NAAM E-NEWS June 2018, Volume 20, Issue 2

June 5, 2018 in Newsletter by Courtney Meredith

NAAM E-NEWS - JUNE 2018, Volume 20, Issue 2

In This Issue

President's Message

By:Matt Anderson

Greetings NAAM Members,

This is my first column since my election as president, so please allow me to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the support and good wishes you’ve sent my way. It is a genuine privilege to serve our organization, and I look forward to the opportunities and challenges ahead.

It’s been a little over a month since we all gathered in Hershey for our annual conference. We are grateful to Jeff Bliemeister and Nancy Gates, and to their colleagues at the AACA Museum, for their enormous efforts in putting together the event. We send our thanks to our friends at the Hershey Story Museum, Hershey’s Chocolate World, the Smithsonian, the NB Center for American Automotive Heritage, the Historic Vehicle Association, and America On Wheels for hosting us on our various field trips. We also send our gratitude to Hagerty Insurance, Reliable Carriers, Group Delphi, PastPerfect, LaVine Restorations, Hershey’s Chocolate World, and Motor Car Memories for their generous sponsorships. I would be remiss if I didn’t say a special word of thanks to our speakers and panelists, too, who gave freely of their time and talents.

Time and again our members have commented to me about how important the annual conference is to them. It’s a chance to share our successes (or, on occasion, our missteps), discover new approaches to our work, study different procedures used by our fellow museums, and network face-to-face with our colleagues. And, with the NAAMY Awards that close each conference, it’s a chance for us to celebrate the best in exhibits, publications and programming at our museums.

The NAAM board of directors has always considered the annual conference to be the organization’s signature activity. We seek to improve the program every year – to build on past successes and anticipate future needs. We welcome your input as we look toward planning our 2019 annual meeting at the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend. If there are topics you’d like to see covered, programs you’d like to see explored, or changes to the format you’d like to suggest, please do not hesitate to reach out to me, or to the other members of our board. We are here to serve you, and it is our goal to make NAAM as beneficial to our members as possible.

Many of us have been reflecting on the 2018 conference, thinking about the experiences, ideas and lessons we took from our time together. I’ve been thinking about storytelling – the theme of our conference. Those compelling stories are among the most powerful tools at our disposal as museum professionals. Each and every car in our care has a story – or several – to share. And while it’s important for us to present some of those stories for our visitors, we must remember that our visitors often bring their own stories to our cars.

Among my strongest conference memories is of our time on the National Mall with Mark Gessler, where he explained HVA’s Cars at the Capital program. You probably recall that the featured car during our visit was Plymouth Voyager #1, the first of the ubiquitous minivans that supplanted the station wagon as the prototypical “family car” and crowded suburban American roads in the 1980s.

VoyagerPlymouth Voyager #1 at Cars at the Capital

We all had some laughs at the Voyager’s expense, regretting that our visit didn’t coincide with the Bullitt Mustang – or even the 15 Millionth Model T – instead. But, as we stood there that afternoon, I couldn’t help but notice person after person stopping to inspect the Voyager, to read the labels, and to remember the minivan that belonged to that childhood friend’s family, the neighbor down the street, or perhaps even their own parents. We might have wished that mom and dad taxied us around in a pony car (whether of the Ford or Ferrari variety), but we went in one of those Voyagers (or Astros or Aerostars). That unassuming vehicle rekindled nostalgic memories and connected with people in ways that more “significant” cars may not have done. It played a part in people’s own stories – the kinds of stories that Mark spoke about so eloquently at our lunch in Allentown.

And speaking of stories, there’s been some “gloom and doom” talk about auto museums and the wider car collecting hobby in some of the newspapers lately. I don’t buy it. Like some of you, I stayed in Pennsylvania a couple of extra days to attend the joint conference of the Historic Vehicle Association and the Society of Automotive Historians in Allentown. I was heartened to see so many young people at the sessions. They asked terrific questions, spoke passionately about their own favorite cars and stories, and collectively challenged the conventional wisdom that millennials and cars don’t mix. Getting that driver’s license may not be the right of passage it once was, but the automobile remains a fixture of daily life. The kids riding around in them today will be the visitors who come to our museums to relive those stories tomorrow. We’d better leave some space for a Rogue or a RAV4 next to that Voyager.

All the best,

Matt Anderson

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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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STORYTELLING: Make Sweet Memories Through Storytelling in The Sweetest Place on Earth - Hershey, PA!

We would like to sincerely thank the AACA Museum for hosting an amazing conference, “STORYTELLING: Make Sweet Memories Through Storytelling in The Sweetest Place on Earth” for NAAM in the Hershey area. The conference schedule was packed with informative sessions and two days of traveling to remarkable collections and museums. There were 111 attendees, representing 49 organizations, 14 Sessions, 4 break out Smithsonian tours, tour of the NB Center, HVA Lab, America on Wheels Museum, and optional tours of Hershey (via trolley), The Hershey Story Museum, and behind the scenes tours at AACA Museum.

