I'm a big fan of car museums, and I suppose it may come partly from the fact that I grew up near the Motor City, partly from the fact I grew up in a family business involved in the automotive supply chain, and partly from the fact that I'm really a secretly frustrated gear head or engineer.
Automotive design, advertising and innovation have always fascinated me, and I've found a good number of automotive museums in the Midwest to help feed that interest over the years.
I'm especially thrilled when visit a museum and come away with some great images of my dream car (a 1968 Pontiac Firebird) or find a unique vehicle or story about the automotive industry here in the Midwest.
We've visited a number of car-related museums in the Midwest, and I've read a lot of great stories about places to feed an interest in all things automotive from fellow travel writers here in, and near, the Midwest.
So, when I decided to do a round-up post about my own automotive-related stories here on Midwest Guest, I asked some of my fellow Midwest travel bloggers if I could also include links to some of their best stories about Midwest car museums.
Here is the first part of a two-part series of posts listing links to those stories!
Where I live: Driving America opens at The Henry Ford-We're members of The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan and frequently visit the museum (and its companion living history campus, Greenfield Village) to walk around and take photos. You just know that a place named after automotive giant Henry Ford has to have a great automotive exhibit. Here is a post from Midwest Guest that I wrote after the museum's revamp of their massive automotive exhibit in early 2012.
The Henry Ford upgrades "The Automobile in American Life" exhibit-Here is another story I did at Midwest Guest about the "Driving America" exhibit revamp just as the museum prepared to shut the prior version of it down for a year-long revamp in early 2011. This one also includes information about the museum's rethinking of the traditional auto display that this version of the auto exhibit represented at its opening in 1987.
R.E. Olds' Lansing Legacy-We hear a lot about Henry Ford here in the Detroit area, but the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum in mid-Michigan's Lansing is a nice tribute to another Michigan automotive pioneer, R. E. Olds. The young Ransom moved to Michigan's capital city with his family in 1880. Henry Ford often gets credit for creating the assembly line, but Olds first came up with the idea of moving auto parts from place to place on the plant floor via wheeled carts for a progressive car assembly system, an idea that Ford later improved upon by putting the whole system on conveyor belts. Check it out at Midwest Guest.
Combine Nature and Cars During a Day Trip to Volo, Illinois-Melissa's story at the Wisconsin Parent blog takes readers to the Village of Volo near Chicago where they can walk in a beautiful nature preserve before heading over to see the Volo Auto Museum. Melissa and her family especially enjoyed the museum's Hollywood Car Collection that features car stars from movies and television that include the Batmobile!
Photo: Melissa Schwartz, used with permission
Fulton, MO: Auto World Museum-Adam and his family visited this museum in Fulton, between St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri to find a great collection of vehicles ranging from horse-drawn carts and buggies to the most modern solar-powered cars nicely arranged in period settings. Adam seemed to particularly enjoy seeing the museum's Delorean, much like the vehicle used in the Back to the Future films. Read about it at the Visit Flyover County blog.
Photo: Adam Sommer, used with permission
Nashville, TN: Lane Motor Museum-Here's another car museum that Adam says seemed to really engage his car-loving toddler son. A dedicated play area for kids at the museum allowed his son to burn off a little energy playing with the museum's car-themed playthings, and the Lane Motor Museum's collection of unusual vehicles like a "two-headed" car with two front end that allowed drivers to drive in either direction without turning the car around proved pretty fascinating to both father and son! It's all at the Visit Flyover Country blog.
Photo: Adam Sommer, used with permission
Classic cars galore at Kearney museum-A visit meant as a spur of the moment stop along the Lincoln Highway at the Classic Car Collection at Kearney in central Nebraska turned out to be an engaging tour through the museum's collection of over 130 vintage vehicles. The tour left Lisa and Tim wishing they'd planned more time to see the vehicles ranging from the automobile's early days through some snazzy sports cars produced in the 1990s. Check it out at the Walking Tourists blog.
Photo: The Walking Tourists, used with permission
Checking out a classic car collection at Skip's Antique Car Museum in Put-in-Bay-Golf carts seem to be the preferred means of transportation in Ohio's Put-in-Bay during the warmer weather, but this Lake Erie island is also home to the largest number of classic and antique vehicles per capita in the world. Check out Midwest Guest to see a bit of Skip's cool collection that includes the oldest car on the island (a 1915 Model T) and some unique vehicles like a 1930 peanut wagon, a 1924 snowmobile and few vintage versions of the island's ubiquitous golf carts.
Cruise into Ohio's Canton Classic Car Museum-This museum has a uniquely homey feel with an eclectic collection of cool cars and other vintage treasures like toys, furniture, clothing, movie memorabilia and more tucked into every corner of the jam-packed building that originally started out as a bicycle shop in Ohio near the nation's first transcontinental highway (the Lincoln Highway). Check out my story about the Canton Classic Car Museum at Midwest Guest.
Cruise into summer at the Canton Classic Car Museum-This is an alternate version I did of the story I did about the Canton museum at Midwest Guest with a few different images for the Ohio Division of Tourism at their Discovering Ohio blog.
Be sure to cruise on back here as I post still more links to stories about cool Midwest car collections on December 4!
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