Extraordinary Opportunities to “Time Travel” at the Gilmore Car Museum on May 19th

Written by Jay Follis, Director of Marketing

The Gilmore Car Museum, near Kalamazoo, MI puts more than a hundred pre-WWII vehicles in motion during its annual Pre-1942 Showcase Car Show held on Saturday, May 19th.

The show is dedicated to all motor vehicles built in 1942 and earlier representing both the first fifty years of the automobile as well as cars that established the Gilmore Car Museum collection when it opened to the public in 1966.

This show is NOT your typical car show and is not like any of the other 18 car shows held at the Museum each summer!

With the growing popularity of TV shows and movies featuring time travel, such as Doctor Who, Timeless, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow to name a few, spending the day on the Gilmore Car Museum’s historic campus during Gilmore Pre-1942 Showcase is an opportunity to see “AUTHENTIC TIME TRAVEL”!

At the Pre-1942 Showcase you’ll enjoy seeing several unique cars, trucks, motorcycles, and bicycles from the earliest days of motorized transportation. What makes this event unique is that rather than remaining static in one parking spot all day, most of the vehicles at this show will be in motion.

Owners, often dressed in corresponding vintage attire, are encouraged to start their vehicles and drive them throughout the Museum’s historic campus. Don’t be surprised by encountering an 1880s High Wheeler bicycle (also known as a “Penny Farthing” or “Ordinary”) peddling past the small-town train depot or a 1928 Model A Ford pulling up front of the Model A Ford dealership building.

Guests will enjoy special demonstrations that include the 1886 Benz—an authentic re-creation of the very first motor car—being started and driven. If you prefer something more modern, you can learn how early cars were started by a hand-crank.  You’ll be fascinated by witnessing a rare Stanley steam-powered auto, much like a steam train, being fired up and driven. When a 1908 Baker Electric car quietly passes by, you could be stunned to realize its 110-year-old technology.

The Gilmore Pre-1942 Showcase, held on Saturday, May 19th, will feature early vehicles rarely ever seen, a narrated drive-by parade, vintage-style carnival games for children, and free Model T rides.

One of the Museum’s newest educational programs, “The Abernathy Kids,” will also be unveiled to guests. This is the true story of how two brothers—aged 9 and 6 years old—traveled in a 1909 Brush Runabout from New York City to Oklahoma City in 1910 by themselves. In an era before dependable roads the boys drove over 2,500 miles, came to West Michigan with a special stop in Battle Creek (to see how their morning cereal was made!), before continuing home. Meet the two local youths playing the part of the Abernathy Kids and an identical 1909 Brush Runabout that ill be making its way to area schools this year.

Besides the wonderful trip “back in time” throughout the Museum’s historic campus—complete with a working 1941 diner, a 1930s service station, and a recreated dealership row—guests will discover one of the very first Model T Fords built, coming out of the factory in late 1908 as the 131st car completed out of the more than 15 million produced. Inside the 1928 Ford dealership you’ll find the very first Model A produced, which was given by Henry Ford to his close friend and noted inventor Thomas Edison.

As an added bonus for “time traveling” guests a special reduced admission for the Gilmore Pre-1942 Showcase held Saturday, May 19th is only $14 per adult, with kids 11 and under admitted FREE. Gilmore Car Museum Members are also always free and, as part of Kalamazoo’s Cultural Exchange, members of six additional area attractions (The Air Zoo, Binder Park Zoo, Kalamazoo Nature Center, Kalamazoo Bird Sanctuary and Manor House, and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and the Gilmore Car Museum) share FREE admission to their current card-carrying members during the month of May 2018.

The Gilmore Car Museum—North America’s Largest Auto Museum—is located midway between and just minutes from Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Battle Creek, MI.  It displays nearly 400 vehicles year-round, presents several special events and cars shows, and offers ever-changing special exhibits throughout the season. Visit GilmoreCarMuseum.org to learn more and plan your visit. 

Members of Six Local Attractions Share Membership Benefits in May

Six area attractions offer FREE ADMISSION during the month of May to each other’s members.

“By partnering in the Cultural Exchange,” says Christopher Shires, Executive Director of the Gilmore Car Museum, “we all feel that we can make each organization more accessible to a broader segment of our community.”