Photos courtesy of Nancy Gates- AACA Museum, Mark Valentino- Hagerty Insurance, Jarrid Roulet- Veit Automotive Foundation, and NAAM

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Special Thank You to Our Supporters

We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our sponsors. Our conference was an enormous success with the generous support we received from our sponsors.

  • Hagerty- Official insurance provider of the National Association of Automobile Museums
  • Past Perfect Museum Software
  • Group Delphi- Dinner Thursday evening
  • La Vine Restorations, Inc.
  • Reliable Carriers, Inc.
  • Hershey’s Chocolate World
  • Motor Car Memories Inc.

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NAAM is dedicated to helping its members grow professionally through informative annual conferences and networking opportunities. To fulfill this goal, NAAM offers up to 3 conference scholarships each year. The scholarship program is designed for museums with limited financial resources to pay for their staff to attend (annual budgets under $500,000). Awards included $1,000 for travel expenses, plus complimentary conference registration. These valuable scholarships are made possible thanks to our generous sponsorships.

CONGRATULATIONS to those who received a scholarship for the 2018 Conference:

Keith Kodet, Executive Director
Museum of Off-Road Adventure, East China, MI

Charlotte Infantino, Research Specialist
Rolls Royce Foundation, Mechanicsburg, PA

Greg McCollough, Executive Director
Classic Car Collection, Kearney, NE

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Congratulations to the museums that won NAAMY Awards at the 2018 Annual Conference for their 2017 programs, events and activities. This is a prestigious honor and their award represents a commitment to excellence and sets a standard within our field. Great job!

The annual NAAMY awards competition honors the work of nonprofit automotive transportation museums. The awards recognize industry leaders for achievement, professionalism and creativity. They are designed to further promote professionalism in automotive museum managerial, curatorial, educational and promotional work.

DIVISION I (institutions with an annual budget less than $300,000)

Books & Exhibit Catalogs

1st Place: Virtual Steam Car Museum, Hector Halhead “Steam” Stewart

2nd Place: BMW Car Club of America Foundation, Heroes of Bavaria: 75 Years of BMW Motorsport

Collateral Materials

1st Place: Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum, Sixty-Six-Foot-Tall Visible Gas Pump

2nd Place: Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum, Collateral Campaign

3rd Place: Newport Car Museum, Car Club Flyers

Educational Programs

1st Place: National Packard Museum, New York vs Ohio Battle for Packard's Estate

2nd Place: BMW Car Club of America Foundation, Tire Rack Street Survival

Events & Public Promotions

1st Place: Kansas City Automotive Museum, Dancing with the Cars

2nd Place: Newport Car Museum, Grand Opening of Museum

3rd Place: Kansas City Automotive Museum, The Great Car Show

Films & Videos

1st Place: Newport Car Museum, Newport Car Museum Gallery Videos

2nd Place: New England Auto Museum, Introductory Video

3rd Place: Veit Automotive Foundation, Veit Automotive Foundations Video Series

Interpretive Exhibits

1st Place: BMW Car Club of America Foundation, Heros of Bavaria: 75 Years of BMW Motorsport

2nd Place: National Packard Museum, Packard: America's Rolls Royce

3rd Place: National Packard Museum, Packard's Master Salesman Training Program

Newsletters & Magazines

1st Place: The Cadillac-LaSalle Club Museum and Research Center, “Highlights”

2nd Place: Veit Automotive Foundation, “The Vintage”

3rd Place: Newport Car Museum, Newsletter

Web Design & Online Communications

1st Place: Newport Car Museum, Website

2nd Place: Newport Car Museum, Social Media

DIVISION II (institutions with an annual budget greater than $300,000)

Books & Exhibit Catalogs

1st Place: Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, Cocktails of the Auburn Automobile Company

Collateral Materials

1st Place: Studebaker National Museum, Studebaker National Museum 2018 Calendar

2nd Place: Studebaker National Museum, Keep On Truckin’ Rackcard

3rd Place: National Corvette Museum, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Educational Programs

1st Place: National Automobile Museum, Harrah Collection, History Symposium: 1970's Activism- Voices for Change

2nd Place: Gilmore Car Museum, The Dust Bowl and the Automobile

2nd Place: Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed, Lego Pit Stop

3rd Place: AACA Museum, Automotive Assembly Program

Events & Public Promotions

1st Place: Stahl's Automotive Foundation, The Great Race

2nd Place: National Corvette Museum, KY 225 Exhibit Promotions

3rd Place: Owls Head Transportation Museum, 2017 Summer Season

Films & Videos

1st Place: National Corvette Museum, Corvette History Video

2nd Place: Owls Head Transportation Museum, Theatrical Trailer 2017 Summer Promotion

