NAAM E-NEWS – December 2015, Volume 17, Issue 4

December 15, 2015 in Newsletter by Courtney Meredith

NAAM E-NEWS – December 2015, Volume 17, Issue 4

In This Issue


President’s Message

By: Terry Ernest

Are You Getting Value for your NAAM Membership?

Membership Benefits

Listing on the NAAM Website with a Link to Your Website
Museums, which are members of NAAM, are invited to be listed on the NAAM site, which provides direct access to other member websites.

NAAM Forum
A password protected area for members to discuss and share concepts and ideas.

Quarterly Newsletter
This publication provides up-to-date information about what’s happening in the auto museum field.

Annual Conferences
NAAM annual conferences provide museum professionals with information and guidance in museum operations, networking opportunities, and stimulate an ongoing interest in automotive history. Conference fees are discounted for members.

“NAAMY Awards” of Excellence
NAAMYs are awarded annually at the NAAM Conference and further promote professionalism in automotive museum management and promotion. The awards are designed to recognize automotive/transportation museum leaders for achievement, professionalism and creativity. Categories include Collateral Materials, Newsletters and Magazines, Books and Exhibit Catalogs, Web Designs, Films and Videos, Interpretive Exhibits, Educational Programs, and Events and Public Promotions. Entry fees are waived for NAAM members.

Membership Directory
A membership directory is provided to members upon request.

All of the above reasons to be a member of NAAM are important. But I personally consider one of the most important reasons to be a member are the networking opportunities.

When I first joined NAAM, I noted the friendliness and professionalism of the members, and by attending annual meetings, I developed contacts with other museums that became valuable.

If you want to make your membership in NAAM more valuable, plan on attending our next conference in Bar Harbor, Maine, May 3 – 6 2016. Check the NAAM website under “conferences” for more information.

I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome one of NAAM’s newest members, the Tbilisi Auto Museum in the Republic of Georgia (in the former Soviet Union). Their director, Ramaz Aivazashvili, contacted me a few months ago via the NAAM website to ask about becoming a member. A recent email from Ramaz, expresses why he is excited to be a new NAAM member: “First of all I want to thank you for so much attention to me and to my museum, this means a lot for me, as I am new in this field and try to move my museum forward.

Listing on the NAAM website with Link to our museum was (a) great success for us. When I saw our museum’s Link on NAAM website I started calling everyone I know, and told (them) that Tbilisi Automuseum (has) become a member of NAAM!

I also use my username and password to log in on (the) NAAM website. (NAAM administrative assistant Lisa Panko really helped me with that and thank-you also for that).

As my country is developing, and new fields of social interest are created here, there are not so many ways to interact with newly created businesses, that is why NAAM means a lot for me as director of Tbilisi Automuseum.

I realize the meaning of (the) NAAM annual conference and when I heard about that, the hope was born that finally I’ll be able to meet heads of successful auto museums and hear about their success and how they achieved that, what’s the right way to move and the right steps to make. Despite, it will be hard but not impossible for me to attend NAAM annual conference in May 3 – 6 2016 in Bar Harbor, Maine, I should do it, because, that will be a key event for success of Tbilisi Automuseum. As (the) USA and (the) Republic of Georgia have a friendly relationship between each other, our businessmen and public figures often visit USA to be shared with experience, that’s why I think that visiting Maine in May will not be very hard for me.”

Thank you for your kind comments Ramaz, and welcome aboard!
If I may be of service to our membership, please contact me.

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The National Association of Automobile Museums is a professional center of excellence for automobile museums and affiliated organizations that supports, educates and encourages members to operate according to professional standards of the museum industry.

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What’s Trending: The New and the Next for Museums

Best practices and new opportunities are always evolving in the museum field, making it challenging to keep up. Trends in corporate partnerships, working with non-profit boards, interpretation, advocacy, and social media can offer new opportunities for museum staff and volunteers. How do we fold them into our work? In an age where relevance is mandatory, museums need to be nimble enough to respond to trends that will connect them with new audiences, and leverage their programs and unique collections to maximize engagement. Participate in the 2016 NAAM Conference to network with your peers and help shape the future of our museums.

About Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor, Maine is the best known town on Mount Desert Island (MDI) with an approximate population of 5,235 residents. Included within the municipality are the villages of Bar Harbor, Hulls Cove, Salisbury Cove, and Town Hill. The main draw is nearby Acadia National Park, one of the most popular, yet smallest, National Parks in the system. Acadia boasts the tallest peak on the east coast, over 120 miles of trails, and a 44-mile carriage road system, closed to motorized traffic. But it’s the unique combination of lakes, mountains, and the rocky coastline of Maine that leave visitors to the Park breathless with wonder.

Some of the earliest tourists to the region were the “Rusticators”, the summer visitors of the early 1900s who fled to the “rustic” island from their luxurious homes in such cities as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, to escape the heat and crowds. If the island served as a playground for these elite visitors, it also served as inspiration for many artists who also flocked to the island, particularly painters of the Hudson River School, like Thomas Cole and Frederic Church, glorifying MDI with their brushstrokes, and further encouraging others to visit the area.

Today Bar Harbor is more than a tourist destination. It is also an important research & education town, as the home to the Jackson Laboratories, the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratories, as well as College of the Atlantic.

Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Events Center

A Hotel Room Block is reserved for the conference. The room block expires on April 2, 2016, but make reservations early since rooms are in demand during this period. The room block dates begin on Monday, May 2, 2016, to accommodate our attendees traveling from the west. Also, the hotel is extending the conference room rate for three days before and after the block for anyone who would like to visit the area.

Hotel Room Block Info:
Group Number: NAAM050316; Room Rate: $99 (plus 8% room tax)
Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Conference Center, 119 Eden Street, Bar Harbor, Maine 04609
Reservation Office: (800) 336-2463, Hotel: (207) 288-5801

Room Guarantee: Room deposits (one night’s room rate) are due at the time the reservation is made. Deposits are refundable, less a $20 administrative fee, 7 or more days prior to arrival date. Cancellations with 6 days prior to arrival are subject to a fee equal to one night’s lodging.

Additional Information

The closet local airport is the “Bar Harbor Airport” located just off the island in Trenton, 12 miles from Bar Harbor. The closest international airport is in Bangor, 50 miles from Bar Harbor. There are no regional bus routes that go to Bar Harbor, but the Bar Harbor Shuttle ( and Downeast Transportation ( provide service between Bangor and Bar Harbor. Local taxi services are available in Bar Harbor.

Weather: Average lows in Bar Harbor in May run in the mid-forties, with average highs in the mid-sixties. But there’s a saying in New England, “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute!” Weather in early May in Maine can vary widely, from below-freezing nights to glorious spring-like days, so be prepared for anything!

Conference Dress: Attire for the duration of the conference is business casual, including the concluding banquet and awards ceremony.

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Deadline: March 4, 2016

It time to start compiling your entries for the NAAMY Awards Competition. The deadline is March 4, 2016, so there is plenty of time to get your “winning” entries in the mail. The process is simple, plus you can enter as many categories as you like and you many submit more than one entry in a category. Please see the attached NAAMY Awards Call for Entries brochure or access the brochure on the NAAM website ( under “About NAAM.”

Every one of our NAAM member museums is asked to enter to gain important recognition for your museum, which is a primary benefit of earning a NAAMY award. NAAMY’s increase your museum’s prestige not only with your Board and your members, but in your community. Also, they are a point of interest with donors and when applying for grants.

It’s the perfect, “positive” project to start off your year! Our new “Call for Entries” brochure and application were distributed via email to all NAAM members and is available on the NAAM website.

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Deadline: April 4, 2016

Apply Now: Each year NAAM offers scholarships to the Annual Conference to help members grow professionally through informative sessions and networking opportunities. The scholarship program is designed for museums with limited financial resources (annual budgets less than $500,000) to pay for their staff to attend the conference.

