50th Anniversary Logo - Color

Mission Statement

The Mission of the Gilmore Car Museum is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret the history of transportation in America; to connect people with the heritage and social impact of the automobile; and to provide an understanding of the past, embrace the present, and imagine the future.

Our history began with a passion for preserving it.

The Gilmore Car Museum started in the early 1960s when Donald S. Gilmore began collecting vintage automobiles. Some of the first vehicles in his collection included 1927 Ford Model T, a 1913 Rolls Royce, and a 1920 Pierce Arrow. Restoring that classic Pierce-Arrow at his home on nearby Gull Lake ignited a passion. Over the years that followed Donald continued collecting some of the world’s most renowned automobiles.

To accommodate his collection he acquired 90 acres of land in southwestern Michigan in a small town known as Hickory Corners. It was his wife Genevieve who had the idea of turning the collection into a museum, providing future generations access to Donald’s one-of-a-kind collection. They established a non-profit foundation and opened the museum to the public for the first time on Sunday, July 31, 1966.

Today, the Gilmore Car Museum is the largest auto museum in North America with over 180,000 square feet of exhibit space. The Museum’s Historic Campus features numerous vintage structures including a restored and fully-functioning 1941 Silk City Diner, a recreated 1930s Shell Station, six onsite Partner Museums, and so much more.

An amazing site to see, 50 years in the making.

Today, the Gilmore Car Museum’s 90-acre Historic Campus includes numerous historic structures, including vintage dealerships, a small-town train depot, a fully-functioning 1941 Silk City Diner, a recreated 1930s Shell Station, and so much 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, as well as 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.