Jump to content

Thank You George Albright


Recommended Posts

I would like to extend a public 'Thank You' to George Albright III.  Yesterday was the second chilly day in a row in central FL (high was in the 60s) so we decided to tour Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala...about 2 hours away.  Although I've been there several times, it's different every time, and it's been a while since my last visit.  There was only one other couple there, so even though we wore masks, social distancing was not a problem.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a 1904 Simplicity on display, donated by George Albright III.  So thank you George for making this car available for myself and everyone else who visit there to see.  My apologies if there were any other member's loaned or donated cars which I did not recognize. Perhaps I should have titled this thread 'Donated Cars to Museums' and asked how many AACA or CCCA members have done this.  It would be nice to know, so when members visit these museums, they can look for other member's donated or loaned cars.  

 

One thing that stuck out like a sore thumb was the number of cars in the antiques building which had open radiators.  There were a couple of employees there moving cars around (as the owner of a 36 Ford on loan was coming to pick it up).  I asked one of them about the open radiators and was told that they've had problems with the caps and motometers disappearing so they've had to remove them all, leaving the radiators open.  I asked why they didn't come up with a locking device for them.  He said to do that they would have to modify the cars, which they wouldn't/couldn't do.  Sad. But thanks again, George

1904 Simplicity.jpg

1904 Simplicity 2.jpg

1904 Simplicity 3.jpg

1904 Simplicity Narrative.jpg

  • Like 10
Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like a great museum, hopefully I will have an opportunity to see it sometime.

 

As for the missing radiator caps, there was a Pierce Arrow mascot stolen during Hershey last year, I can’t imagine how anyone had the opportunity with the number of people there but they got away with it... sad to say but I won’t leave my car out of sight for a minute without removing its cap now.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just there on Monday on my way back north. I thought I recognized that name. Didn’t realize he was a representative at some point. So not all pols are bad 😇! I also saw that row of cars without their caps. I figured it was for theft. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like a pretty cool place. I too have heard of parts 'gone missing off of cars at shows' but fortunately have never had that happen to myself. I cant imagine the nerve of someone doing something like that.

 

Side note, I have loaned (not donated) some of my motorcycles to museums for temp displays. I have been attempting to get most of them put into a museum somewhat local to me but I havent found the time yet. Figured they are better on display where they can be seen than taking up space and collecting dust in my garage.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately the museum has placed a row of glass cabinets directly in front of the Simplicity and several other cars in the row with it, so it's difficult to see the front of the car.  That's why my pictures were taken from the top down, looking over and around the cabinets.  It sits between a 1924 Metz speedster and a 1923 Pierce Arrow limo.  Directly across from that row is a beautiful 1932 Cadillac roadster.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If they had metal detectors, it would wind up being security like an airport with visitors having to deposit everything in bins, etc., and going through individually.  And they'd still having to wand people down that set it off...as I always do.  Like most museums, I'm sure the museum's staying open on a shoe-string budget, and most likely operating in the red.  There were 2 clerks taking/selling tickets...one at the entrance to each building.  While I was there, one of them had to leave for an emergency, so the other one was covering everything, including the gift shop.  There were 2 techs working in the classic car building moving cars around.  They were putting jackable dollies under each wheel so they could roll the cars around.  I asked one of them if they were volunteers.  He replied, "No.  You wouldn't catch any of the volunteers doing heavy work like this."  I really wanted to talk to him more, asking if any of the vehicles were ever run, what was done to maintain them, etc., but they were busy and probably didn't appreciate my distraction from what they were doing.  Most were parked so close together that it would have been impossible to open doors far enough to get in or out.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

 I once went to Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in the 90's and asked about donating a dragster that was the fastest one in New England in its time. (164 mph 8,34 sec on stright gas 1961)

 They told me that they would take it and probably put it on display for a while and then take it apart for parts!🥵

 

 Much later , at a car show, a representative of the Peterson Museum told me that they would love to acquire it as there are so few original unmodified dragster in that era.

Edited by Roger Walling (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, George Cole said:

I asked one of them if they were volunteers.  He replied, "No.  You wouldn't catch any of the volunteers doing heavy work like this." 

That's an unfortunate answer. It implies a degree of animosity between paid staff and volunteers which should be working as a team. Also, how did they know that you were not interested in volunteering? 

 

They also should have engaged you. Many times I have wiped the grease off my hands and stepped back from what I needed to do to talk with visitors. Often, they offer valuable leads or information and is just good fun. Usually it results in a nice deposit in the donation box. The work can wait five, ten, fifteen minutes while we chat with them, or demonstrate a piece of equipment for them. I think my favorite is when I ask them if they would like to help me. It might be holding a wrench or maybe a light, etc. or I am just explaining what I am doing. but its interactive, engaging and our visitors (especially the kids) love it.

 

Imagine if they had asked you if you were interested in helping to push that car to where it needed to be? I remember well visiting a collector who needed to put his early Cadillac away. He asked my daughter to steer while we pushed. It wasn't far but you should have seen her face! Richard made a friend that day!

 

100_3290.thumb.JPG.b14c1d3e4455250c065c8d666c096b35.JPG

 

DSC_2606.thumb.JPG.bba20ede4afcdd82f3b4b22e47c95382.JPG

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

 I visited a RR museum once and asked a greasy worker about something. He stopped working and explained a whole bunch of things before returning to work.

