Exhibits So Special, They’re Only Here For A Short Time!

Designed for Delivery: The Early American Truck 
Open through Spring 2018
This special exhibit opened to the public on Saturday, May 20, 2017! Taking visitors down the road to history, “Designed for Delivery” features some of the most iconic and unusual pickup trucks produced from the turn of the 20th century through the 1960s. 


“Jay B. Rhodes: The Patent King”
Open through November 2017
The Rhodes Collection features a sampling of artifacts from private collectors invented by Kalamazoo local, Jay B. Rhodes.  Also known as “Kalamazoo’s Edison,” Rhodes filed over 230 patents in his lifetime (1865-1931) for items such as road graters, fishing lures, dump cars used in the building of the Panama Canal, innovative oil bottles, and what is recognized as the world’s first GPS, the Rhodes Pathfinder.

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“Realistic to Whimsical: Tin Toy Cars of Yesteryear”
From the collection of Jack & Joanne Nottingham
An exhibit of over 150 post-WWII tin toys from the renowned, never-before-seen Nottingham Collection features some of the rarest and most sought after toys produced in occupied Germany and Japan. From the stunning lithography to motorized examples from Mar, Bandai, and Kosuge, to the intriguing clockwork mechanisms by Schuco and Techno Fix, it is sure to stir many childhood memories.

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Permanent Exhibit: The Art Fitzpatrick Collection
Art Fitzpatrick, one half of the team that created some of the most eye-catching advertising artwork for General Motors from 1959 to 1971, passed away on November 14, 2015 in Carlsbad, California at the age of 96. Just months before his death, Mr. Fitzpatrick donated several hundred pieces of his artwork—originals, ad mockups, and limited edition prints—to the Gilmore Car Museum. Fifty works were selected to be showcased in an all-new art gallery that flanks the Automotive Heritage Center’s Main Gallery. His artwork, often set in exotic locals, depicted romance and a glamour as never seen before in automotive advertising. Even today, Fitzpatrick is regarded as a major influence to every car designer and automotive artist around the world.

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Permanent Exhibit: The Negro Motorist “Green Book”
2016 National Association of Automobile Museums Interpretive Exhibits Award-Winner
Decades after the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery, African Americans continued to suffer unequal treatment, especially in the South. Jim Crow Laws discriminated against blacks in nearly every aspect of public life, including travel. Although the roads and highways were free for all to use, doing so was not easy for blacks. The Green Book, written by Victor Green, provided guidance for African American travelers to find safe locations to sleep, eat, shop and purchase gas. Locally, the guide was used by the Idelwild Chamber of Commerce in Michigan to assist black American travelers in the 1950s and 1960s. This exhibit is sponsored by PNC Bank and is a wonderful educational addition to the Museum that you won’t want to miss!

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Permanent Exhibit: The Great Migration
You may have seen the images from the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s – long lines at soup kitchens, farms buried by dirt and gaunt faces peering from dilapidated vehicles. But these illustrate only part of the story. While desperate families were migrating west, automotive designers were creating luxury cars for the ultra-wealthy. This special exhibit takes visitors beyond the dust bowl, with a revealing display of automobiles from the era, including an extraordinary Duesenberg, custom-built for Hollywood’s elite, displayed next to an ancient Ford Model T covered with a family’s only belongings.

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Past Exhibits

The Golden Age of Sports Cars (Closed April 2017) 

2017 National Assoc. of Auto Museums Interpretive Exhibits Award-Winner
This special exhibit highlights two dozen of rarest and most sought after sports cars in the world including: Nicolas Cage’s 1967 Ferrari 275/GTB 4, the race inspired 1955 Mercedes Benz Gull Wing, and an authentic Shelby Cobra 427. Guest Curated by Tom Kayser and John Lacko and sponsored in part by the Mad Dogs & Englishmen British Car Club.

EXHIBITS - American Legends, Hot Rods & CustomsAmerican Legends: Hot Rods & Customs (Closed November 2015) 

You can almost hear the walls rumble with the memories of these great cars from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Guest Curated by Dennis Lesky from the Ionia Hot Rods Shop, this exhibit includes the 1941 Ford purple tail dragger, which inspired one of Mattel’s “First Edition” Hot Wheels toys and the famous Lil Deuce Coupe that appeared on the cover of the 1963 Beach Boys album.

Picture1Mid-Century Performance (Closed September 2016) 

Looking beyond the Museum’s regular collection, the Gilmore has pursued benchmark automobiles from a number of private collectors throughout the United States to create this one of a kind “dream garage” that’s sure to rev up your imagination! Included in this exhibition is a rare 1967 AC Cobra that made Carroll Shelby a household name, a 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, affectionately known as a “Winged Warrior,” and a 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge that sent its rivals scrambling, among many other iconic cars of the era.