NAAM E-NEWS – July 2019, Volume 21, Issue 2

June 26, 2019 in Newsletter by Courtney Meredith

NAAM E-NEWS - July 2019, Volume 21, Issue 2

In This Issue

President's Message

By: Matt Anderson

Greetings NAAM Members:

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been three months since we all met in South Bend for our 2019 annual conference. I’d like to thank Pat Slebonick, Maria TeKolste, Andy Beckman, Aaron Warkentin, and the whole team at the Studebaker National Museum again for putting together such a terrific program. I’d also like to thank each of our presenters who gave of their time and knowledge in our many sessions, discussions, and tours. Without their efforts, the conference would not have been possible.

Many of you have been kind enough to share your thoughts and reactions on the conference. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, though I’m just as grateful for the constructive criticism you’ve shared as well. I take your opinions seriously, and I’ll do my best to incorporate suggested improvements into next year’s annual conference.

And speaking of next year’s conference, work is well underway on planning our joint meeting with the World Forum for Motor Museums in Naples, Florida. Our gracious hosts at the Revs Institute are wasting no time in booking meeting spaces, setting aside blocks of hotel rooms, and lining up special speakers and tour opportunities. I’ll save the specific details for a later column. Suffice it to say, we’re in for another great experience in November 2020.

Several of our 2019 sessions made a lasting impression on me. Allison Titman’s talk about the American Alliance of Museums and its Continuum of Excellence program did much to

demystify the process of AAM accreditation. While there’s no question that it’s an involved process, it was important to hear that it’s not an impossible one no matter your museum’s size or budget. The road to accreditation is well-traveled, and no one has to take the journey alone. AAM has the tools and the resources to help your museum every step of the way.

Leslie Kendall’s talk on Collecting and the Community was a great reminder of the work that goes into developing a thoughtful, sustainable museum collection. It is tempting, particularly for a fledgling automobile museum, to accept any car that gets offered – particularly if that offer is an outright gift. But nothing is truly free, of course. To accept a vehicle into your collection is to commit to its care and feeding for years – theoretically forever. That’s not the sort of obligation that one should enter into lightly. Collections policies and collecting plans are among the most vital documents an institution should have. The former spells out in detail how you accession – and, when necessary, deaccession – something for your collection. The latter identifies specific vehicles, artifacts and materials that you’d like to collect for your institution. These are pieces that serve your museum’s mission, that don’t strain your financial and logistical resources, and that improve your ability to tell the stories central to your institution. Some careful thought now will go a long way toward preventing difficult and expensive decisions down the road.

I enjoyed Pat Slebonick’s adaptation of the ever-popular “Mistakes Were Made” session, long a staple at AAM’s annual conferences. Yes, it was fun to hear about some of the outlandish blunders we’ve all made (and we’ve all made them at one time or another). More importantly, it was rewarding to me to see our NAAM members open up and share some of their darker moments. When you’re at a NAAM meeting, you’re among friends. We should feel comfortable sharing our mistakes and miscues with one another. In sharing our poor choices and bad decisions, we help our colleagues at other institutions to avoid repeating them. That sort of collaboration and sharing of experiences is exactly the sort of thing that NAAM was established to do.

Our experiment with separate conference tracks on Friday afternoon seemed to work well. The opposing sessions were different enough so as to not cause too much disappointment. People either wanted to attend one or the other – there didn’t appear to be much overlap in the target audiences. I hope we can continue this arrangement, on a limited basis, at future conferences. We always have a number of great speakers and topics, but a surprisingly limited number of slots in which to schedule them. Simultaneous sessions allow us to offer more content without adding more hours to the conference day.

I heard several positive comments about the changes to the NAAMY format too. The new system, in which exceptional entries are nominated for the prize, and then a winner is selected from those nominees, makes a good deal of sense. It’s unlikely that many museums boasted of a third or second-place award under the old system. But I would imagine that we’re all more likely to promote a NAAMY nomination with nearly as much fanfare as a NAAMY win. The NAAMYs are our single most important tool for recognizing and encouraging quality work in our field. Any change that elevates their prestige is a good one.

