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NAAM E-NEWS – February 2018, Volume 20, Issue 1

March 2, 2018 in Newsletter

NAAM E-NEWS - February 2018, Volume 20, Issue 1

In This Issue

President's Message

By: Mary Ann Porinchak

Greetings NAAM Members,

Winter is almost over, as is the flu season thankfully. I don’t know about your area but NE Ohio had it really bad this year—we will happily move forward into spring.

It seems as though spring is already here. The temperature was 74 degrees yesterday. It was just a teaser though, it will be back in the twenties tonight and winter will return with a vengeance. We have a saying here in Ohio, “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change.” Oddly we can have several seasons in a day. It’s difficult to get acclimated here but it serves to remind us that nothing in this life is static or stationary. Just as the earth revolves so does our weather. Our days move along with or without us, our families grow, careers change, and our opportunities and challenges come and go. We are in a state of constant motion. Fancy that, automobile museums in a state of motion!

Now that we know everything is moving around us, we must be prepared, watching and ready for the next opportunity, experience, challenge or choice that comes our way. That brings me to NAAM and why NAAM exists.

NAAM is here to help us identify the opportunities, challenges and choices that surround us. NAAM helps us gain experience and knowledge from professionals in the field through programming and networking. NAAM keeps us up-to-date on trends and issues facing automobile museums through our conferences. NAAM helps us to sharpen our skills and increase our knowledge to benefit our respective institutions and to elevate the standards by which Automotive Museums in general operate. In short, the National Association of Automobile Museums is here to support you professionally.

In this issue you will find the Conference Registration. Stop right now and fill it out. Do yourself a favor and come to the conference. The conference is the most valuable time you will spend in professional development. It will also be the best opportunity you will have with colleagues in your field—to compare notes, ideas and even complaints, if need be. It’s a great opportunity to put faces with names and get reacquainted with old friends or make new ones—it is a great time for camaraderie with those who truly understand what your day at the museum is like. Don’t miss out—we all gain from attending the NAAM Conference.

I want to be the first to congratulate all who were able to embrace the task of entering the NAAMY’s. I know from personal experience just what kind of time commitment is involved in submitting an entry. (May I say that I miss Christine???) Our member museums create and host wonderful events and exhibits all year. This is a great way to share them and show them off. It’s also a great way to celebrate your accomplishments and promote your museum in the media. In addition, NAAMY Awards can give leverage when applying for grant funding. Congratulations to all who entered, I look forward to sharing ideas again this year.

Speaking of the conference, I want to thank the AACA Museum’s, Jeff Bleimeister and Nancy Gates for the hours of planning, follow-up and scheduling they have committed as hosts of the conference. All who have hosted in the past understand the challenge of adding another full-time job to the one you already have in your museum. Thank you Jeff and Nancy we truly appreciate your hard work.

I also want to thank Jarrid Roulet and the Guidance Committee for the hours they have spent helping the host committee put together an outstanding conference. I know it will be a truly memorable one.

In addition, I want to thank the Board of Directors for their vision and willingness to embrace change by planning for the future. Each person on our Board is busy in their own position with their respective museums but they willingly carve out time to design and develop programs and strategies that address the changing needs of our membership so that we move forward as an organization. They are to be congratulated and applauded.

Sadly, I must report that we have lost a very good friend and enthusiastic Board Member, Paula Brandes. Paula fought fiercely in her battle against cancer but even the greatest warriors must eventually find rest. Paula went to rest on February 4, 2018. She is sadly missed. Our hearts break for her family and friends and especially for her colleagues at the San Diego Automobile Museum.

You can see, the future is unknown and it is upon us at lightning speed. (Think about how fast paced your days and months have become.) Just like our weather, we cannot control it nor can we avoid it. We must be prepared, ready and willing to accept the ride that comes our way, enthusiastically embracing change as it is inevitable. However, we do not have to take that ride alone. We can choose to face the future road ahead and whatever twists and turns it may take with the right tools, training and passengers--our NAAM colleagues. I look forward to seeing all of you in Hershey, Pennsylvania at the NAAM Conference.

