Antique and classic car museums are a popular pastime among people in the United States. Throughout the years, the automobile industry has changed designs and the materials used to make these vehicles. As a result, people like to visit these museums and witness history in person. If you have a desire to see how the automotive industry has changed over the years, get in your car and make a museum road trip.
The Petersen Automotive Museum
One of the most memorable museum experiences in the country belongs to the Petersen Automotive Museum in Las Angeles, California. The museum is home to over 100 priceless cars that are spread across 25 galleries. Recently renovated, the building, located at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard at Fairfax Avenue, is encased in stainless-steel ribbons over Pantone 187 C. The Petersen Automotive Museum calls this “Hot Rod Red” which is a red that is compared to the famous undersides of Louboutin’s stilettos.
At this time, Petersen is not open to the public. There has not been a date released for reopening, but they are offering daily live stream tours of the facility. You can sign up for these on their website.
America’s Car Museum
America’s Car Museum is home to the Lemay Collection, which once contained 3,000 vehicles. The museum is located at 2702 East D. Street in Tacoma, Washington, just south of Seattle. Some of the cars currently on display include a 1918 Liberty Cadillac 1257X, Duesenberg SJ, and a 1983 Mercury Colony Park. There is something for the entire family to do at America’s Car Museum. For a little extra, the family can enjoy slot races.
The museum is currently closed to the public at this time, and all major events have been canceled. To keep up to date on the museums reopening or virtual encounters, join their email list on their website.
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
When you want to take the family on an adventure that offers a little more than antique or classic cars, make your way to Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. Located at 6030 Barber Motorsports Parkway in Birmingham, Alabama, the family will see many different kinds of vintage cars and motorsports available. The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum offers over 216 manufacturers from 20 different countries represented here.
If you are looking to plan a trip, make sure to check out the museum’s Facebook page. Right now, the museum is not open to the public, but updates will be made available online as they become available.
Blackhawk Auto Museum
The Blackhawk Auto Museum can be found at 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle in Danville, California. The museum displays vehicles ranging from a 1911 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost to a 1958 Pininfarina-bodied Lancia Flaminia coupe, all the way to a 1970 Dodge Challenger convertible. The museum is a non-profit that is the home of around 90 classic cars.
Right now, the museum is currently closed to the public but is planning to reopen. If you have any questions or immediate concerns, the museum can be reached via email. They will be posting regular updates on their website and social media pages.
California Automobile Museum
The California Automobile Museum was initially founded as the Towe Ford Museum in the 1980s. It has since then spread out to include and embrace other marques. Inside, you will find Malcolm Forbes’s old Lamborghini Countach resides there, and so does the Kawasaki KZ1000P motorcycle that appeared in the TV show CHiPs. There are over 120 cars that span close to 120 years of history.
The museum is currently taking donations right now to stay in business. They are not able to be open at the moment and have not released a date for reopening.
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing
Opened in 1976, the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing is located at 13700 SW 16th Avenue in Ocala, Florida. With just under 300 cars inside of two buildings, a tour of the museum takes up to three hours. The museum is also home to the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
The drag racing building of Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing preserves the history of drag racing. Garlits was the first drag racer to pass the 170 to 270 mile per hour marks in the quarter-mile drag race. The museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily and is closed on Christmas and Thanksgiving.
The Henry Ford
When you hear the name Henry Ford, you automatically think of the Ford Model T. The Henry Ford Museum is situated next to the Ford Motor Company at 20900 Oakwood Boulevard in Dearborn, Michigan. Here you will find many historical sites, including the lab where Nikola Tesla worked.
The museum is currently closed through the end of June. There are multiple package deals available for purchase. These can be found on their website. Once reopened, activities will resume, including riding in a Ford Model T.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame
In the capital of the state of Indiana, you will find the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame. It is located at 4750 West 16th Street in Indianapolis, Indiana. The museum is situated inside the 2.5-mile historical oval track and is dedicated to automobiles and auto racing. For a small additional fee (under $10), you can take a lap around the Indianapolis Speedway, and it is narrated.
If you want to visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame, right now is not the best time. They are currently not open to the public due to CDC regulations. However, as soon as the green light is given, they will be speeding back to business.
Lane Motor Museum
Nashville, Tennessee, is home to a lot of different family activities, one of them being the Lane Motor Museum. The Lane Motor Museum is located at 702 Murfreesboro Pike and is home to one of the few museums in the United States that specializes in European cars. England’s answer to the Vespa-based Piaggio Ape called the Reliant Ant is on display, as is the propeller-powered 1932 Helicron.
