NAAM E-NEWS January 2015, Volume 17, Issue 1

February 18, 2015 in Newsletter by Courtney Meredith

NAAM E-NEWS – January 2015, Volume 17, Issue 1

In This Issue

President’s Message

By: Terry Ernest

Terry NAAM portrait CPT
More than a dozen years ago, when a group of local auto enthusiasts founded the Wills Sainte Claire Automobile Museum, we thought that operating an auto museum would be a lot like operating a business, and since some of them owned businesses, how tough could it be? Okay, I can hear some of you snickering… as you know, (and I NOW know) an auto museum is much, much more than just a business.

As we began struggling to understand our role in telling our unique story, I began looking for an organization that we could join and learn from. Fortunately for us we found the National Association of Automobile Museums, and promptly joined. Not only did I discover a group of warm and helpful folks who were willing to share their experience and give us advice on many areas of museum operations, but I found that attending the annual meeting was worth its weight in gold! By attending the programs and lectures, we had an opportunity to learn valuable lessons, some that we had not even considered.

To give you an idea of how important I feel these meetings are, I have only missed one NAAM annual meeting since joining. If you have attended an annual meeting before, and many members have attended quite a few, then you already know the value of networking, education and shared experiences in the auto museum industry. If you have not yet attended an annual meeting, then here is your opportunity to attend what promises to be a great one! This year’s meeting will be hosted by National Packard Museum Executive Director, Mary Ann Porinchak, and her staff in Warren, Ohio. There will be sessions available concerning subjects such as grant writing, exhibit planning, disaster planning, marketing and much more. We will also have an opportunity to visit the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Crawford Auto Aviation Collection where we will be given a “backstage” tour.

It is my hope that you will create time in your schedule for yourself and key staff to attend the 2015 NAAM Conference from March 17th (5 p.m. Welcome Reception) to the evening of March 20th (Banquet and NAAMY Awards). Lodging, transportation. conference scholarships and dining information is posted on the NAAM website at, under Conference and Events.

Top 8 reasons to attend the NAAM Annual Conference:

  1. Get excited. There’s nothing like spending time with people who share your interests to re-energize and inspire you.
  2. Learn what works. Sessions arm you with new skills you can put into practice right away.
  3. Tap the minds of leaders. This is your chance to ask the best and brightest leaders in the automobile museum community your most pressing questions.
  4. Expand your network. Share experiences, insights and perspectives with talented professionals who can help you succeed.
  5. Make your voice heard. At the NAAM annual meeting, you can meet with the NAAM Board of Directors to learn what NAAM is doing to enhance your membership.
  6. Become a stronger professional. We promise you’ll leave Ohio inspired, smarter and better than ever.
  7. Enjoy a fabulous destination. Two days of sessions and a day of touring two fabulous museums will make your experience memorable.
  8. Save money. Register early to save $50 off the registration fee when you register before February 18, 2015.

If I may be of assistance, please contact me at:


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.


When and Where: The 2015 Annual Conference will be hosted by the National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio, March 17 – 20, 2015.  The conference starts on Tuesday, the 17th, with a Welcome Reception at the Residence Inn Marriott from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. and concludes on Friday night, the 20th,  with the closing banquet and NAAMY Awards Ceremony.  The conference features excellent sessions and tours.  It will be a great professional development and networking opportunity. Please see the attached conference schedule and registration form.


Make Your Reservations: A hotel room block is now ready for reservations at the following hotel for the 2015 NAAM Annual Conference:

Residence Inn Marriott (at the Eastwood Mall)

Use Reservation Code: NAAM

5555 Youngstown-Warren Road
Niles, Ohio 44446
(330) 505-3655
Rate: $125 plus taxes and fees
Please see the attached lodging form.

The Residence Inn is the sponsor and site of the Welcome Reception

The Residence Inn Warren/Niles is a brand new (opened in June 2014) extended stay hotel connected to the Eastwood Mall for convenient access to many shopping and dining options. The hotel offers spacious studio, one- and two-bedroom suites with separate living and sleeping areas and fully equipped kitchen. (Complimentary grocery delivery service is available to fill your refrigerator and satisfy cravings.) The Residence Inn offers free Wi-Fi, free hot breakfast and evening social hours offering appetizers and drinks for your convenience. The hotel also features an indoor pool and spa and 24 hour fitness center.


LISAThis January, NAAM achieved a long sought goal by hiring its first administrative assistant. What an auspicious start to our twenty-first year!

Six years ago, at a board retreat, we concluded that in order to truly fulfill our mission to support and educate our members, we needed to hire an administrator. We have finally put all the pieces in place and we are pleased to announce that Lisa Panko has accepted the position. Lisa is not a new face at NAAM. Some of you may know her as our membership coordinator. Lisa will be continuing in that role and will also assume the duties of newsletter editor, along with other duties.