When: You can apply anytime and we encourage you to do so to take advantage of this great benefit. The deadline is April 4, 2016.

How: Please visit the NAAM website for scholarship criteria, guidelines and the online application (select Conferences, then Conference Scholarships.)

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Carly Starr
Curator of the California Automobile Museum

My favorite part of my job is creating the rotating exhibits. It is the most creative part of my job, I get to dive deep into automotive topics, and I am rewarded by hearing from new and different visitors with each exhibit. Not to say they don’t cause me a large amount of stress, but they are worth it, partly because rotating exhibits also give me an opportunity to experiment.

The California Automobile Museum is an active museum with a relatively small staff to organize everything, forcing all staff to be multi-faceted. This also means that our budget can be stretched thin. For example, until very recently, we did not have a development director, and saying that I am not very good at finding sponsors for my exhibits would not be inaccurate. However, despite (or maybe because of) these tight conditions, new ideas thrive when designing exhibits. Maybe it means writing object labels on the wall with paint pens. Maybe it means going without chains around the cars for the first time in our Museum. Maybe it means crowd sourcing stories before the exhibit even opens. There are many ways that myself and other staff have had to get creative in order to cultivate the best experience possible for our visitors.

We just recently opened a rotating exhibit on vintage travel trailers. While planning and building this exhibit, I was also taking part in a pilot program of learning collaboratives with the California Association of Museums. My topic is accessibility. While this included ADA standards and various disabilities and learning styles, we are also addressing issues such as cultural, language, education, and personal preferences. I could not help but be immersed in thinking about accessibility while building the trailer exhibit. I am not sure I succeeded to the extent that I would like to, but this has been yet another learning experience for me to build upon when designing future experiments for the Museum.

Everyone knows that you can’t please everyone, and, to me, this also translates to that you can’t be welcoming to everyone. What may be the most exciting thing for one person is also the most offensive thing for another. And this is not just for controversial topics such like religion or politics. It could simply be that I am only creating an exhibit for a narrow group of people. Sure, we all like to find ways to bring in the young visitors and the stereotypical wife that is dragged along by her husband. But what about everyone else? Finding the balance to create exhibits that are welcoming to as many people as possible – and the audience we are aiming to grow – will continue to be challenge as the Museum continues to grow.

For this most recent exhibit, vintage trailers from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s primarily speak to people with a sense of reverence or nostalgia for the American past. Yes, we have brought in many millennial and women who are excited to see this exhibit featuring a topic that is quite trendy right now. But do my foreign visitors understand? For Americans whose parents or grandparents were not middle or upper class, or even living in this country, do they enjoy this exhibit?

The volunteers working on this project and I did our best to write storyboards and placards to explain the trailer phenomenon as best as possible. I built multiple interactive to incorporate various types of interests in the exhibit. However, we do not have anything translated into other languages. Anything tactile is limited to a hands-on game because we understandably worry about damage and objects being stolen. Our exhibits committee can “sacrifice” a couple of the museum-owned cars as educational objects for visitors to sit in, but we cannot do that with privately-owned trailers. Overall, I feel as though this exhibit has been a achievement and we can be proud of it because it does excite that nostalgia in visitors while also addressing a major part of American automotive history, but I also feel as though there is more we can do for all of our visitors.

I am sure this is something that every museum deals with. Hopefully, it is something that every museum is looking to improve. And with each experimentation we act on, we take one step further to finding ways to be as welcoming to as many people as possible.

Some of those experiments I mentioned earlier are ones that I found extremely successful. Writing labels on the wall somehow made the material less intimidating and more fun; it was as if we were casually allowing visitors to see what car that hubcap goes to, no big deal. Going without chains was a huge success: visitors CAN be trusted! They also were able to look up close at the cars and left less of a need to open doors or other things than can happen. And finally, the stories people submitted before and during the Mustang v. Camaro exhibit this last summer was probably my favorite. At first, they came in quite slowly and I was worried, but the variety of hundreds of responses we received over the three months was more rewarding than anything I had experienced before.