 He really loved trains and wanted to spread the information around.

 

 Thank you unidentified worker.  👍👨‍🔧

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Before moving south I volunteered at the Owls Head Transportation Museum for a few hours each week. We did everything from moving displays to engine work, to driving visitors around in a Model T... but not one time was anyone there too busy to describe something to a visitor. If I couldn’t answer a question I’d find someone who would, it was fun! I wore old coveralls and many times people would be in the shop area and wanted a picture of a true “grease monkey” - once there was a group from Japan and it took several minutes of halted English to understand they didn’t know if pictures were allowed...

 

A great experience sharing a love of old cars...

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not quite the same thing, but it is the same sentiment--the importance and impact of workers or volunteers taking a few moments to engage with the visitors.  When we visited the National Corvette Museum a few years ago and took the plant tour, as were stopped at one to watch the cars rolling down the line, one of the workers saw two young children in our group, stopped what they were doing, went over to a work table, reached into a box, and pulled out two small Corvette toy cars (they looked like Hot Wheels- or Johnny Lightning-type cars), and walked over and gave one to each child, then returned to what they were doing on the assembly line.  Yes, it was probably a Chevrolet policy, but I bet those kids (and their parents) will remember it forever.  (By the way, if you haven't been to the National Corvette Museum, go.  And as great as the museum is, the plant tour is even better.  It shatters the stereotype that American auto workers don't take pride in their work.)

 

My wife & I have had similar experiences when we've visited car museums.  When we visited the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum in Cleveland, when we paid for our admission we mentioned we were AACA members.  About 15-minutes later the director of the museum came over, introduced himself, and said how nice it was to have visitors who enjoyed and appreciated the cars instead of just blowing through the museum.  The then spent the next hour and a half giving us a personal guided tour of the museum, explaining the history of every vehicle, and took us behind the scenes to see a few cars they were working on.  He even offered to meet us the next day at their storage & maintenance facility (Hale Farm), show us the vehicles there, and take us for a drive in a few.

 

We've had similar experiences when we visited the ACD Museum in Auburn, IN, Canton Classic Car Museum in Canton, OH, the Model T Ford Museum in Richmond, IN, the Stahls Automotive Foundation in Chesterfield, MI, San Diego Automotive Musuem, and countless others.  Each shows the importance of having paid staff and volunteers who love what they do, appreciate & understand the importance of having visitors (especially paying visitors) to the museum, and the impact of the long-term preservation of the museum and automotive history.  As Terry Harper observed above, the comment by the workers at the Don Garlits Museum reveals somes underlying animosity between the staff and volunteers, which can't be good.  I know it's a great museum (we haven't been there yet, but intend to visit on the way to the AACA 2022 Winter Nationals in Melbourne, FL, if not before then), but it appears to have a problem they need to address.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have met George at Hershey and spoken with him a time or two via these forums. The man certainly loves and knows early vehicles and engines. My only regret about that simplicity is that it isn’t still driving around in Indiana as I may never get to see it down in Florida. I doubt this thread has gone unnoticed by him but just in case @George Albright

Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately there is not much known about the Simplicity other than what is on the placard. That info came from a 1944 edition of Hobby’s Magazine I got with the car. I wish it too have going back to Greensburg Indiana. I tried but there was no mechanism in place in the city to accept it as a donation and safely display it there. It is definitely safe at Garlits! Sincerely George Albright 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

There are a number of members who posts I always look forward too and George is one of them! 

 

On the subject of visitor and volunteer relations. There is that big mysterious thing called the "Endowment". If visitor fees and small donations provide revenue flow and grants fund specific projects,  its the endowment that can keep an operation going.

 

So what is an endowment? An endowment fund is a self-sustaining source of funding where the capital is invested to produce income. The principal investment remains intact in perpetuity, the income is granted annually, in part or in full, to support the fund’s purpose. Any undistributed earnings are reinvested to grow the fund. A robust endowment provides long term financial stability and enable donors and patrons to create a longstanding legacy through their generous donations. Gifts to non-profit endowment funds are tax deductible and can be made in many ways, including cash, appreciated stocks, bequest, and life insurance. I know of one small town historical society that was gifted an estate from a member upon their death that was quite substantial. On the flip side I have seen at least one person change their plans to bequest to an endowment fund due to a negative interaction with but one individual. You simply do not know who will make a substantial donation. It could be a long standing volunteer, a past employee or a one time visitor. 

 

I would hate to think of the number of museum's that are having to dip deep into the endowment funds themselves rather than just the earned income in these difficult times. Its difficult to rebuild an endowment once depleted and thus you end up with less operating capital for perhaps years to come. Some food for thought when it comes to planning your estate or to keep in mind when interacting with visitors and volunteers.

 

As for the Don Gartlit collection I would love to see it! Please don't take anything I have written as representative of their operation. It could have been just a bad day or moment or just the person you interacted with and does not represent the quality of the operation as a whole.

 

 

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, George Albright said:

I’m on the Garlits Museum Board since the 1980s Believe it or not we are running in the black even in 2020 just on admissions and product sales. We work hard and keep our expenses low. Sincerely George Albright 

That's fantastic George! That is really an accomplishment in these times. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

George also runs a fantastic show every year in Marion County, where all the proceeds go to charity. I seldom bring any of my cars to local car shows, but I always made it a point for the past few years to bring a car to Georges show. He and his staff do a fantastic job

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...