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Put the Gilmore Car Museum on your bucket list

View on entry to the museum complex
View on entry to the museum complex

The Gilmore Car Museum began in 1963 when Donald S. Gilmore’s wife Genevieve gave him a 1920 Pierce Arrow for his birthday. Restoring that classic vehicle ignited a passion for buying and restoring great cars. To accommodate his collection, he acquired 90 acres of farmland in southwest Michigan. He also purchased several historic barns, had them dismantled, and moved to the site. It gives the museum a unique, rustic character. It was Genevieve who came up with the idea of turning the collection into a museum. The Gilmore’s established a non-profit foundation and opened the museum to the public for the first time on Sunday, July 31, 1966.

Hailed as one of the Nation’s top car museums and listed as Michigan’s #1 Historic Auto Site by Pure Michigan, the Gilmore Car Museum is open every day, year-round and features over 300 classic cars and motorcycles from all eras. Here you’ll find exhibits ranging from vehicles of the 1890s, to the classic Duesenberg, the elusive 1948 Tucker, and the rare Railton Rippon, Romer Town Car and air-cooled Franklins.

Special exhibits include the Classic Car Club of America Museum, Pierce-Arrow Museum, the Fabulous Hudsons, Franklin Collection, Cadillac-LaSalle Club Museum, Model A Ford Museum, the Lincoln Motor Car Museum and American Legends: Hot Rods and Customs. Be sure to see the massive collection of automotive mascots and a building with about 100 restored antique pedal cars.

The park-like Historic Campus includes several vintage structures including a 1930s Service Station, historic barns, a functioning 1941 Diner, and a reproduction of a 1930s Ford dealership. To get the most out of your visit, plan to spend three or four hours, bring your camera, and wear comfortable shoes. You’ll also want to plan on having lunch in the authentic 1941 Blue Moon Diner. Try the Coney dog and a root beer float.

The Gilmore Car Museum is just twenty minutes from I-94 and US-131 and located near the picturesque city of Hickory Corners, midway between Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, and Lansing, Michigan. Visit their web site at