And on that topic, I’d like to thank Wayne Carini for being a part of this year’s program. Mr. Carini’s television work depends on good storytelling, and a good story is at the heart of any good museum exhibit. I’m grateful for the time and consideration that he put into selecting the AACA Museum’s exhibit Mustang: Six Generations of America’s Favorite Pony Car as our inaugural winner of the Special Achievement in Exhibits award. We look forward to Mr. Carini’s participation again next year.

With the conference behind us, it’s time to look to the summer car show season already underway. I hope to see some of you out on the circuit, and I wish you every success with your museums’ summer programs, events, and activities. As always, don’t hesitate to contact me with any of your NAAM questions or concerns.

All the best,

Matt Anderson

President, National Association of Automobile Museums

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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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Always Give More Than You Promise

We would like to sincerely thank the Studebaker National Museum for hosting an amazing conference, “Always Give More Than You Promise” for NAAM in South Bend, IN. The conference schedule was packed with informative sessions and tours of remarkable collections and museums. There were 79 attendees, representing 65 organizations, 13 Sessions, 5 tours, and behind the scenes tours at the Studebaker National Museum.

Viewing open collections
storageat Studebaker
National Museum
Pierce Arrow


Matt Anderson serves
first piece of 25th
Anniversary cake to Matt Short 
Collin Howard shows
treatment on Army helmets
Conference Session at Aloft


Tatra T87


Stout Scarab


Maria TeKolste leads a tour.


 Brandon Anderson
describes the collection
at the Oliver Mansion

Photos courtesy of Mike Ray Herbert

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
  • Visit South Bend Mishawaka
  • Group Delphi
  • Reliable Carriers, Inc.
  • 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 2019 Conference:

Jenna Beaulieu of the Seal Cove Auto Museum
Kim Cady of Car & Carriage Museum at the Frick Art & Historical Center
Ted O’Dell of the Hackett Auto Museum

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Congratulations to the museums that won NAAMY Awards at the 2019 Annual Conference for their 2018 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

Nominee: BMW Car Club of America Foundation, The ICON: 50 Years of the 2002
Winner: BMW Car Club of America Foundation, The ICON: 50 Years of the 2002

Collateral Materials


  • BMW Car Club of America Foundation, ICON Exhibit Branding
  • Kansas City Auto Museum, Dancing with the Cars Marketing Campaign
  • The Swigart Museum, Adopt-A-Car Brochure

Winner: Kansas City Auto Museum, Dancing with the Cars Marketing Campaign

Events & Public Promotions


  • BMW Car Club of America Foundation, ICON Open House
  • Seal Cove Auto Museum, Brass Club Speakeasy
  • Seal Cove Auto Museum, Senior Mixer

Winner: Seal Cove Auto Museum, Brass Club Speakeasy

Films & Videos


  • BMW Car Club of America Foundation, Charity Rides
  • BMW Car Club of America Foundation, Hobbs & Redman Introduction

Winner: BMW Car Club of America Foundation, Hobbs & Redman Introduction

Interpretive Exhibits


  • BMW Car Club of America Foundation, The ICON: 50 Years of the 2002
  • Seal Cove Auto Museum, Selling Lifestyle & Leisure: Art, Advertising, & the Automobile

Winner: Seal Cove Auto Museum, Selling Lifestyle & Leisure: Art, Advertising, & the Automobile

Newsletters & Magazines


  • BMW Car Club of America Foundation, Street Survival Weekly Newsletter
  • BMW Car Club of America Foundation, BMW CCA Foundation Newsletter

Winner: BMW Car Club of America Foundation, BMW CCA Foundation Newsletter

Online Communications


  • BMW Car Club of America Foundation, ICON Social Media Campaign

Winner: BMW Car Club of America Foundation, ICON Social Media Campaign

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

Books & Exhibit Catalogs


  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, The Amazing Unsers: From Albuquerque to Indianapolis

Winner: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, The Amazing Unsers: From Albuquerque to Indianapolis

Collateral Materials


  • National Automobile Museum The Harrah Collection, Collateral Materials
  • San Diego Automotive Museum, Steampunk Retro: Steampunk with a Retro Twist- Trifold
  • Studebaker National Museum, 2019 Calendar