Warm Regards,

Mary Ann Porinchak

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

Welcome to the NAAM 2018 Annual Conference! The theme for the conference is “Storytelling” hosted by the AACA Museum in Hershey, PA. The conference schedule is packed with informative sessions and networking as well as fantastic tours. For the first time, break out sessions are offered on Tuesday, April 10th. Choose from Udvar-Hazy Center Highlights Tour, Behind the Scenes Smithsonian Institution Automobile Collection, Highlights Tour of National Air & Space Museum, or the America on the Move exhibition tour. Each tour on this day is limited, selections will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis based on date of received registration. You will not want to miss it! Please click here for Conference Welcome, Schedule, and Registration!


NAAM Conference Dates: April 9-13, 2018 (New Monday – Thursday pattern this year!)

Host Hotel: SpringHill Suites Hershey Near the Park- they are just across the parking lot from the AACA Museum – easily walkable.   Special NAAM Conference Rate - $129 per night + tax. Attendees should reference “AACA Museum NAAM Conference” when calling

Phone: 717-583-2222

Check in time: 3:00 PM Check Out Time: 11:00 AM

Closest Airport: Harrisburg International Airport

Regional (larger) Airports: BWI Baltimore/Washington International about 1 ½ hours away; Philadelphia @ 2 hours drive; Washington, DC about 3 hours drive.

  • Nancy Gates, Director of Marketing and Communications, AACA Museum

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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.

Apply Now: The application process is easy, completed online, and if you have any questions feel free to contact Christine Bobco at The deadline is March 9, 2018.

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

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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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Keeping Collections Safe in Difficult Climates
By John Giltinan

The Elliott Museum

The Elliott Museum is located on Hutchinson Island on the east coast of Florida near the town of Stuart. The museum was established by Mr. Harmon Elliott and dedicated to the memory of his father, Sterling Elliott. Sterling Elliott was an early bicycle manufacturer from the Boston area. In 1900 he sold his bicycle factory to his good friends the Stanley brothers who adopted the basic engineering from Elliott’s Quadricycle for their first steam cars. We have a collection of approximately 100 antique cars, trucks, motorcycles and boats. Maintaining an antique vehicle collection housed on a barrier island, a few hundred feet from the Atlantic Ocean presents unique challenges to our curatorial staff.

The most significant problem that we struggle with is corrosion caused by wind borne salt spray. Vehicles cannot be outside for more than 30 minutes or they will be covered with a salty film that must be washed off immediately. For this reason, we are unable to display any vehicles outside. Our museum building as well as a separate garage and workshop building, are carefully climate controlled. We monitor temperature and humidity constantly to ensure they remain as stable as possible. Maintaining a clean, stable environment in the garage is more difficult but an important endeavor as we store up to 15 vehicles at time in this location. We struggle with salt spray as it intrudes into the building every time we open one of the large roll up doors. Opening the doors also causes a spike in humidity. Unfortunately, we must move vehicles around and can’t avoid this problem entirely, making it necessary to spend a lot of time cleaning the cars to prevent corrosion. We are very grateful to the dedicated volunteers who help us!

Florida’s hot and humid climate causes other unexpected problems- such as batteries having short life spans, even when kept in climate-controlled environments. Car batteries will sometimes quit (with little or no warning) after only a year. Flashlights, thermostats and other battery powered equipment suffers the same fate. For this reason we check and test all of our batteries frequently.

Florida’s climate impacts plastic compounds causing them to deteriorate in ways seldom seen in northern climates. I recently inspected a 1975 Cadillac that had been sitting untouched in a local garage for 21 years. The plastic bumper filler panels had literally turned to dust, crumbling when touched. Other plastics will become gooey and sticky as they return to the elements. We find that when objects are kept out of sunlight in climate-controlled surroundings, and are cleaned frequently, this problem can be minimized.

