Every third Thursday, from July 2023 through June 2024, visitors can receive free admission to Cranbrook Art Museum from 11am–8pm AND Cranbrook Institute of Science from 5–8pm. Cranbrook Art Museum remains free on all remaining Thursdays of each month. Visitors are requested to register in advance to visit Cranbrook Institute of Science via their website. Walk-ins are welcome, but entrance is not guaranteed due to capacity limits.

At Cranbrook Art Museum 4:30pm to 7:30pm:

Join us in celebrating the winter solstice with music and making! This celebration will be a modern twist on the traditional Scandinavian practices of celebrating the longest night of the year including performances by En Gång Till an Ann Arbor-based ensemble playing traditional and contemporary Swedish compositions. En Gång Till is a group of musicians from Southeast Michigan who share a love of Scandinavian folk music.  The name refers to what Swedish musicians say to each other when wanting to play a tune “one more time.”  The members of the band play a variety of instruments ranging from the traditional fiddle and nyckelharpa (Swedish keyed fiddle) to more modern additions such as accordion, guitar, and pennywhistle.  The ensemble has played a number of times at the Ypsi Alehouse and for the Swedish Club of Detroit.  The group is led by Bruce Sagan and more information about Bruce and his bands can be found at https://www.brucesagan.com/.

Participants will create their own lantern or wreath crown to light up the night for a procession between festivities at Cranbrook Art Museum and Cranbrook Institute of Science, creating a light-filled path on their way! 

Art-making activities are free and open to the public. Refreshments including hot chocolate, mulled wine and traditional Scandinavian treats will be available for purchase


At Cranbrook Institute of Science 5 to 8pm:

December’s Free Third Thursday falls on the Winter Solstice, the longest and darkest night of the year. December 21 marks the official beginning of Winter yet, traditionally, this was a time of celebration and renewal – marking a gradual but steady return of the light.

Table Activities:

Why are nights longer in winter, and why is it so cold? Guests will experiment with globes, flashlights and thermometers to understand the reasons for the seasons.

Savor the darkness by stargazing! Explore the stars behind familiar constellations, make a tracing and hear an unexpected Native American star story.

Make a led-powered paper lantern to guide you on your journey to the Winter Solstice celebrations at the Cranbrook Art Museum!


Free Third Thursdays is a program sponsored by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.