Museum Speaker Series Highlights Intriguing Variety of Topics

Posted on January 9th, 2017

arnenal-inside-burkes-homeDid you know that according to the Guinness Book of Records the World’s largest indoor mural was painted by a West Michigan native? Did you know that a Michigan state highway serves more than a half million travelers annually but is totally off-limits to motorized vehicles? Have you ever heard how a 1929 minor fender-bender in St. Joseph led area police to two Tommy guns connected to the infamous St. Valentines Massacre and Capone’s thug, Fred “Killer” Burke?

Throughout the 2017 Speaker Series beginning Sunday, January 15th at the Gilmore Car Museum, you’ll discover fascinating stories and little-known facts from each of these subjects and more. The 14-week series is open to the public and covers a variety of intriguing topics.

“We have brought together a fine group of historians, scholars, and authors—all experts in their respective fields,” explains Fred Colgren, Education Director at the Museum. “There’s certain to be something of interest for everyone.”

Each of the Sunday afternoon presentations begin at 3 pm and are only $5 per person or are free with regular Museum admission. The lectures are appropriate for all ages and guests are encouraged to attend those of interest, as no registration is required and walk-ins are welcome.

rickherteraviationart.comThe first presentation of the series will be “A Brush with History” presented by noted aviation artist and historian, Rick Herter on Sunday, January 15th at 3pm.

Herter undertook a 14-month project to design and create, entirely by hand, the “History of Flight” mural for the Air Zoo of Portage, MI. At 32 ft. tall by over 900 ft. in length, the Guinness Book of Records has certified the 29,000 square foot painted surface the World’s largest painted indoor mural.

Rick’s passion for art and aviation came at an early age. According to the artist’s website, “He grew up with a sketchpad in hand and took his first airplane ride on his thirteenth birthday.”

Herter is described as “an artist with a pilot’s soul” and will share many stories of how he uses the canvas to tell stories from aviation history. His passion has taken him all around the world.  Pieces of his artwork are held by the collections of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the Air Force Academy, the U.S. Navy and a special exhibit of his work is currently on display at the Pentagon. He has also been commissioned to create works for Boeing Co., Rolls Royce, G.E. Aerospace, Gulfstream, Delta Air Lines and UPS, to name a few.

“We are very excited and honored to offer such a distinguished group of speakers and wide-ranging topics for this year’s Speaker Series,” said Chris Shires, Gilmore Car Museum Executive Director.

Two longtime educators who now serve on the Museum’s education team, John Burton and Robin Nott, will present in tandem on the second date of the Series, January 22nd. Their topic will be the “Dust Bowl,” the name given to the Great Plains region of the US— the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas, and parts of Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico—that were devastated by drought during the 1930s Great Depression. Going beyond the pages of The Grapes of Wrath, they will share how the effects were seen as far as the Atlantic, how the plight of the farmer impacted the country, and how the automobile allowed for an unprecedented migration to “greener pastures” on the West Coast.

The remainder of the series consists of a diverse selection of several noted historians and authors, such as Bob Tagatz, Resident Historian of the Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island and Chriss Lyon, Law Enforcement Historian.3-5-grand-hotel

The 2017 Speaker Series begins on Sunday, Sunday, January 15th at 3pm at the Gilmore Car Museum and continues for several consecutive Sundays, always at 3pm:

January 15, 2017
A Brush with History
Rick Herter, Aviation Artist and Historian

January 22, 2017
“The Dust Bowl”
John Burton and Robin Nott, Educators and Historians

January 29, 2017
“Edsel Ford and the Lincoln Automobile”
Don LaCombe, Automotive Historian

February 5, 2017
“Crazy, Weird, Unique, and Unusual Highway Signs”
John S. Geisler, Ed.D. – Historian

February 12, 2017
“The Golden Age of Sports Cars in Motion”
John Lacko, Vintage Racing and Motorsports Photo Journalist

February 19, 2017
“The Most Dominating Victory in the History of the Daytona International Speedway”
Jim Luikens, Author and Historian

February 26, 2017
“The Most Dangerous Man Alive In 1929: Fred ‘Killer’ Burke”
Chriss Lyon, Author and Historian

March 5, 2017
“Mackinac Island and Grand Hotel History”
Bob Tagatz, Resident Historian Grand Hotel Mackinac

March 12, 2017
“QUICK SAND: Speed Is Born”
William Hentges, Automobile/Aviation Button Collector and Author

March 19, 2017
“Around Nova Scotia by Locomobile”
David Lyon, Author and Historian

March 26, 2017
“Lincoln Carrera Pan-American Racing of the Early 1950s: The Ray Crawford Story”
Andrew Layton, Racing Historian and Author

April 9, 2017
“Vintage Views of Michigan Roadside Attractions”
Christine Byron and Tom Wilson, Authors of the “Vintage Views” Series

April 23, 2017
“Studebaker, Packard, Nash, and Hudson: How They Started and Where They Went”
Russell Dore, Author and Historian

April 30, 2017
“The Amazing Adventures of the Abernathy Brothers”
Rick Cahow and Robin Nott, Educators and Historians

Whether it’s vintage auto racing, roadside attractions, nation, state, or local history, or whatever your interest, you’re sure to find the Museum’s Speaker Series engaging, entertaining and informative for the entire family. The Gilmore Car MuseumNorth America’s Largest Auto Museum—is located just 20 minutes north of Kalamazoo or 45 minutes south of Grand Rapids.

For more information on the Speaker Series or other events, please visit www.GilmoreCarMuseum.org or call (269) 671-5089. 

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