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Gilmore Car Museum Opens Year Round

Museum Experiences Unprecedented Growth

Andy Bolig - December 19, 2011 01:41 PM

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It is a very exciting time for us,” said museum executive director Michael Spezia, “as we become a resource for a much larger community.

The ever-expanding Gilmore Car Museum, a favorite destination which has been visited by more than a million guests since opening to the public in 1966, has begun year-round hours for the first time in its 45-year history.

Opening the facility all year was a classic move by an organization driven by its success. With the completion of museum’s largest expansion to date—an all-new $5 million, 32,000 square foot Automotive Heritage Center—visitors and area students alike will be treated a large portion of the collection all year long. The Center will feature a large exhibit gallery, a state-of-the-art multimedia theater, and an expansive research library and archives, as well as educational and interactive areas, a museum store, offices, and artifact storage facility.
 
Fashioned as an early 1900s factory, the new Heritage Center actually connects to one of the museum’s historic barns, which leads to five additional exhibit galleries as well as the vintage Franklin Auto Dealership. The historic campus, which contains more than a dozen structures including a train depot, 1930s service station and 1940s diner, will open seasonably from April through November.
 
Long renowned as one of the top car museums in America, the Gilmore Car Museum continues to experience unprecedented success and growth. Visitor attendance has routinely out paced national trends and within the last three years alone nearly 80 collector cars have been donated to the collection which now numbers near 300 vehicles.“It is a very exciting time for us,” said museum executive director Michael Spezia, “as we become a resource for a much larger community.”
 
Recently the museum constructed the Restoration and Education Center for its “Gilmore Garage Works” high school program, partnered with the H. H. Franklin Club in recreating a early Franklin Motor Car dealership and completed a new exhibit wing. In 2011, a new building dedicated to exhibiting vintage motorcycles opened and announcements followed that three more prominent museums—Cadillac–LaSalle, Lincoln, and Model A Ford—would each being joining the Gilmore Campus with museum structures of their own.
 
Also on site are:
• Classic Car Club of America Museum
• Pierce-Arrow Museum
• Franklin Collection at Hickory Corners
• Midwest Miniatures Museum and the
• Tucker Historical Collection and Library
 
“When Donald and Genevieve Gilmore opened their private collection to the public nearly 50 years ago, they invested the Gilmore Car Museum with a mission to teach and inspire,” said museum executive director Michael Spezia. Today, just as when the Gilmores first presented the non-profit museum to the community, it is driven by success. The Gilmore Car Museum, located in the heart of west Michigan, midway between Detroit and Chicago and northeast of Kalamazoo, is now open year-round. To plan your visit please go to: www.GilmoreCarMuseum.org or call the museum at 269-671-5089.

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