Sunday, February 06, 2011

If you are looking to visit car museums in the USA, here is a list not to miss

here is a list of the top 10 in the world: which completely agrees with and they agree that the Henry Ford, the National Corvette, and the Petersen are not to be missed and they surprised me with the Studebaker and the Natl. Auto museum in Reno (formerly the Harrah)

A top 10 list

I'll start in one corner of the USA and work towards California,

far North East is Maine and the Owls Head Transportation Museum:
two miles south of Rockland, eight miles south of Camden, and approximately 85 miles north of Portland. Cars, motorcycles, airplanes, bicycles, + research library and archives

in Massachusetts the Springfield Museums has the Gee Bee Aviation collection, the Indian Motorcycle museum, and car museums
And the Larz Anderson Museum

in New Britain, Connecticutt, is Papa's Dodge, a dealership and museum that has Wednesday cruise nights - burnout contests, and a classic car museum
and Middlebury Connecticut is the Golden Age of Trucking Museum

Rhode Island has 2 new museums (2017)
The Newport Car Museum and and the Audrain

In New York is the Northeast Classic Car Museum in Norwich, half way between Syracuse and Albany, which has been posted online by
and the FDNY New York City Fire Dept museum in Manhattan's Soho district
plus the Long Island Car and Carriage museum

In Newton New Jersey, there is an incredibly thorough snowmobile museum
 look for The Snowmobile Barn a passion of Mr. and Mrs. Klemm who operate D and K Transport

the AACA in Hershey Pennsylvania ,
stop by Allentown and see
or the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing which Bangshift posted a gallery of  you might try the Swigart in Huntingdon, PA
Also the John Rich Museum
and the Boyertown Museum/Penn state museum of transportation
and the Eagles Mere Car and Airplane museum  and
The Simeone is in Philly

In Cleveland Ohio, the Western Reserve Historical Society
Crawford Car and Aviation Museum

the Gilmore in Michigan (doesn't open til May )
in Flint is the Sloan Museum which is focused on Buicks
and if you get into Michigan see the Motorsports Hall of Fame ,
and the Detroit Historic Museum's collection
plus the RE Oldsmobile Museum
Benson Ford Research Center
in Lansing near the capitol bldg is the RE Olds museum
and a must see is the Henry Ford in Dearborn
National Automotive History Collection

In Hartford Wisconsin
and while in Wisconsin, you have to go see the Harley Museum
and at the far north tip of Wisconsin is the Duluth Railroad Museum

In Ohio, see the Packard in Dayton .. ..

and the Volo in Illinois

in nearby Indiana is a Hudson museum Hostetler’s Hudson Auto Museum in Shipshewana
 thought to be the largest and most complete collection of Hudson, Essex, Terraplane, Railton, and Dover cars and trucks
And while Indiana, see the Studebaker National Museum

 In Iowa
National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa

In Tennessee
In Nashville is the Lane Motor Museum
The City Garage Car Museum
International Towing and Recovery Museum and Hall of Fame
And the Floyd Garrett Muscle Car Museum a little east of Knoxville

In Colonial Heights Virginia,
the Keystone Antique Truck and Tractor Museum

In North Carolina, be sure to visit the Richard Petty Museum
309 Branson Mill Rd., Randleman, NC

In South Carolina at the Darlington Speedway there is a stock car museum

The Wellborn Musclecar museum in Alexander City Alabama

In Tupelo Mississippi

In New Orleans is the Wedell Williams Aviation Museum

In Arkansas, the former governor Winthrop Rockefeller donated some of his car collection to the

In Oklahoma
The Hajek Motorsports Museum in Ames Oklahoma
 Phil Silva's Muscle Car Legends Museum

The Microcar museum of Bruse Weiner in Madison Georgia (50 miles from Atlanta) is now sold off via auction, sorry.

an absolute must is the Wheels Through Time in Maggie Valley North Carolina:

In Indiana
Mid America Motorworks, halfway between St Louis and Terre Haute on Hwy 57
and also the Kerstings Cycle Museum
the Indianapolis Speedway museum

While near St Louis,
the Dave Mungenast Classic Motorcycles Museum
and the St Louis Museum of Transportation

and the Punta Gorda muscle car in Florida
Don Garlits Museum in Ocala
Sarasota has the 2nd oldest contiuously operated car museum; Sarasota Classic Car Museum
In Palm Beach Florida is the Staluppi Museum
and in Tallahassee the Automobile Museum even has a huge outboard collection and a Tucker
and the Elliot in  Port St Lucie
in Naples

The only thing I've come across so far in Nebraska is the Union Pacific Museum in Omaha In DeSoto Kansas is Grandpa's Garage and Body Shop Ya gotta see Speedy Bill's! It's the museum of American Speed in Lincoln Nebraska