The Air Zoo, Binder Park Zoo, Gilmore Car Museum, Kalamazoo Nature Center, and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts are once again partnering for a fifth year as part of the Southwest Michigan Cultural Membership Exchange.

New this year, the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) Bird Sanctuary and Manor House will also be joining the Membership Exchange.

Guests presenting a membership card from any of these organizations can enjoy FREE admission at all participating locations May 1–31. Participating families who use the passport card and visit all six attractions will be entered to win a set of annual memberships to each organization. Cards are available at all participating locations. 

Activities throughout the month of May at participating organizations will include:

Air Zoo is a Smithsonian-affiliated aerospace & science museum with more than 100 rare air & space craft, interactive exhibits, indoor amusement park rides, a state-or-the-art theater, full-motion flight simulators, science-based classes & camps, and much more! Rain or shine, the Air Zoo’s huge indoor facilities are open 363 days a year!. Learn more at AirZoo.org.


Binder Park Zoo is a unique wildlife experience. Set on 433 acres, the park-like setting is home to nearly 500 domestic and exotic animals including Mexican gray wolves, kangaroos, lemurs, bears, snow leopard and red panda.   Attractions include the Miller Children’s Zoo, the Binda Conservation Carousel and the Z.O. & O. train.  Travel by Wilderness Tram to Wild Africa and safari through Zuri National Park to observe zebra, antelope, waterbuck, gazelle, and ostrich roam the 18-acre savanna, and hand-feed the giraffe at Twiga Overlook.  See cheetahs, African lions, painted dogs, and meet “Al” the Aldabra giant tortoise. Open daily April 12-October 7.  For visitor information, special events and education programs, visit binderparkzoo.org.

Gilmore Car Museum—North America’s Largest Auto Museum—features nearly 400 automobiles displayed in dozens of historic structures,  including a 1930s Service Station, and a re-created dealership row on a 90-acre historic campus. Current special exhibits include A.J. Foyt: A Legendary Exhibit – featuring all four of Foyt’s Indy-winning cars – and Born to Perform: The Era of the Muscle Car displaying two dozen of everyone’s favorite high-performance muscle machines from the 1960s and ‘70s. The museum is open seven days a week year-round. Learn more at GilmoreCarMuseum.org.

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is open six days with monthly free events like Art Hop, Teen Night, and Art Detectives, plus May exhibitions including the West Michigan Area Show, High School Area Show, Vibrant Bounty: Chinese Folk Art from the Shaanxi Region, and My Hero! Contemporary Art and Superhero Action. The Kirk Newman Art School will in May feature a Saturday photography class that will travel to the Kalamazoo Nature Center, Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, and Gilmore Car Museum. Learn more at kiarts.org.


Kalamazoo Nature Center May is a great month to explore 1,100 acres of varied habitat with 14 nature trails to choose from. May is the perfect time to see the many varieties of spring wildflowers along KNC trails, along with the return of the songbirds from their winter migration. Weekly programs and activities include Saturday Creature Features, spring wildflower walks and birding hikes, with a family program every Sunday at 2 pm. Kids will love visiting the farmyard animals at the Historic DeLano Farms (weekends only) in May. The art work of Tamara Hirzel will be featured in the Glen Vista Gallery. Full calendar at naturecenter.org.  

Kalamazoo Bird Sanctuary and Manor House is a unique wildlife center offering over 3 miles of trails, including a lakeside trail where guests can see waterfowl, raptors, and game birds up close. And, tour the historic KBS Manor House and Estate, W.K. Kellogg’s former summer home overlooking beautiful Gull Lake. For more information visit birdsanctuary.kbs.msu.edu and conference.kbs.msu.edu.

Representatives of the program believe that this area of Michigan is fortunate to have some of the best cultural organizations of their kind in the country, and each of these organizations is committed to providing the highest quality service to the public.

As a cohesive group, the Cultural Exchange Program is thrilled to offer such a unique and diverse program to the Southwest Michigan community. It’s easy to join any of the organizations online and the value of admission for a family of four to visit all six organizations is well over $200.

Show your membership card with pride today at any of the above attractions and receive FREE admission through May 31, 2018.