In the end, keep experimenting. Keep finding ways to welcome people into the museum. The successes will be worth the failures.

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Gilmore Car Museum – Hickory Corners, Michigan

Celebrate the Gilmore Car Museum’s 50th Anniversary with the all-new exhibit, “The Gilmore Collection: Celebrating the Past, Present, and Future,” featuring cars from the Gilmore’s original collection and special artifacts from the Museum’s 50 year history.

Stay tuned for more details on this special collection and other upcoming exhibits, opening in December and January!

Lecture Series Begins Sunday, January 10th!
The 3rd annual Winter Lecture Series at the Gilmore Car Museum will kick off on Sunday, January 10th as we begin by celebrating the past with a look back at the last 50 years at the Gilmore Car Museum!

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Wilkes-Barre, PA (October 28, 2015) – In 2008, Ken Marquis, a Pennsylvania picture framer, had an epiphany while milling around an automobile show.

“I started rushing up and down vendor aisles buying old hub caps. I bought 41 rusted old hub caps that day. My friend thought I was crazy. I said ‘I have an idea’.”

Marquis’ idea has led to the largest non-profit international art and re-use initiative of its kind, The Landfillart Project. (

1,041 hubcap “metal and plastic canvasses” are now 1,041 exceptional works of art — kindling a powerful message of sustainable, green living and the transformative power of Art.

Imagine getting three artists to agree to any one thing. 1041 artists from every state in the U.S. and 52 countries – places like Austria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, and Denmark among many other nations – have re-claimed and transformed a discarded hubcap into astounding works of art.

A recent Landfillart exhibition at the Museum of Shenandoah Valley was the second highest attended event in their history. “Colorful, bright, expansive, delightful. I look forward to revisiting this exhibit numerous times,” — one of many visitor comments to this exhibition.


The Landfillart exhibition will begin a multi-year international exhibition tour in 2016 to include major venues in places like Berlin, Barcelona, Monaco, Lyon, France, and Japan.

The new exhibition of the international Landfillart collection, On the Road Again, is now available to automobile museums.

On the Road Again is an engaging exhibition experience of America’s love affair with the automobile and driving.

Underlying On the Road Again is the powerful cross-over message of living green, re-use/recycling, and the unifying creative force of Art. The exhibition is tailored to audiences that include schools, middle to university level, car lovers, and lovers of art.

To inquire about bringing On the Road Again to your museum, contact Shirley Howarth of the Humanities Exchange:, or Chris Miller, Landfillart:

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1903 Endurance Run

The project to focus on the 1903 Endurance Run is continuing with an emphasis on research and development of an exhibition and publication leading to a road event for Veteran and Vintage cars.

We still want to locate existing examples from the 1903 makes in the Run. There are nine surviving 1903 Franklins and we hope to have some participation in our event from them and any other models we can locate.

It turns out that the section of road used in the 1903 Automobile Endurance Run, the Ulster and Delaware Plank Road, was used in speed attempts for automobile travel between Chicago and New York City for several years after the 1903 Run. Apparently it was the best road at the time. In 1907 New York State issued county highway maps showing roads already ‘improved’ under contracts and road that would be ‘improved’ in future contracts. The section of road recently declared the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, now State Route 28, is this historic roadway and runs through the heart of the Catskill Park, a 700,000 acre State Park encompassing public and private lands, and the principle watershed for New York City.

I am looking for cars of the 1903-07 period and want to put the word out that this is a great place to gather Veteran and Vintage automobiles. If you can help please contact, Robert Selkowitz at

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Discounts for Members of NAAM Museums

The First Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville will open Bellissima! The Italian Automotive Renaissance, 1945-1975 (curated by Ken Gross) in May 2016. We would like to offer members of NAAM member museums 50% discounts on admission to the show which runs through Oct. 6. Last car exhibition, Sensuous Steel (also curated by Ken) drew 115,000 people from all over the world. We would love to make this offer to fellow auto lovers.
Take a quick

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