Lisa is the membership and business manager for the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada, a position she has held for 10 years. (She will be performing her NAAM duties on a part-time basis.) Previously, she was the product sales manager for the Girl Scouts of Sierra Nevada. Lisa is third generation Nevadan and received her Batchelor of Science degree from the University of Nevada, Reno. Her first car was a 1962 Ford Fairlane that she still regrets selling to this day as many people do.

With Lisa on board, NAAM will be able to provide more timely support and additional services for our members. In 2014, NAAM became an affiliate member of the American Alliance of Museums, which provides Lisa with access to AAM’s rich online and print resources.  Lisa can then use these resources to help you solve some of your museum questions, or at least get you pointed in the right direction.

To contact Lisa, please email her at or phone her at (775) 333-9300. Lisa will be attending our 2015 conference March 17-20 hosted by the National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio, where you will all get a chance to meet her.

Welcome aboard, Lisa!

Volunteers and Collection Vehicles


As museums we rely heavily on, and are grateful for, our volunteers. They do everything; from manning our guest services desks, being docents/interpreters in our galleries, working in our education departments, and so on and so on. Then there are those volunteers that want nothing more than to help work on the collection vehicles. We all have them, and we all appreciate them. However, we have to keep in mind the safety of our collections when we have volunteer help with its preservation. This is not to say that these volunteers have malicious intents when they work on our collection vehicles, rather it is to remind us that we have to teach our volunteers about museum best practices.

Volunteers come from all walks of life. I will use my volunteers as an example, many of them are retired mechanical or electrical engineers, some worked in the lubrication industry, others worked for public services, and many worked in the automobile industry, but none have worked in the museum field. What does this mean for us as museums? It means that these volunteers are not familiar with the way we care for and treat our artifacts, but it doesn’t mean that these generous people who want to give us their time can’t learn from us.

Most of the volunteers who want to work with our collection vehicles already have a passion for cars; many have worked on cars all their life and own classic or antique automobiles. So, it is our job to take that knowledge they have and use it to help us carry out our best practices, a benefit for both the institution and the volunteer.

Nothing makes me cringe more than when I am at a museum and see a volunteer doing something that isn’t quite up to best practices. One example of this that I have seen was a volunteer at a museum that used a brass headlight on one of the vehicles as a coat rack. The volunteer was a very talented person, but didn’t give thought to what damage might occur from the small act of hanging their coat on that brass headlight. This wasn’t the volunteer’s fault; the supervisory museum staff member had never told the volunteers not to hang their jackets on the cars.

How do we handle this then? I again will turn to my volunteers at The Crawford as an example. When I came on board at the museum the volunteers did not have a lot of directive in what they were doing with the collection vehicles. They would mainly get vehicles that needed to run for a show running, but there was no protocol on how to do this. So, they used the knowledge they had about cars and got the vehicles running, and were successful in doing so. But, were museum best practices upheld on how the vehicles were handled during the work to make them operable? Were best practices upheld while they were being driven? Were best practices being followed when the vehicles were shut down to go back on display or put in storage? Not really, and it wasn’t the fault of the volunteers. The staff in charge had not talked to them about best practices. Thus, the first thing I did with the volunteers was to pull them together as a group and discuss best practices with them and as we go along continue to remind them of best practices. It has now come to a point where my volunteers remind me to push them harder to make their work up to museum best practice standards.

In the long and short of it, what am I saying here? Volunteers are often the life blood of our institutions. They are the reason we can do most of what we do in our respective museums. So, let’s take this gracious gift they are offering and use it to the benefit of our institutions. Let’s teach this wonderful group of people about the museum field and why we do what we do and hold ourselves to best practices. If your volunteers are anything like mine, they will appreciate the opportunity to learn new things, especially when it relates to something they love, like cars.


America’s Car Museum – Tacoma, Washington

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America’s Car Museum, the largest automotive museum in North America, is continuing to garner awards. The latest comes from USA Today, which has named ACM as one of the 10 best museums in the Seattle, Wash., metropolitan area.

“ACM earning a spot on USA Today’s 10 Best Museums in Seattle list shows that our hard work is continuing to pay off in connecting with and captivating our visitors,” said David Madeira, ACM president and CEO. “We see ACM as an enveloping cultural experience instead of just another stationary car museum, constantly rolling out new ideas and exhibits. That’s what sets us apart.” In November 2014, ACM finished ahead of 74 other finalists to earn the title of “Best Museum in Western Washington,” according to KING 5 NBC.

