Meadow Brook Hall, the National Historic Landmark located on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester Hills, today announced it will build a new $2.7-million visitor center behind the manor.
The planned facility will provide modern amenities and versatile spaces for the estate to expand and enhance its 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,” says Bill Matt, executive director of Meadow Brook Hall.
“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 and event center, and wedding venue.
Known particularly for its tours and community events, such as the annual Holiday Walk, the estate has continued to evolve, most recently with last year’s launch of a new outdoor light show, Winter Wonder Lights.
The $2.7 million dollar project has been 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 redefining the visitor experience.
It also will establish a new formal entrance to the estate, rerouting the entrance to provide a first look at the historic home, which spans 88,000 square feet.
Meadow Brook’s Visitor Center will feature a welcome gateway to greet guests, an open-air plaza and patio for gathering, helpful services and amenities, an orientation gallery to tell engaging stories, a 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 that specializes in historic preservation for properties such as the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, has been selected to design the visitor center.
Construction is projected to start next year and will be managed by Rochester-based Frank Rewold & Sons, which 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. An opening date for the new center has not been determined.