3rd Place: National Corvette Museum, Museum Overview Video

Interpretive Exhibits

1st Place: Reynolds- Alberta Museum, The McLaughlin Story

2nd Place: National Corvette Museum, Kentucky: 225 Years on the Move

2nd Place: San Diego Automotive Museum, Japanese Steel

3rd Place: Gilmore Car Museum, Designed for Delivery: The Early American Truck

Newsletters & Magazines

1st Place: Owls Head Transportation Museum, “Strut & Axle Magazine”

2nd Place: Gilmore Car Museum, “The Industry Standard”

3rd Place: National Corvette Museum, “America's Sports Car Magazine”

Web Design & Online Communications

1st Place: Owls Head Transportation Museum, Kickstarter Campaign: Restoring the Red Baron

2nd Place: World of Speed Motorsports Museum, PNW Community Racing Timeline

3rd Place: Gilmore Car Museum, Social Media: The Great Race


  • 72 total entries
  • All 8 categories were entered
  • Events/Public Promotions, Newsletters/Magazines, Educational Programs, and Interpretive Exhibits were the most entered categorie


  • 23 participating institutions (19 museums, 4 clubs/foundations)
  • 10 Division I entries
  • 13 Division II entriesJUDGING
  • 6 judges from both Kentucky and Ohio institutions, plus a student class
  • Western Kentucky University, South Central Kentucky College, Kent State University


  • 16 – 1st Place winners
  • 17 – 2nd Place winners
  • 12 – 3rd Place winners
  • 1st Place awards were ordered from Sparta Pewter, 2nd and 3rd Place award certificates were printed in house

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Be Da Vinci, DALI, or Michelangelo? The Beauty of Causing Wonder.
By Pandora Paúl Sordon, Curator/Education Director
San Diego Automotive Museum

PandoraPTheories of museum approaches abound. What you have to work with often dictates your approach to the content of your exhibits. Do you have an established collection? Or is your content variable and rotating? Both? Even if you have an established and hallowed collection, do you stay offering your objects to be the source of all things only Daimler, for example?

We as humans crave unique and interactive experience; hence new methodologies are being introduced to bolster engagement. Craft beer events replace fundraising galas and virtual tours circumvent the need visiting for brick and mortar museums. (Or do they?) Automotive museums being the protectors and purveyors of intriguing automotive creations and dreams, have the duty to relay the value of these vehicles in the development of transportation and culture today.

The question is, how do we entice the public to see these icons of the automotive age? Do we simply run exhibits of established, revered makes? As is true with any industry, time marches on and the significance to the masses of automotive pillars of the past fades from social consciousness. How do we, as curators and historians, make history relevant today? How do we even get eyes and the associated bodies into our museums to even transmit the content?

Aside from virtual approaches, how do we foster younger generation interest in Delahaye, Talbot Lago, or Tucker? For those who love cars, the value of such cars is self-evident, but what about the general public? Makers who currently produce exotics (i.e., Bugatti) are an easier sell as they are still in the popular realm. But how do we ignite the spark of interest required to come into our galleries?

My role at the San Diego Automotive Museum is a combination of Curator and Education/Community Outreach director. This affords me exposure to emerging trends amongst our target audiences of youth and the stalwart auto enthusiasts. It allows me to step outside of my own biases and collection. By staying in tune with where the current interest lays, we can develop new experiences for our target audiences, we should develop exhibits, not only events, that center on these new topics.

While many museums do indeed have events that stay abreast of new interests, (car meets, rally events, social events) what I have not seen frequently are actual exhibits to introduce and delve into these new facets of car culture. I believe we also need to be more global in our approach, and acknowledge our own biases toward our own cultures and our special corners of automotive history. The automobile has touched every culture on earth. Let us be inclusive of other cultures’ approaches to the fabrication or modification of automobiles. What are the current trends in other cultures? We should do research and develop exhibits concentrating what they are doing in the automotive museum/classic car venues.

To some, this approach may be sacrilege. Why invest our resources in current trends? Why not stay classical in our approach? My question is…why not progress? Why not be revolutionary in our vision to present topics that hold current fascination? Bring patrons through the doors and then impress visitors with the classic vehicles along with the headliner exhibits?

If one uses the analogy of the art world, the classics of Greek sculpture and paintings of Michelangelo are indeed breathtaking. However, which artists adorn calendars or dorm rooms? You are more likely to see what was once seen as only passing trends by some…you see Monet, Manet, Dali, Picasso, not so much the classics of Micaelango or Vermeer. When you think of inspirational figures, you think of Einstein, Tesla, Jobs, not so much of Socrates, Edison or Rockefeller.