USA Today said ACM is one of the “hottest” museums in the Pacific Northwest. It added that ACM’s Signature Events, such as June’s “Wheels & Heels Annual Gala” and August’s “Cars & Cigars,” with tastings from Seattle’s El Gaucho restaurant and Montecristo cigars, present an atmosphere “oozing with innovation and indulgence.”

The Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles – Boyertown, Pennsylvania

The Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles will spend 2015 staging a year-long celebration of its 50th Anniversary. Founded in 1965 by Paul and Erminie Hafer, the Boyertown Museum preserves and educates about Pennsylvania’s rich road transportation history. The Museum kicked off its 50th Anniversary with a Golden Gala on Saturday, January 17, from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. This event, which is open to the public at $10 a person, will highlight some of the Museum’s history and its founders. Included in the Golden Gala’s festivities will be hors d’oeuvres and wine, with a champagne toast scheduled for 7 p.m. Throughout the evening, photographs and video footage of the Museum through the years will be featured, as well as entertainment and music.

Kokomo Automotive Museum – Kokomo, Indiana

The Kokomo Automotive Museum is proud to announce its fall and winter special exhibit, “Cadillac – Setting the standard for personal luxury: 1938-1997.” Starting with the fabled 1938 Series 60 Special Cadillac, which through engineering and advertising modernized the public perception of what a luxury car should be. The exhibit can be seen at the Kokomo Automotive Museum, located at 1500 North Reed Road in Kokomo, Indiana, from now until March 29, 2015. For more information, contact the museum Tuesday through Sunday at (765) 454-9999.

Seal Cove Auto Museum – Seal Cove, Maine

The Seal Cove Auto Museum is delighted by its new acquisition, a 1904 Searchmont Touring. Acquired by the Richard C. Paine Jr. Automobile Charitable Trust for display at the Seal Cove Auto Museum, it is one of two Searchmonts known to exist. Its previous owner, Bob Ames, also owned the Curved Dash Oldsmobile in the museum’s collection, and Mr. Ames has driven both the Searchmont and the Olds in the prestigious London to Brighton Run. The design of the 1904 Searchmont reflects the Auto Company’s complete change in the design of its cars in 1903, the new design following French lines. More information on the 1904 Searchmont can be found at:

Studebaker National Museum – South Bend, Indiana

Studebaker National Museum – South Bend, Indiana

To kick off the SB150 “Discover . . . South Bend” series on January 19, the Studebaker National Museum was one of over a dozen different South Bend gems opening their doors for “Discover . . . South Bend Landmarks.” Each participating institution offers free admission for guests to discover and explore new parts of the amazing places that make South Bend great.

Guests at the Studebaker National Museum will have the unique opportunity to “peek underneath” as we open the hoods of our revered Museum vehicle. This is a rare chance to look inside our collection of vehicles spanning late 19th through early 20th century vehicles, showcasing the best of South Bend innovation and ingenuity. Additionally, guests can visit the first floor of the Studebaker National Museum Archives (located across the street from the Museum) and see pieces from our collection, as well as learn about the tremendous work it takes to preserve and share our City’s rich industrial history.

This event took place on January 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with free admission, in celebration of the SB150 kickoff and the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Other participating sites included the IUSB Civil Rights Heritage Center, the Birdsell Mansion, the Kizer House, and more. A complete listing of participating “Discover . . . South Bend Landmarks” institutions can be found at

World of Speed Museum – Wilsonville, Oregon

World of Speed Museum – Wilsonville, Oregon

World of Speed is thrilled to announce the renewal of our Woodburn Dragstrip Jr. Drag Racing Series title sponsorship. New this year, the age limit to participate has been expanded to include five to seven year olds, giving even younger kids the chance to race down the track in a half scale version of a Top Fuel dragster in a safe and controlled environment. Join us in support of these amazing racers come April.

“A key component of World of Speed is to provide an exciting environment in which young people can explore the world of motorsports and the many career opportunities it offers,” said World of Speed executive director Tony Thacker. “We had so much fun working with the kids last year, it was a no-brainer to serve as title sponsor again in 2015.”

All events are held at the Woodburn Dragstrip, 7730 Hwy 219, Woodburn, Oregon, located one mile west of the Woodburn Premium Outlet mall.


Send it to our new editor.

Please share news about your museum with our new NAAM E-News editor. Be sure to add Lisa Panko,, to your museum’s distribution lists for news releases, e-news, and member and media announcements (and delete Kristy Ketterman). Many automobile museums are members of NAAM, but little information is received for our newsletter. Please help us ensure NAAM E-News is informative and up-to-date with the latest activities of our members.