Newport reports youth movement in museum attendance

Our weekly roundup of car museum news and notes

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Newport Car Museum
Local and younger visitors are discovering the Newport Car Museum since it's re-opening | Museum photos

Since re-opening in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, the Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island reports a change in its visitors. While those traveling long distances, including internationally, have declined, there has been an increase in the number of visitors from within a 200-mile radius.

“This has always been a place where people can come and forget about the outside world and focus on the beauty, the power and the history of the cars,” Vin Moretti, the museum’s head docent, is quoted in a report from the museum. 

“We’re finding that now, more than ever, people need this opportunity to be with others who share a common passion.”

The museum spans more than 75,000 square feet of exhibition space, which it says means there is plenty of room for social distancing while viewing the 75 cars in six galleries. 

Not only the distance traveled but the ages of those visitors has changed since its re-opening.

“Our visitor demographic has changed a bit during the pandemic,” Moretti added. “We have seen less seniors but more families and young adults. 

“We love it when we can spark the interest of a young person. Without that interest there will be no next generation of people who love and appreciate the design, technology and beauty of automobiles.” 

Turns out that some of those younger visitors already know quite a bit about cars. Consider this story from visitor Stuart McCalley:

“We went there with my 13-year-old grandson, who knows more about cars than I will ever know,” McCalley said. “It was so much fun to hear him expound on the various muscle cars and I was able to tell him about the 1950s fin cars! I really gained an appreciation for the concept of cars as works of art on this visit.” 

The museum hosts regular cars-and-coffee shows in its parking lot and  monthly hoods-up weekends that showcase the engines in the cars in its collection (there’s a Hoods-Up weekend scheduled this weekend).

The museum plans to add several cars soon to its collection, including such modern supercars as a trio of Porsche Speedsters, a 2018 Porsche GT2RS, a 2019 McLaren Senna and a 2014 McLaren P1.

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For those perhaps not so interested in cars, the museum also displays a collection of mid-century modern furniture by the Eames brothers, Florence Knoll Bassett and Danish designers Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner.

For more information, visit the museum’s website.

Duesenberg evolution at ACD

“Duesenberg: The Evolution of America’s Finest Motorcar” opened September 1 at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in northeast Indiana and is scheduled to run until March 1, 2021. 

The showcase includes eight Duesenberg vehicles and two engines gathered together for the first time and selected to tell the story of the Duesenberg passenger vehicles and their evolution from Model A, experimental Model X’s and Y, and the debut of the Model J.

The eight vehicles on display include the “Castle Duesenberg,” the first Duesenberg sold to the public; Augie Duesenberg’s 1926 Model A; a 1926 Model A operable show chassis, a 1927 Model Y, 1927 Model X Sedan, Dual-Cowl Phaeton, and Speedster; and 1929 Model J Convertible Coupe.  Also displayed are Duesenberg Model A and Model J engines.

Several private collectors and two other museums have loaned vehicles for the display.

Corvettes as driver’s ed training vehicles!

I don’t know what vehicles were in your school’s driver’s ed fleet, but the National Corvette Museum and Andy Pilgrim’s Traffic Safety Education Foundation are putting together a Drivers’ Safety Course at the NCM Motorsports Park and plan to use C5 and C6 Corvettes.

Therefore, the museum seeks donation of those vintage Vettes to be used in the program.

“Corvettes donated to the Museum for educational purposes are perfect for this program… which will educate youth on safe driving skills,” said Sean Preston, the museum’s president and chief executive. “While not every young driver will have the opportunity to own or drive a Corvette at home, we think using Corvettes for the program will draw their interest and get them excited to participate.”

British museum features ‘Metro at 40’

Austin Mini Metro 1.3 HLS 1980 exposed | Museum photo

“Metro at 40” is the title of a new and very different exhibition for the British Motor Museum at Gaydon. The exhibit is taking place online.

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This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Auston Metro and the 30th birthday of the Rover Metro. The museum hosted a Metro & Mini Show earlier this month and in light of coronavirus pandemic restrictions, decided to do the “Metro at 40” exhibition online, even though the museum has re-opened on a Friday to Monday basis until November 1, when plans call for a full daily schedule for visitors.

The museum also announced that it will extend its “Ranger Rover at 50” exhibit through September 28.

Special events this weekend

The Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, hosts its second “Rock The Gilmore” outdoor concert of the season at 8 p.m. on September 11, featuring The RockShow, a Journey tribute band.

It’s “Hoods-Up” weekend September 12-13 at the Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island.

On September 12, the Mustang Owner’s Museum and the Wrecking Crew Mustang Club and Concord (North Carolina) Fire Department present the 9/11 Memorial Backroads Cruise, which begins with a memorial service at the museum at 10:25 a.m.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, re-opens to members on September 12 and to other visitors on September 16, and visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets online before their visit.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, opens two new exhibits on September 12 — “Yeah, It’s Got a Hemi!” and “Minibike Mania.”

The Miles Through Time museum in Clarkesville, Georgia, plans a “Cruise-In to the Museum” from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on September 12.

Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California, hosts photographer Al Satterwhite and his book, The Racers: Endurance Motor Racing — 1963-1973 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on September 12.

Mark your calendar

Three of the curators at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum will take part in an #AskACurator Day event from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern time) on September 14 on the museum’s Facebook and Twitter pages. At 1 p.m., Jason Vansickle will answer questions about racing and vintage passenger cars. Starting at 2 p.m., Roxie Dunbar will take questions about care, preservation, cataloging and storage. At 3 p.m., Mike Thomsen will share stories about trophies, film, paper and rare one-of-a-kind items.

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Gaydon Gathering | Museum photo

In light of recent health issues in England, the British Motor Museum at Gaydon has announced the cancellation of what was to be the first free, outdoor “Gaydon Gathering” on September 15. The museum still plans a similar event October 13 and the museum says such gatherings will become a regular feature on the second Tuesday of the month beginning in April 2021. The event will feature the museum workshop and vehicles from the collection not usually presented in public.

As part of its “South Bend: Then and Now, Part II” exhibit, the Studebaker National Museum will offer at panel presentation about the city’s growth and evolution at 1:30 p.m. on September 16 in the Wiekamp Auditorium. Panelists will include the director of historic preservation for the city and county, the director of Indiana landmarks for the northern region, and museum’s archivist.

The Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island hosts a Corvette clubs car show on September 18 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The annual collector car auction at the Saratoga Automobile Museum in upstate New York is scheduled for September 19.

The Porsche Typ356 Northeast Club will stage a car show September 27 at the Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island.

Durham Region Rally scheduled | Museum photo

Fresh off its recent and inaugural museum picnic and driving tour, the Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa, Ontario, announced the Durham Region Rally is scheduled for September 27. For details, see the museum website.

The California Automobile Museum in Sacramento hosts the Cap City Motor Tour from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on October 3. 

Although “Fall Hershey” has been smacked by the coronavirus pandemic, the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, will stage a socially distanced, one-day car show on October 10. 

Does your local car museum have special events or exhibitions planned? Let us know. Email larrye@classiccars.com

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