Winner: National Automobile Museum The Harrah Collection, Collateral Materials

Educational Programs


  • Lane Auto Museum, Lil Learning Lane
  • National Automobile Museum The Harrah Collection, The 1890s: Peril & Power Annual History Symposium
  • National Automobile Museum The Harrah Collection, Auto Museum Adventure – The Science and Technology of the Automobile

Winner: National Automobile Museum The Harrah Collection, Auto Museum Adventure – The Science and Technology of the Automobile

Events & Public Promotions


  • Owls Head Transportation Museum, The Great Race
  • Stahls Automotive Collection, Kids Kicking Cancer Visit
  • Studebaker National Museum, Concours d’Elegance at Copshaholm

Winner: Studebaker National Museum, Concours d’Elegance at Copshaholm

Films & Videos


  • National Corvette Museum, Corvette Hall of Fame Inductee Video
  • Owls Head Transportation Museum, Summer Spotlight Series

Winner: Owls Head Transportation Museum, Summer Spotlight Series

Interpretive Exhibits


  • Lane Auto Museum, The Josef Ganz Story: How a Jewish Engineer Helped Create Hitler’s Volkswagen
  • San Diego Automotive Museum, Glorious Rat Rods: Diamonds in the Rust
  • San Diego Automotive Museum, Steampunk Retro: Steampunk with a Retro Twist

Winner: San Diego Automotive Museum, Steampunk Retro: Steampunk with a Retro Twist

Newsletters & Magazines


  • AACA Museum, “Reflections”
  • National Corvette Museum, “America's Sports Car Magazine”
  • Owls Head Transportation Museum, “Strut & Axle Magazine”

Winner: Owls Head Transportation Museum, “Strut & Axle Magazine”

Online Communications


  • National Automobile Museum The Harrah Collection, New Website
  • National Corvette Museum, Moore Mondays

Winner: National Automobile Museum The Harrah Collection, New Website

*Note: Entry into a category with three or fewer entries does not guarantee a nomination or award.


Selected by Wayne Carini

AACA Museum, Mustang: Six Generations of America’s Favorite Pony Car


  • 54 total entries
  • All 8 categories were entered
    • Events/Public Promotions, Newsletters/Magazines, Collateral Materials, and Interpretive Exhibits were the most entered categories


  • 13 participating institutions
    • 4 Division I entries
    • 9 Division II entries


  • 9 judges selected from organizations nationwide
  • Books, Exhibits, Educational Programs
  • Mary Seelhorst- Exhibit Developer and Writer
  • Pat McInturff- California State University San Bernardino
  • Dar Davis- Executive Director, Krasel Art Center
  • Collateral, Events, Newsletters
  • Jim Allen- Ret Col. Pentagon Public Relations
  • David Conwill – Associate Editor, Hemmings Motor News
  • Larry Edsal – Editorial Director,
  • Video, Online
  • Jeremy Berger- Editor, Filmmaker, Emmy Award Winner
  • Courtney Collins- Editor, Producer, Emmy Award Winner
  • Piper Gianforte- Editor, Producer

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Increasing Activity

By Rob Verbsky, PhD
Owls Head Transportation Museum

When you’re a transportation museum that prides itself on demonstrating its collections, how do you make operations more operational when confronting weather issues? Added to this dilemma is how to integrate the activities throughout the museum when most are only in select areas.

Since its founding in the 1970s, the Owls Head Transportation Museum (OHTM) has prided itself in flying its aircraft and driving its cars for the public. When staff or volunteers have free time and see visitors in the museum, they leap to run a car or an engine. No matter how much we try, though, we can’t beat the weather. The museum is covered in a blanket of snow, fog, or rain for more than half the year. To make matters more frustrating, a rainy day will usually bring more visitors to a museum; sometimes when OHTM hosts its bigger crowds, we are unable to put on a show at all.

Since driving and flying inside is impossible, museum staff decided to think harder about how to give visitors active experiences every day. We knew any changes we made must maintain what current audiences love: close proximity to the museum’s iconic and unusual vehicles. Yet we need to make the entire museum welcoming and engaging for every visitor, regardless of age and interest.

