying on touring, special events and facility rental revenue for the preservation and interpretation of this National Historic Landmark. For more information, call (248) 364-6200 or visit meadowbrookhall.org.
Meadow Brook Hall is the historic home built by one of the automotive aristocracy’s most remarkable women, Matilda Dodge Wilson, widow of auto pioneer John Dodge, and her second husband, Alfred Wilson. Constructed between 1926 and 1929, Meadow Brook Hall represents one of the finest examples of Tudor-revival style architecture in America, and is especially renowned for its superb craftsmanship, architectural detailing and grand scale of 88,000 square-feet. It was the center of a country estate that included 1,500 acres, numerous farm buildings, recreational facilities, several residences and formal gardens. Named a National Historic Landmark in 2012, Meadow Brook Hall strives to preserve and interpret its architecture, landscape, and fine and decorative art so that visitors may be entertained, educated and inspired by history. Meadow Brook Hall is located in Rochester, Mich. on the campus of Oakland University.