In the middle of South Dakota is the Pioneer Auto museum
Near Denver Colorado is Terry's private Nash/AMC museum that he welcomes car people to

While in Colorado see the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum
and try to get Terry to show you his private museum of Nash autos near Denver
Near Pikes Peak is the Penrose Heritage Museum Group at the Broadmoor Hotel
and one part of that is the Pikes Peak Hillclimb Museum

So far I only know of one place you must see in Texas
Museum of the American Railroad, just north of Dallas

So far the only museum I know of in Utah is the Price Museum which is mostly pre ww2 rare cars, and has the Peerless Green Dragon, some Miller race cars and some Stutz

In New Mexico
Unser Family race car museum
and 40 miles from Albuquerque is the Lewis Antique Auto museum:

In Pheonix Arizona is the
Penske Auto museum:
plus the Firefighters National Hall of Fame and 90 pieces of firefighting apparatus
plus the
and the Streetcar
and a Harley and motorcycle museum
and the Open Wheel Racing Museum
In Tucson is the Franklin Auto Museum
and the train depot that's been restored
In Chandler is the train and railway museum
In Scottsdale is the

Here in So Cal...
The Nethercutt ,
Justice Brothers ,
Mullin Museum in Ventura focusing on the Art Deco movement of auto design
the Murphy is up by the Mullin, in Oxnard
The Solvang Vintage Motorcycle
Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana
Day Family Classic Car Museum off Iowa Avenue in Riverside
the Riverside International Auto Museum
the Marconi Museum in Tustin
and you ought to see Galpin Ford's display of Roth customs, the Mysterion and Orbitron, plus the Ice Truck  and
in El Segundo Automobile Driving Museum 
New addition to So Cal is the Mercedes Benz Classic Center USA in Irvine

A little farther North near San Francisco, is the Heidrick Antique Tractor and Hays Antique Truck Collections in one location,
and in San Francisco the Academy of Art University museum
and while in San Fran, see Brizios' shop!
Also, the Musee Mechanique on Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 45
and the Academy of Art University Museum in San Fran
and the Talbott Motorcycle Museum near Monterey
Motive Power Collection in the Mendocino County Museum, Willits, California. That's halfway between San Fran and the Oregon border

Roots of Motive Power is an all-volunteer organization founded in 1982 to preserve and restore steam- and diesel-powered equipment used in California’s North Coast logging industry from the 1850s to the present.

In Sacramento is the State Railroad Museum
and the California Automobile Museum
and in nearby Woodland is the Heidrick Agricultural History Museum
Which maybe the California Agricultural Museum

then head over to Reno Nevada to the
Natl. Auto museum (formerly the Harrah)
and the Hays Truck Museum which is now part of the Natl Auto Museum

Up in Tacoma Washington, finally (I've been waiting 4 years) the LeMay museum is open

In Hood River Oregon, the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum

Montana even has a museum

and in Fairbanks Alaska
the Fountainhead

Here's a list of museums by state: but it's 5 years old, and might not be 100% accurate anymore

Here is a link to a list of lots of US auto museums

And for a look at some museums before you go, to make sure it's worth the trip:

And Dennis has compiled an incredible list which he keeps updated, its more complete than mine will ever be!


  1. I have always loved cars. This is the best car site I have ever seen. Thank you. I have a 1919 Model T Ford that I drive every day. I take anyone and everyone for rides. I consider myself a living driving museum.

    1. thank you for your kind words, and the service you do for car enthusiasts! It's very rare that a vintage car owner will share their passion with the people that admire his car, and take them for a ride in it... I hope they catch the bug, and someday do the same for another, a "Pay if forward" love for great old cars

  2. Don't forget the Owls Head Transportation Museum (! Most of our collection still runs. Cars, motorcycles, airplanes, bicycles, + research library and archives...117 Museum Street, Owls Head, ME 04854. And thank you for the radiator mascot/hood ornament guides & links - I found your site while trying to ID some mascots & ornaments in the Museum's collection.

    1. Sorry! I missed adding it, though I've heard of it. I hope that guide was helpful, and if you can add to it, or suggest any other good hood ornament sources of info, please share them.

  3. I have an old hood ornament from my Dad’s collection after he passed away. I believe it’s Pontiac, but I cannot find a match online to verify it. I’m interested in what it is, Year, and worth (if possible). Thanks so much for ANY help you can give me!

    1. good luck with that, you've got a lot of looking around to do. Use google images, use the links I posted. Ask around, post a photo of it on facebook... someone will know what it is. No one will know what it's worth. So, if you like it, keep it, if you don't, throw it away.