Our history begins with a passion for preserving it.
The Gilmore Car Museum began in 1963 when Donald S. Gilmore’s wife Genevieve gave him a 1920 Pierce Arrow for his birthday. Restoring that classic vehicle—which is still on display at the museum—ignited a passion. Over the years that followed, Donald continued buying and restoring great cars. To accommodate his collection—which soon grew to over 30 vehicles—he acquired 90 acres of farmland in southwest Michigan. He also purchased several historic barns, had them dismantled, and moved to the site—a stroke of inspiration that gives our museum its unique, rustic character. It was Genevieve who came up with the idea of turning the collection into a museum, which would allow future generations the one-of-a-kind collection. The Gilmore’s established a non-profit foundation and opened the museum to the public for the first time on Sunday, July 31, 1966.
An amazing site to see.
Today, the Gilmore Car Museum campus includes numerous historic structures, including vintage dealerships, a small-town train station, a fully-functioning 1941 Silk City Diner, a recreated 1930s Shell Station, and more. Stroll the grounds and you’ll often catch a glimpse of an antique car out for a drive. Along with the exceptional collection of vehicles, you’ll also find over 100 restored children’s pedal cars on exhibit, plus one of North America’s largest displays of automotive mascots. It’s truly a place like no other.
The Gilmore Car Museum is a founding member of the National Association of Automobile Museums, and a member of the American Alliance of Museums, the American Association for State and Local History, the Michigan Museums Association, and the MotorCities National Heritage Area, affiliate of the National Park Service.