The hot Florida sun will accelerate fading and will crack dash pads and vinyl upholstery. This is another reason that we limit sun exposure of our vehicles to shows and special appearances. The sun is also very hard on old lacquer paint finishes. Our museum building was constructed with heavily tinted glass windows but I still try and keep vehicles and other artifacts away from any natural light wherever possible.

The local climate is also very hard on our building’s mechanical and HVAC systems. Our five-year-old A/C cooling tower is already showing significant rust issues. We have a back up generator to provide power for emergency lighting and our computer servers. It too has been affected by the salt air. The diesel fuel storage tank failed in less than five years.

The museum is equipped with a unique mechanized automobile display system. The display houses 54 vehicles on three levels. It utilizes a computer-controlled carrier and an elevator to move vehicles from their berths to a centrally located turntable where they can be rotated for viewing. While very entertaining, this system is extremely complex and is no longer supported by the company that built it as they are now out of business. My co-curator, Don Gilbert has used his electrical engineering background to figure out the operating system and perform in house repairs to keep the thing running… most of the time.

The building inspectors and local fire department insisted that the cars in this display be drained of fluids as a condition of granting our Occupancy Permit. We followed the long term storage guidelines prepared by the Department of the Interior, draining the old oil from the crankcases, then temporarily filling them with synthetic oil, turned the engines over, then drained them again. The cooling systems were drained, and batteries were removed and sent out for recycling. Once a year we pull the spark plugs, squirt some light oil through the plug holes to lubricate the rings and valves and turn the engines over so that they do not seize.

When disaster strikes, having a Disaster Plan is possibly the single most important documents you can have to ensure your collection, staff, and visitors will be safe. Since hurricanes are another special little pleasure that we must deal with, we have a Disaster Plan that spells out the sequence of events to be followed when a hurricane is bearing down on our area. We must decide when to close the facility and make appropriate announcements in the media. Sandbags are placed at all entrances. Smaller exhibit items, signs, and other small ancillaries are moved to the second floor. While wind damage is not our primary concern, flooding is. Our buildings were constructed to meet the rigorous Miami-Dade building codes, put in place after Hurricane Andrew caused widespread destruction in 1992. Flooding from a hurricane storm surge is a very possible threat as our facilities are so close to the ocean.

We have struggled with the issue of moving vehicles to an alternate location to ride out hurricanes. At present we have 13 vehicles licensed and insured for road use. We have another 25 or so that are operable and could be driven in an emergency. The museum has friends who have offered to store a few vehicles if needed. There are many variables that come into play when examining a decision of this nature. Moving all our vehicles is out of the question. So, which vehicles would we move? Given that we usually only have a couple of days of advance notice, is it reasonable to expect that we could move more than a handful of vehicles? Would an alternate warehouse be any safer than our own facilities? It would be unfortunate to move vehicles into harm’s way rather than away from danger. Given the unpredictable nature of these storms we have reached the conclusion that the best policy is to secure in place and not try to move the cars.

Last year’s hurricane Irma was particularly difficult to prepare for as the storm track predictions kept changing. We followed our disaster plan, secured the facilities and then left the island as it was under a mandatory evacuation order. Our primary goal is to first make sure that the people are safe, then take care of the building and its contents. After doing everything we could at the museum we then had to secure our own homes and wait out the storm. It took about three very unpleasant days for the storm to completely pass through the area. The bridges to Hutchinson Island were closed and no one was permitted on the island until the local authorities gave the all clear. The museum’s electricity was out for several days so there were no climate controls during that time. The resultant spike in humidity was hard on the collections but unavoidable. We do not have a generator large enough to run the air conditioning equipment. Even if we did, fuel stockpiles would not last long. Most of Florida lacks access to natural gas which is the best way to power back-up generators. We were fortunate this time and only lost about a dozen trees. The building had some damage to the HVAC systems and a large cover was blown off a roof top vent. That item was recovered, repaired and replaced. We had no flooding or water intrusion.

