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How do you evaluate car museums?


Terry Bond
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This has been a fantastic forum.  I've added several places to my list of car museums to visit as we travel.  There are others I've already seen numerous times, but enjoy going back because the mix continually changes.  Some others are going to get by-passed because the mix of cars, or the overall focus isn't of great interest to me.   A few evenings ago, one of our club members gave a presentation on the Louwman Museum in the Netherlands and it's instantly jumped to the top of my bucket list. 

 

It all makes me curious though - how do you evaluate automobile museums?  Personally I like more history of the automobile, earlier cars, and plenty of appropriate automobilia.  I really don't care how many Duesenbergs are on display.  I love to see original unrestored cars displayed, and I really like plenty of information about the cars, especially info on a particular vehicle's history-where and how it was discovered, etc.  I'm not that excited about hot-rods or customs, although they certainly have their place in the "history" of the automobile hobby.   Some concept cars are pretty exciting, but with most, it's quite obvious why it never went into production.  Nice clean easily accessible exhibits are important to me.  I've been in "museums" where you could write your name in the dust on the cars that were sitting on flat tires.   I like to be able to see engines, and interiors with plenty of room to get good photos. I've been to places where their exhibits are just lines of cars packed in so tightly you can't even get between them.   (maybe we need a separate category for "Worst Museum" too?)

 

So-when you visit a museum, what's the criteria that you use to evaluate it.  What makes it enjoyable, and what switches you off? 

 

Terry

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Terry

I agree with everything you state. Good lighting is a must, without hot spots to ruin any photographs that may be allowed or give you eye strain by having to contend with the hot spots bouncing off the highly polished surfaces. Enough room to be able to stand back a bit to see the car - not crunched up tight . Cars need to be viewed at a few paces back to enjoy the flow ( or lack of same ) of the fenders/hood/body. Like you I really enjoy a well presented researched text to accompany the display. Some manikins in period dress and some period street signs or other items can make a more period feel to the display if there is room.

I may be super critical as I am an artist, taught art, and also was an exhibits technician at a museum decades ago , so look at things from a different perspective then most people - add to that the historian aspect that I also am major part of and I can have a critical eye beyond the norm.

WG

Edited by Walt G
correct spelling of a word (see edit history)
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  • 1 month later...

Good question Terry, but not all museums can be judged the same. Number one, great museums were stared by one guy with a PASSION for collecting, he also had the funds to collect, restore and display the cars. Great cars  in most cases wind up in well funded collections. I got to see Harrah's when he was alive and the collection was still growing, so grateful for the memories. Saw it again for the first time since 1975 three weeks ago, 200 of the best cars in a new building, had the excitement and warmth of a headstone display in Vermont. Laurie Caverns Museum was a rally nice surprise, great early cars packed in chorological order. The Nethercutt Collection is Top Shelf, be sure to go on the music tour in the main building. By the way if the collection is funded my a cosmetics company, how come nobody has ever seen the stuff for sale? The Mullin collection is really nice, but featured Renault when were there. The Petersen in LA is a Must See. I still have a few on my bucket list The Simeone and Bill Smiths collection in Lincoln Nebraska. It is amazing that they are all still open, that 10-20 bucks to get in can't come close to covering the light bill. Bob 

Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)
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There are also what we now call.....”black hole” car collections.............light and cars never escape from them. Unfortunately, they are difficult to get into. Being a member of a car club, is often your best chance to get in the door when they open it up for visitors on special occasions. When I was young, that’s how I got to see half the great cars in this country...........club events.

 

Sometime I’ll tell the story of me driving over to Tom Monahan’s home, knocking on the door in an Ozzy T shirt, and asking to see the Bugatti Royal..........yes, I got in! And sat in the car.........😎

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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