To meet this complex goal, we’re taking inspiration from children’s museums and science centers that emphasize open exploration and interactivity. Most children’s museums and science centers have exhibits and activities about cars and airplanes, but they rarely have the actual vehicles. Visitors at these institutions can design and test their own cars and planes, pretend to drive and fly full-scale mock-ups, and imagine they are fixing them as well. The Association of Science and Technology Centers estimate that more than 70 million people visit 386 member institutions to pretend to do the things that OHTM does in real life.

Since the museum-going public is clearly interested in transportation, the museum staff recognize we need to breakdown or redefine our boundaries. We can be a science center with a transportation theme just as well as we can maintain our traditional role as a history of transportation museum. Both concepts are about using the past to understand the present. The major difference is how much a visitor is passively consuming text and video versus how much they can actively do.

For summer 2019, the museum’s four main exhibit galleries are getting interactive stations matching the exhibit themes. In A Century Ago, which has a replica 1903 Wright Flyer as its centerpiece, visitors will be able to fly an airline flight simulator. They’ll be able to compare the Wright Brothers’ rudimentary controls with the mature yoke and rudder system of a transatlantic airliner. In Faster: The Quest for Speed, visitors can see race cars ranging from a 1907 Renault to a 2002 Ferrari F1, then build and test their own race cars using LEGOS® and a custom drag strip. After viewing a half-dozen World War I aircraft in The Great War exhibit, visitors can test their understanding of the four forces of flight using a vertical wind tunnel and a paper airplane launcher. And for visitors who have never driven a manual transmission—or those who haven’t driven one in decades—a driving simulator will give them that opportunity regardless of the weather and without risk to any of the museum’s collection vehicles.

By locating the interactive elements alongside historic vehicles, the museum can better reinforce the lessons of technological design and change. It is far easier for a visitor to decipher the peculiar levers and cradle that the Wright Brothers used to control their aircraft when its paired with an accurate, modern flight simulator using a yoke and rudder pedals. Instead of using only pictures of race cars to inspire their LEGOS® creations, visitors can model their cars directly from reality.

It also makes the entire museum more inclusive. Museums with a defined children’s areas end up compartmentalizing their visitors. Children seem know that anywhere with a “kids room” has little, if anything, to do or touch in the rest of the museum, leaving the adults to coax the kids into leaving the fun to see the rest of the collections. Going the other way, when adults without children see kids in traditional exhibits, they will sometimes refer the family to the “kids room.” This effectively tells kids and families they are not welcome and decreases the chances they will become repeat visitors.

While we are adapting our existing exhibits, fundamental to future designs will be to include electronic, mechanical or dramatic play components that will enhance visitor experience and help connect them to the original makers and users of the museum’s aircraft, cars, motorcycles and bicycles. This in turn will support the museum’s core mission and reinforce the idea that all are welcome. As the evolution of the museum’s exhibits and programs continues, we’ll be able to claim that history comes alive at the museum every day.

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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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Gilmore Car Museum- Hickory Corners, Michigan
Michigan Humanities Awards Grants for Cultural Programming

LANSING, MI — Michigan Humanities announces $203,101 in grants to 16 Michigan organizations in support of public humanities programming.

The Gilmore Car Museum was awarded $3,850 for the educational program titled Birth of the Automobile: Horse-drawn Buggy to Horseless Carriage.

The educational department will work with a small team of participants, both on site and at select schools, to transform a horse-drawn buggy into a gasoline-powered horseless carriage which resembles a 1909 Holsman High Wheel motor buggy. The project results will be shared with students across Michigan.

-Jay A. Follis, Director of Marketing

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Hackett Auto Museum- Jackson, Michigan
Museum Progress Update

I wanted to take a moment to share a short video with you about the Hackett Auto Museum in Jackson, Michigan.

Progress is coming along nicely with brick and mortar restoration well underway. I am happy to report that we are on track to be in the building by the end of this calendar year with our grand opening scheduled for May of 2020 (the anniversary of Mr. Hackett's birthday).

Your continued interest and support with helping us to become established is greatly appreciated. Please take a moment to watch the attached short video courtesy of our insurance carrier, the Walton Insurance Group, of Jackson.

I would ask that you consider making a donation today by visiting our website and sharing the attached video on your social media accounts to help us spread the word about the Hackett Auto Museum.

With every best wish,

Ted O'Dell, Founder & Executive Director

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