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The Henry Ford Museum- Dearborn, Michigan Cars, Clocks, And Watches Symposium

Henry Ford’s early and lifelong passion for timekeepers, and the important connections between 19th-century New England watch manufacturing and 20th-century automobile mass-production, have never before been comprehensively examined. With a roster of important speakers and at the perfect venue, these themes will be developed at the September 20-22 symposium sponsored by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors. Speakers also will address the history of car clocks, timing of auto races, and the important collection of clocks and related tooling at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.

Museum or NAWCC membership is not required, and all are welcome to attend the conference. It opens with a private after-hours reception and dinner in the museum, followed by a day and picnic lunch in Greenfield Village, a next day of presentations in the museum auditorium, and a candlelight evening banquet in the Eagle Tavern.

Details and registration are at and by contacting symposium chairman Bob Frishman, or 978-475-5001.

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Blackhawk Museum- Danville, California
Proposed SCM Insider’s Guide to Automotive Museums - opportunity for consideration

Dear Fellow Automotive Museum Associate,

Sports Car Market Magazine produces a series of Insider’s Guides to Concours d’Elegance and Restorations, and to Monterey, Scottsdale and Amelia Island events.

In talking with them about the Concours/Restorer Guide format we asked if they’d consider publishing a similar guide to Automobile Museums…and they expressed an interest and have provided the details of what it would take to make an “Insider’s Guide to Automotive Museums” happen.

In promoting our Museum we are always looking for opportunities that have an extended shelf life for potential readers/subscribers etc. so we are very keen to share this opportunity to help make it happen with SCM with trying to get enough museums to participate in order to make it happen.

Here’s the short version.

  • The printed Guide would be 5.3/8” x 8.5”. vertical format
  • They would print 30,000 or so.
  • 15,000 distributed to subscribers (similar to the 2018 Concours Guide that was included with latest SCM issue)
  • Distribution at Monterey, Amelia, Scottsdale etc events.
  • Balance distributed to participating museums
  • An digital download version would also be available
  • It would not have an issue date/expiration date so would have an extended (2 year +/-) shelf life.

The cost of the ads would be;

  • Full Page - $1000
  • Cover - $2000

Details re dates (deadline/print/initial distribution etc.) are still to be advised but I anticipate they’d look at Q2, depending upon response.

To make it happen SCM would need to get at least 27 museums to advertise.

Each advertising Museum would get a section written about their museum along with their details. Ideally, they’d also include a listing of many, if not all of the automotive museums so it’s a complete Automotive Museum resource, even for those smaller museums that may not have available ad budgets.

In my conversations with SCM I had suggested that it would be a more valuable resource to those looking to visit car museums if it was solely focused on museums, and did not include ads from auction companies/car dealers/parts companies ads. They agreed….but if that’s the case they need help in getting the number of Museums to participate necessary to make it happen.

PLEASE give this opportunity some serious consideration. I am not in the ad sales business but if we can collectively help support this Guide which in turn will support our museums, I believe it will be worthwhile opportunity. The Guide could have a life of at least two years, plus a digital version that can be shared with our respective museum members and potential visitors.

I would like to gauge potential interest in this Automotive Museums marketing concept and advise Sports Car Market that is a viable opportunity, so please let me know if you’re interested or any comments you may have.

Just sent me a brief emailed response if you’re interested based upon the details provided above, or if you have further questions. Based upon the number of responses I will advise status and, hopefully next steps.

Thank you,
Timothy P. McGrane, Executive Director

3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle
Danville, California 94506-4652
Tel. +1.925.736.2280 ext 100

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World Forum for Motor Museums: Venue Announced
A biennial meeting for motor museum professionals, principals, owners and collectors.

The Forum this year will be held at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon which is situated in the Midlands, the industrial heart of the UK where the majority of our automobile manufacturers were based and fortuitously close to Shakespeare Country.

This gives us lots of opportunities for some very cultural evenings to add to the day to day delivery of academic and pragmatically based presentation of papers.

The Forum is planned for September, bracketed between the Beaulieu and Goodwood events with Bonhams hosting our first ‘get together’ at Beaulieu. More information can be found at

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