LeMay - America’s Car Museum continues to bring history and excitement to the community—and the world! By Jillian Chandler
Photo by Over Tacoma
June 2, 2012, marked the day that Tacoma would begin to change history, as LeMay - America’s Car Museum opened its doors to the community. The stunning 165,000-square-foot facility has since been recognized as one of MSN’s Best Automotive Museums worldwide, USA Today’s 10 Best Museums in Seattle and KING’s Best Museum in Western Washington.
Even if you are not a car enthusiast, there is something for everyone at America’s Car Museum. Exhibits in the Showcase Gallery change approximately every six months, and they are always changing out vehicles and/or updating their other galleries. Fun activities include the racing simulators and slot cars in the Speed Zone, the interactive Family Zone that includes a pinewood derby track, and short films in the State Farm Theater. They also recently opened the hands-on educational Powering the Future Learning Lab.
“Kids will love the Family Zone, Speed Zone and the Powering the Future Learning Lab,” says Megan Black, digital media coordinator. “For older generations, the more than 300 vehicles on display are likely to send them on a trip down memory lane.
“Although we’re the largest automotive museum in North America, we are also more than a museum,” says Megan. “We host public outdoor events and are an event rental space for outdoor car shows, weddings and other events. We are also an educational space for adults, schools and families, providing hands-on learning opportunities and educational programs for all ages.”
As a nonprofit organization, ACM’s volunteers are instrumental to the Museum’s success, as it relies on the hard work and dedication of their volunteers to preserve the unique collection of automobiles, share information about the Museum to the public, support ACM’s many events and provide tours.
LeMay - America’s Car Museum participates in the Giving a Break program, which provides free tickets for under-privileged communities and schools through United Way of Pierce County. This also includes offering educational scholarships for community groups to visit and free or reduced event rentals to nonprofits. In addition, they offer a variety of educational programs including Preschool programs, Scout programs, field trips for schools, summer education programs, programs for educators, and the adult monthly lecture series titled “If Cars Could Talk.”
They are currently working on an in-house restoration of a Ford Model A Cabriolet and are in search of parts and/or donations of cash or services, according to Megan. Anyone who would like to be part of this project can learn more at AmericasCarMuseum.org/modela. Membership is a great way to support the Museum as well while receiving one year of free admission. Membership starts at just $50, and there are many levels to fit your needs. “For enthusiasts who love to drive, Club Auto provides fun events regularly like driving tours and private collection tours,” says Megan.
“From someone having happy memories upon seeing a car they grew up in, to a non ‘car person’ learning about the cultural or historic context of a vehicle, we hope visitors can see that we’re a museum that’s more than just cars,” Megan says. “We’re an institution that preserves the past, celebrates the present and drives the future.” December Events
December 1 - 24 Toy Drive benefiting Toy Rescue Mission ACM will accept new or gently used unwrapped toys for ages newborn through 15 years old in the Lobby daily. Items for seniors in assisted living such as lap blankets, large-print books and puzzles, toiletries and stuffed animals are also accepted. Visit ToyRescueMission.org/whattodonate.html for a full list of items that Toy Rescue Mission accepts. All visitors who donate will receive $2 off regular adult ACM admission.
December 10 If Cars Could Talk: Story of the Historic Liberty Cadillac Each month, an ACM speaker will select a car or automotive topic and offer a fascinating peek into its history. Join them on the second Tuesday of each month, 11:30am to 12:30pm, and explore the story of cars with Museum curators, staff or local personalities over lunch. This event is free for ACM members and included with Museum admission.
December 14, 15, 21 & 22: Santa at America’s Car Museum From 11am to 3pm each day, join Santa for a photo op in a 1906 Cadillac Model K Tulip Touring Car. Kids will also receive a free slot car voucher for the ACM Speed Zone! Santa photos are free for ACM members or included with ACM admission as a digital download.
December 21: Family STEAM Day: Family Day Scavenger Hunt Join ACM noon to 4pm for a Family Day filled with holiday cheer! Pick up a scavenger hunt on your way into the galleries, and see if you can use the hints to find the “hidden” cars throughout the Museum. This event is free for ACM members and included with Museum admission.