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At the San Diego Automotive Museum, we seek out emerging trends.

logo jsI noticed the attendance at Japanese car events was astounding. It dwarfed what I saw at standard car meets, and the age group were those that grew up with the main transport in their lives being Japanese. The area was entitled to its own exhibit. It engaged the collecting market from the ages of 18 to 30. It crossed cultures and reached out to Japanese car manufacturing community which is now the largest car manufacturing country in the world.

It was a stunning success. By giving a high level overview of Japanese auto development, we covered several areas of interest, from everyday workhorse pickups, to Kei cars, to sports and exotics. We saw patrons we did not normally attract, who, in turn, were also exposed to other classic automotive examples.

1969 Toyota 2000GT1969 Toyota 2000 GT  

1969 Subaru 3601969 Subaru 360 Kei Car

1981 Honda City1987 Honda City with built in Motocompo Scooter      1966 Toytoa Stout 1966 Toyota Stout


In listening to the interests of the popular tastes, I tuned into Southern California, (San Diego in particular), and Mexico being the epicenters of the Off Road Racing phenomenon and history. The origins of vehicles such as the Meyers Manx, and Off Road legends like McMillin Racing and Ironman Ivan Stewart, consumer vehicles such as Broncos and Jeeps, and racing events such as the SCORE Baja 1000, the NORRA 1000, the Mint 400 and the King of the Hammers.

1968 Bull Fighter VW Chassis resized1968 “Bullfighter” logo small1968 King Body 1955 VW Chassis

To be honest, prior to delving into this area, it held little interest for me (my bias.) Once I researched the area, sourced vehicles and learned the technology, it became “lit”. Being able to participate in the Baja 1000 in a chase truck, I became entranced with the experience. The use of a machine to traverse incredible challenges in terrain and the testing of human mettle in driving and surviving vehicle failure.

Lastly, Rat Rods!

logo rr Dodge Bros King Copper Rat resized

1929 Dodge Brothers Copper King Rat


Rat rods have been derided by others in the car hobby for being shoddily built, disintegrating hulks of questionable viability. One thing I noticed, however, is one rat rod amongst several pristine restored classics and high dollar hot rods will elicit more interest than all the surrounding iconic vehicles. The external appearance of rust and decay belies the creativity and fabricating quality underneath the skin. Because this is not a “normal” topic in automotive museums, patrons were intrigued. Upon entering Glorious Rat Rods: Diamonds in the Rust, they couldn’t quite fathom what they were looking at, but they were fascinated. Once they learned of the quality build and the creative details of each of the rats, they fell in love. By also incorporating rat rod automotive artwork, we raised the aesthetic interest as well. Don’t like cars, but were dragged here by your kids? Check out the artwork!

Ken Witney Skeleton Grille
Ken Witney Skeleton Grille
humming bird w forks resized
Brian Samuels Hummingbird 
Jerry Bee Apache desk
Jerry Bee Apache Desk


By presenting a newer topic in automotive culture, we got new audiences in the door and introduced them to classic Italian sports cars, 1930s vehicles, Lowriders and classic motorcycles. Vocational schools made special trips to use the Rat Rods to show welding skills. They came for the Rat Rods, in droves. And they made repeat visits.

With an unusual, progressive topic of the Rat Rods SDAM gained more press interest. Everyone wanted to talk about Rat Rods! We soon had exposure in national magazines and international coverage (magazine and TV coverage.) Jay Leno’s Garage did a spotlight on one of our rat rods, “The Cockroach”, a 1941 Dodge truck Rat Rod on a 1992 Toyota Chassis with sealed wheel wells.

1941 Dodge Pick up Rat Rod The Cockroach resized1941 Dodge Pickup Rat Rod “The Cockroach”

I would appeal to your creativity and your passion. Be a Tesla (the original) in your programming and exhibits. Dare to step outside the parameters of your collection. Stretch the definitions of topics. Do outreach to seemingly disparate elements of automotive culture and history. Be Da Vinci, show those unique and odd creations that fire the imagination and bring the people in.

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Join the new NAAM Facebook Group! This space is in conjunction with the NAAM Online Community and is a great place to share successes and challenges, gather ideas, and network with member museums. Go to

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World-Forum1World Forum For Motor Museums 2018 – Speaker programme announced!

We are pleased to reveal the detailed conference programme for the World Forum, being held at the British Motor Museum and Coventry Transport Museum between 3rd and 7th September 2018.

More than 25 speakers from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, the USA and the UK will be sharing their knowledge and expertise in a programme packed with content covering everything from income generation to vehicle conservation and much else. The four themes of resilience and sustainability, collections, engaging audiences and motor museums for the 21st century are illustrated with presentations and debate.

Full details of the programme are now available at – information about conference hotels, partner programme and how to book a place are also available.

Tim Bryan

British Motor Museum

Don’t forget to take advantage of our ‘Early Bird’ rate for delegate fees – we’ve extended the deadline by one week to 6th July!

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