Due to the Tennessee mayor’s “Safer at Home” order, the museum is currently closed to the public until the order is lifted. Once this happens, the cancelations will be rescheduled, and business will resume as normal for the public.
Larz Anderson Auto Museum
Larz Anderson and his wife Isabel bought their first collectible car, an 1899 Winton 4-hp Runabout, and this was how their collectible car journey began. By the time Anderson’s wife died in 1948, they had already acquired quite a collection. The carriage house where the vehicles are kept to this day is the home of the museum and located at 15 Newton Street in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Among the Winton, you will find a Radford bodied ’59 Rolls-Royce shooting brake and the “Polliwog,” which is the name of a 1924 Renault Torpedo. Even though the museum is not currently open, you can still learn more about the museum, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places on its website.
National Auto Museum
With over 200 cars on display, the National Auto Museum is one piece of historic Reno, Nevada. Located at 10 South Lake Street, the National Auto Museum is home to the infamous Bill Harrah car collection. The museum also has a gold-plated De Lorean on display. There is also a movie theatre available which shares artifacts from every era.
The museum is planning to open in early June, but it currently not open to the public. Once they open back up, they will have their exhibits as well as all of their family activities back in operation. They even offer banquet space options.
Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
Located at 6825 Norwitch Drive in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. Rated the museum with the best historical value, educational contribution, and educational contribution, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum is number one. The collection even contains the only Shelby Cobra Daytona coupe left in the world.
Due to CDC regulations at this time, the museum is not open. They are hoping to reopen soon, but in the meantime, the website is being continuously updated. If you want a peek at their collection, browse their gallery.
The Volo Museum has a little bit of anything for an auto enthusiast. The Volo Auto Museum offers auto sales, museum, and a Jurassic Gardens coming soon. The museum is located at 27582 Volo Village Road in Volo, Illinois. You can see older heavy equipment as well as a replica fiberglass Harrier jump-jet that was used in True Lies and The Avengers. They also have Zsa Zsa Gabor’s 1979 Rolls-Royce Corniche on display. They also have old jukeboxes on display.
The museum is open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is just 50 miles north of Chicago. It is an easy trip to make via the Metra train ride. Every year the museum draws 250,000 visitors per year.
Gilmore Car Museum
The Gilmore Car Museum can be found at 6865 Hickory Road in Hickory Corners, Michigan. Michigan is considered the car capital of the world, thanks to Henry Ford. There are approximately 400 vehicles at the Gilmore Car Museum. Topics of the exhibits range from the muscle car era to the creation of the 1929 Duesenberg J-111. There is also an exhibit on the hidden treasures found in the barn. The museum also has a fully restored 1930s gas station and a 100-year-old motorcycle collection.
The Gilmore Car Museum is temporarily closed during the stay at home orders issued in the state of Michigan. Once the order has been lifted, operations of the museum will return to normal. Per their website, they have not canceled or rescheduled any of their June or July events.
Newport Car Museum
If you are looking for a variety of classic cars, the Newport Car Museum has what you are looking for. Their exhibits range from Fords to Corvettes, and Shelbys to cars of the world. Nestled at 1947 West Main Road in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, the Newport Car Museum is the true Gem of the New England coast.
Right now, the museum is experiencing a temporary closure due to government regulations but is hoping to be open to serve the summer season. If you want to stay up to date on all the news for the Newport Car Museum, visit their social media page.
The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum
Special events and exhibits are held at The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, located at 1600 S. Wayne Street in Auburn, Indiana. Inside you will find exhibits covering various time periods, including John Dillinger, supercars of the Golden Age, and cars of the stars. The museum also holds special events all year long.
The museum is scheduled to open again in mid-June to the public. Here you will get to see the first Duesenberg passenger vehicle ever sold to the public that remained in the original family’s ownership for over 100 years.
National Corvette Museum
The National Corvette Museum is located at 350 Corvette Drive in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The entire museum is dedicated to the Chevrolet classic. The Corvette is still in production in the General Motors Corvette Assembly Plant that sits adjacent to the museum. Ongoing exhibits show the evolution of the Corvette as well as the story of the sinkhole that swallowed up eight of them in 2014.
The museum is opening to the public in early June. The Corvette Store and the Corvette Café are currently open to the public. If you want an inside look or fun activities for the kids, check out their website
Take an Auto Museum Road Trip
Taking the family to visit auto museums across the country can show them what car life was like before the Tesla or other exotic and luxury vehicles. Most of these museums offer family-oriented activities that the kids will enjoy. Taking a trip to visit these museums can be an inexpensive way to spend time with the family and get some extra learning during the summer months. A-1 Auto Transport is a proud supporter of auto museums and the rich heritage they give to society. If you need to find something fun to do, travel to your local car museum and soak up the history.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.