Automotive museums offer a wonderful way for fans to connect with the industry.
For those with a passion for automobiles, exploring a car museum is practically a rite of passage. Luckily, the U.S. boasts numerous temples dedicated to automotive wonders, and in this article, we’ve highlighted ten standout destinations.
10 Automotive Museums of Note, USA
We hesitate to develop any top 10 list as there are always more choices available. To that end we offer a list based on those we think should not be missed.
The Henry Ford (Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation and Greenfield Village)
Housed in a sprawling complex that showcases American innovations, with a significant portion dedicated to the automobile industry.
- Address: 20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, MI 48124
- Phone: (313) 982-6001
- Hours: Daily, 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
- Website: thehenryford.org
Petersen Automotive Museum
Renowned for its striking architecture and extensive collection of cars, including Hollywood movie cars, racing cars, and historically significant vehicles.
- Address: 6060 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
- Phone: (323) 930-2277
- Hours: Daily, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
- Website: petersen.org
National Corvette Museum
Dedicated to the iconic American sports car, the Corvette by Chevrolet.
- Address: 350 Corvette Dr, Bowling Green, KY 42101
- Phone: (270) 781-7973
- Hours: Daily, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Website: corvettemuseum.org
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
Located within the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this museum showcases the history of the Indy 500 and racing cars.
- Address: 4750 W 16th St, Indianapolis, IN 46222
- Phone: (317) 492-8500
- Hours: Daily, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
- Website: indyracingmuseum.org
The Nethercutt Collection
Features a broad array of classic, rare, and vintage cars.
- Address: 15151 Bledsoe St, Sylmar, CA 91342
- Phone: (818) 364-6464
- Hours: Tue – Sat, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
- Website: nethercuttcollection.org
Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile MuseumLocated in the original Auburn Automobile Company’s headquarters, it houses a significant collection of cars from these luxury brands.
- Address: 1600 Wayne St, Auburn, IN 46706
- Phone: (260) 925-1444
- Hours: Daily, 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
- Website: automobilemuseum.org
America’s Car Museum (LeMay – America’s Car Museum)
Celebrates America’s love affair with the automobile and features vehicles from Harold LeMay’s collection, which was once the largest privately owned collection of automobiles.
- Address: 2702 E D St, Tacoma, WA 98421
- Phone: (253) 779-8490
- Hours: Daily, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Website: americascarmuseum.org
Mullin Automotive Museum
Focuses on French art deco period cars, especially Bugattis.
- Address: 1421 Emerson Ave, Oxnard, CA 93033
- Phone: (805) 385-5400
- Hours: Sat, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM (limited days, reservation often required)
- Website: mullinautomotivemuseum.com
Gilmore Car Museum
Located on 90 acres, this museum is home to thousands of automobiles and hundreds of old gas pumps.
- Address: 6865 W Hickory Rd, Hickory Corners, MI 49060
- Phone: (269) 671-5089
- Hours: Mon – Fri, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Sat – Sun, 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM (Seasonal hours may vary)
- Website: gilmorecarmuseum.org
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
While primarily known for its motorcycle collection, it also has a significant collection of Lotus race cars.
- Address: 6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy, Birmingham, AL 35094
- Phone: (205) 699-7275
- Hours: Mon – Sat, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Sun, Noon – 5:00 PM
- Website: barbermuseum.org
Planning Your Visit
When planning a visit to an automotive museum, it’s essential to approach it with both curiosity and patience. Begin by researching the museum’s exhibits in advance, either via their website or brochures, so you can identify your must-see displays and allocate time accordingly. Arriving early can help you avoid larger crowds and allow for a more intimate experience with the exhibits. Take advantage of guided tours, if available, as the insights from knowledgeable guides can greatly enrich your understanding.
Remember to wear comfortable shoes, as these museums often cover expansive areas, and you’ll likely be on your feet for extended periods. Finally, engage with interactive displays and take the time to read the plaques or information boards accompanying each vehicle. They often hold fascinating tales of history, design evolution, and technological advancements.
Embracing the journey through automotive history can provide a memorable experience, bridging the past, present, and future of transportation.
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Photos under license from Adobe Stock. Logo courtesy of them museum.