Like restaurants, offices and casinos, car museums are starting to re-open after being shut down by the coronavirus pandemic for a couple of months.
The museum re-openings began in Germany with the Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche corporate collections. In the last week, the Martin Auto Museum in Phoenix, the Edge Motor Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, the St. Louis Car Museum in Missouri, and the Ferrari museums in Maranello and Modena, Italy, also have re-opened.
The Miles Through Time, National Corvette Museums, Auburn Cord Duesenberg and Seal Cove museums have not re-opened, but have announced dates for such actions.
Miles Through Time, in Clarkesville, Georgia, announced a week ago that it would do a soft re-opening on May 23 in its new facilities, with its official and grand re-opening May 30. The museum will re-open in a new building, the Old Clarkesville Mill.
As part of its May 30 program, Miles will host a social-distancing cruise-in from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., with cars staged with a full empty parking space on either side as well as in front and behind.
The National Corvette Museum, in Bowling Green, Kentucky, re-opens its exhibits to visitors on June 8, though its cafe (May 20) and gift shop (May 22) already have resumed operation. The NCM Motorsports Park plans to re-open on June 1.
The Seal Cove museum in Maine will open June 1, or on whatever date the state allows, the museum said in a news release, and will feature its new exhibition “Engines of Change — a Suffrage Centennial.”
“Our new exhibit focuses on the role the automobile played in women’s independence and suffrage, and how improvements in technology were harnessed to mobilize social movements. The exhibit features adventurers, inventors, race car drivers, activists, and other women from all walks of life who used the automobile as a means of breaking out of their traditional roles.
“In addition, we highlight two women, Alice Burke and Nell Richardson, who in 1916 were the first people to drive a loop around the US; their mission – promoting voting rights for women.”
The museum also plans a new outdoor showcase (weather permitting) for those who prefer to remain outside as they return to public places.
ACD plans Cars & Coffee cruise-in
The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, in Auburn, Indiana, won’t re-open until June 14, but will host a Cars & Coffee cruise-in from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. on May 30. Museum staff and volunteers will guide cars into parking places along social-distancing guidelines.
Several cars from the museum’s collection will be displayed in the Plaza and tours of the Collections Conservation Center will be available.
Revs Institute sets virtual car show
The Revs Institute/Collier Collection, in Naples, Florida, has get to re-open, but will stage a virtual cars & coffee gathering from 10 a.m. until noon May 23 on its Facebook page.
Featured at the conclusion of the event will be the reunion of driver Gerard Larrousse and the 1967 Porshce 911R he drove to victory in the Tour de France.
Audrain purchases Begovich Collection
Earlier this year, Nicholas and Lee Begovich donated their car collection — 14 vehicles valued at $10 million — to California State University Fullerton, with money generated by the sale of those vehicles to benefit the school’s astronomy and sustainable energy.
This week, the school announced the collection had been sold to the Audrian Automobile Museum in Newport, Rhode Island, and the museum announced the cars will part of a future display. The Orange County Register reported that it was Jay Leno who connected the school and the museum.
“Many of the cars in the collection were purchased by him new and lightly used, making them outstanding original examples,” the museum said. “They include a 1969 Lamborghini Miura which he picked up at the factory in Italy and drove only 3,758 km; a 1956 Porsche 356 Speedster, bought new in Los Angeles and showing 10,441 mi; one of six extant ATS 2500 GTS coupes, and even rarer, one of the competition models; two early ‘50s Pegaso coupes, an ultra-exotic Spanish sports car of which only 84 were made; and what is well known to be the most original example of Porsche’s iconic 904 sports racing coupe — in Nick Begovich’s hands from new in 1964 and having been driven only 2,837 km.”
AACA working on Hemi showcase
“Yeah, It’s Got A Hemi!” is the title of an exhibit that will help re-open the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, when the museum is clear again to welcome visitors.
But there’s a twist: This exhibit will not be limited to cars with Chrysler’s hemispherical engine-head architecture, but will include other vehicles as well.