HomeCar CultureLifestyleMuseums welcome your donations of cars -- and car books

Museums welcome your donations of cars — and car books


Car books overlook | Larry Edsall photo

It is not unusual for classic car collectors to donate vehicles to their favorite museums. But have you considered other things you own that might be of value to such institutions?

Take, for example, that collection of automotive books that has become so heavy that your bookshelves are sagging and the floor beneath might even be cracking from the weight.

I’ve already made arrangements to donate my automotive book collection to the automotive restoration program at McPherson College. You may recall that the Gilmore Car Museum and its research library and archive in Michigan recently received a collection of nearly 400,000 automotive patents.

Just a few days ago, the Antique Automobile Club of America’s Library & Research Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where it already held more than 1.5 million documents, announced the following:

  • From Amos Media, the former library of Cars & Parts magazine;
  • From Mark Theisen, his valuable collection of books and brochures;
  • The promise from another donor of additional material for the library’s Fisher Body Craftsman Guild collection;
  • That automotive writer Jim Donnelly will be searching for automotive books the library wants but has yet to acquire.

Theisen donated his collection in honor of his father, Wilfred J. “Red” Theisen.

Mark Theisen delivers boxes of books | AACA library photo

“We chose to donate our collection to the AACA Library as it ensures that the work of our wonderful staff over the years will continue to support the collectible vehicle hobby,” Amos Media president Bruce Boyd is quoted in a news release. “This library is unique in its ability to help people worldwide as it has state-of-the-art library technology and an amazing professional staff that will preserve the materials for the future.

“While it was sad to end the storied run of Cars & Parts, we are most happy to know that the AACA Library will continue to honor our brand.”

There may be charitable contribution tax benefits to donating to your favorite museum or library, but there’s also a bonus you may have overlooked: Now that you’ve emptied some of your book shelves, you can start refilling them with new volumes you’ve been meaning to purchase.

Mother’s Day at the museum

The AACA Museum and the America on Wheels museum, located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, will offer free admission on Sunday (May 14), with all moms admitted free that day to America on Wheels and with the first 100 moms visiting the AACA Museum getting free admission and a complimentary rose).

Alfa Romeo is featured marque for next Simeone Demo Day | Someone museum photo

Museums in motion

The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum’s Demo Days have been a big hit with visitors, who not only get to see cars inside the museum, but who get to venture out to the three-acre parking lot behind the facility in Philadelphia to see some of the museum’s cars in action. Weather permitting, the plan is to feature a selection of historic Alfa Romeo vehicles this Saturday (May 13). Included will be an 8C 2300 MM Spider, 8C 2300 Monza and 8C 2900B MM Spider.

Then, on May 27, cars with pre-selector shifting technology — including an MG K3 Magnette, Squire roadster, Peugeot 402 Darl’Mat Le Mans and Delahaye 135S — will be similarly exercised.

Another significant show is set for June 10 with a Le Mans theme and parking lot runs by a Ferrari 375MM, D-type Jaguar and Cunningham C4-R.

Meanwhile, the California Agriculture Museum in Woodland plans a military parade and trail ride May 26-28 at Santa Margarita, along with its version of Demo Day — featuring plows instead of cars. However, not all such “museum in motion” programs involve visitors as viewers. On June 3, the Blackhawk Collection in Danville, California, will organize a trip to the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival. On June 23 and July 7, the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville holds a driving experience with visitors getting to drive some of the museum’s vehicles. The Kansas City Automotive Museum stages its second Scavenger Cruise this weekend.

The AACA Museum offers tours to Cuba in early June, to England in early September and to Italy in November, and the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum in Knoxville, Iowa, will award a raffle winner with a trip for two to Australia that includes tickets to the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic races. Contact the various museums for details.

And while the cars at the museum may not be in motion, the pictures will be on May 21 when the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles stages movie night featuring The Speed Merchants, the story of the 1972 world sports car racing championship narrated by Mario Andretti and Vic Elford.

Cars on display (perhaps including yours)

The Blackhawk Museum in Danville, California, stages its Carroll Shelby Memorial classic car show Saturday (May 13) from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. At 10:30, photographer Dave Friedman, one of the original Shelby American employees will talk at the about the Shelby Mustang era and the history of Shelby American.

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg museum’s next Cars and Coffee cruise-in is May 20. America on Wheels stages its VW Fest on May 20, with a show open to all Volkswagens, whether air- or water-cooled. The California Automobile Museum hosts its 8th annual Vets and Vettes American muscle-car show May 29 in Sacramento. The annual Corvette Homecoming and Chevrolet International car show at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is June 1-3.

New exhibits

[email protected] _ Seductive Supercars opened last weekend at LeMay — America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington. Throughout the month, the Kansas City Automotive Museum features an exhibit of high-performance Chrysler products including a 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda 440 six-pack, a ’57 Dodge Royal Lancer convertible, ’57 Chrysler 300C and assorted Dusters and a Shelby Charger.

Three new exhibits opened today (May 12) at the AACA Museum. Garage Finds: Unrestored Treasure that Survived Time runs though October 8; Detroit Underdogs are on display through August 27; the 50th anniversary of Camaro and Firebird is featured through October 8.

The British Motor Museum in England opens its “British Motoring Treasures; Fifty Objects” exhibition on May 19. “Designed for Delivery: The Early American Truck” opens May 20 at the Gilmore Car Museum. “Mopar or No Car” runs from June 1 through July 9 at the Simeone.

And the California Automobile Museum wraps up its special exhibit of firetrucks on May 29.

New event

Tonight (May 12), the Petersen holds its first Museum After Hours & Night Vault Tours program from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The evening includes a guest DJ and cocktails.

Let’s party!

LeMay — America’s Car Museum will be the site of three events to benefit America’s Automotive Trust — the Fast & Furious 2017 Wheels & Heels gala is June 3, Cars & Cigars is June 28 and the Summer Ender Fender Bender is September 9.

The 28th annual induction festivities at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Iowa are scheduled for June 2-3. The National Corvette Museum hosts a 24 Hours of Le Mans viewing on a 28-foot screen June 17-18.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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