Museum’s 2016 Speaker Series Highlights Variety of Topics

Posted on January 7th, 2016
Henry Ford

How well do you know the history of Henry Ford? Find out at “Why Was Henry Ford Famous?” presented by Don LaCombe on January 24th at 3pm.

Did you know that a local inventor has been referred to as “Kalamazoo’s Edison?” Or that Ford dealerships once sold Ford brand charcoal briquettes, later known as Kingsford, right out of their parts departments? Or that at one time the State of Michigan required auto owners to make their own license plates?

During the 2016 Gilmore Speaker’s Series, beginning on Sunday, January 10th at the Gilmore Car Museum, you’ll discover much more about each of these topics and others. The weekly series is open to the public and will cover a variety of subjects.

“Everything from electric cars produced more than 100 years ago to whimsical tin toy autos of the 1950s,” explains Fred Colgren, Education Director at the Museum, “will be covered in the speaker series.”

“There is certain to be something of interest for everyone,” he continued.

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

According to Michael Spezia, Museum Executive Director, the Speaker Series is known for assembling a renowned group of historians, scholars, and authors—all experts in their respective fields—to present on a variety of topics. Due to its popularity the Series has been extended to fifteen Sundays and runs into May.

In honor of 2016 marking the Gilmore Car Museum’s 50th Anniversary, the first lecture in the series will be “The Gilmore at 50,” presented by the Museum’s own Jay Follis on Sunday, January 10 at 3pm. Follis said the program will be a new look into the Museum’s founding and its history through the decades, promises “a few surprises along the way.”

On Sunday, January 17th Curator Emeritus of the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Tom Dietz, who has spent9D - Rhodes Pathfinder Ad over two decades researching local history will present “J.B. Rhodes: The Patent King.”

Rhodes received over 200 patents for his ideas, which included glass oil bottles, safety razors, and fishing lures. Dietz will share how Rhodes is relatively unknown today yet some of his inventions aided in the building of the Panama Canal, and he even anticipated computer navigation for autos! A very rare example of the device—the Rhodes Pathfinder—(think GPS for 1910) will be on display at the Gilmore Car Museum as part of a new special exhibit on the local inventor.

The Gilmore Speaker Series beginning on Sunday, January 10 at 3pm in the Museum’s Auto Heritage banquet room will continue for several weeks include the following presentations:

Sunday, January 10, 2016
“Gilmore at 50 – A New Look into Our History & Legacy”
Presented by Jay Follis

Sunday, January 17, 2016
“J.B. Rhodes: The Patent King”
Presented by Tom Dietz
FEATURING AN ALL NEW SPECIAL EXHIBIT!

Sunday, January 24, 2016
“Why Was Henry Ford Famous?”
Presented by Don LaCombe

Sunday, January 31, 2016
“A Journey Along the West Michigan Pike”
Presented by John Geisler

Sunday, February 7, 2016
“Mustang’s Role in Ford Performance History”
Presented by John Clor

Sunday, February 14, 2016
“The Rise and Fall of the Early Electric Car”
Presented by D.E. Johnson

Sunday, February 21, 2016
“Vintage Views Along Scenic M-22”
Presented by Tom Wilson & Christine Byron

Sunday, February 28, 2016
“Land Speed Records, A History”
Presented by John McLellen

Sunday, March 6, 2016
“The History of Scale Model Cars and Model Car Building”
Presented by Eric Macleod

Sunday, March 13, 2016
“Motoring Through a Buttonhole – A Visual History of Automotive Clothing Buttons”
Presented by William Hentges

Sunday, March 20, 2016
“Art and the Automobile: Beyond Art Deco Design”
Presented by David Lyon

Sunday, April 10, 2016
“Michigan License Plates: A Historical Overview”
Presented by Greg Gibson

Sunday, April 17, 2016
“Tin Toys of Yesteryear: From Realistic to Whimsical”
Presented by Jack Nottingham
FEATURING AN ALL NEW SPECIAL EXHIBIT!

Sunday, April 24, 2016
“Runabout Renaissance: The Rebirth of the Wooden Pleasure Boat”
Presented by David Irvine

Sunday, May 1, 2016
“The Earliest and Oldest Auto Dealerships in Michigan”
Presented by Jay Follis

Whether your interest is in local history, toys of yesteryear, Michigan license plates or more you’re sure to find each of the 2016 Gilmore Speaker Series presentations engaging, entertaining and informative for the entire family. The Gilmore Car Museum is located just 20 minutes north of Kalamazoo or 45 minutes south of Grand Rapids.

Since 1966, the Gilmore Car Museum has been honoring the past, celebrating the present and imagining the future! For more information on the Gilmore Speaker Series or other events, please visit www.GilmoreCarMuseum.org or call (269) 671-5089.