We visited these museums on a recent trip through the Midwest...
RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum. Elkhart, IN.- More trailers than cars, The RV Founders Hall displays trailers, photos, and memorabilia reaching back to the 1920's and 1930's. The museum presents chronological and technological advancements in the industry from before WW I to the present. It is a must see for anyone that appreciates the history of the RV industry in America. www.rvmhhalloffame.org
The Volo Museum. Volo, IL- A family owned and operated museum that is also home to Volo Auto Sales, one of the most respected names in the industry. Many of the displays feature vehicles that are for sale, so the collection is always changing. Well organized, labeled, and displayed, this collection is a “must see”! There are iconic classic and muscle cars, and original cars from movies and TV. There are at least a half a dozen Duesenberg cars, a self-playing orchestra, a Disney gallery, and a vast collection of pop culture and Americana artifacts. From boats and scooters to juke boxes and bicycles, there is something for everyone. Eight vintage trailers and RVs are on display; two that were featured in the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine. www.volocars.com
Pioneer Village. Minden, NE- Founded in 1953 by Harold Warp, a Chicago manufacturer, the museum is a complex of 28 buildings on 20 acres with a total collection of over 50,000 items. 100 antique tractors. The world's oldest Buick, a 1902 Cadillac and a 1903 Ford, both designed by Henry Ford. There are 350 other antique cars, all displayed in their order of development. Many look like time stood still in the mid 60’s. The shear quantity of items at this attraction takes a full day to walk through. Only one pre-war Masonite Vagabond trailer on display. www.pioneervillage.org
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, MI- Experience firsthand the sights, sounds and sensations of America’s formation. Over 80 acres showcase 300 years of American perseverance serve as a living reminder that anything is possible. See the building where Thomas Edison had his lightbulb moment or the workshop where the Wright brothers repaired bikes and pioneered flight. Take a ride in a real Model T, or a walk through four working farms. The museum has some fantastic cars but also showcases many other aspects of American ingenuity. www.thehenryford.org
Pioneer Auto Museum, Murdo, SD- This long-standing museum featuring 275+ classic cars, tractors & motorcycles was recommended to us by several people in the area. Having recently toured several other similar attractions, this display was the least impressive. I was told “everything is for sale”, but nothing was priced, and most items weren’t even labeled. Most of the cars were behind flimsy hog-wire in a hodge-podge of barns. They had a 1921 White RV that claimed to have traveled from “Ocean to Ocean then Around the World” www.pioneerautoshow.com
Classic cars and vintage trailers go together like nuts and bolts. Visit a Trailerfest Rally Open House and you are likely to see as many classic cars as there are vintage trailers. A Trailerfest open house is from 10 am to 2 pm on the Saturday of the event. If you have a pre-1972 vehicle you are invited to drive into the campground for the day and participate in the open house festivities. Most of us who appreciate “old stuff”, like it all from the cars to the trailers, motorcycles, bicycles etc. At a Trailerfest Rally we bring it all together to create our own vintage village.
When we finished the restoration of our one-of-a-kind, Golden Caravan, 1961 Airstream, our first stop was the Trailerfest Rockabilly Rally in Hollister, CA this June. There were over 135 vintage trailers and dozens of classic cars at the open house. Some of the classics towed vintage trailers to the event and others just showed up Saturday to join in the fun of the free breakfast, live band, and comradery of like-minded people. After a fun-filled weekend, most pack and head home Sunday morning. Along with everyone else, we packed up and hit the road too. Rather than heading for home, we started for Jackson Center, Ohio.
Airstreams are now made in Jackson Center, Ohio and we wanted to share our rare trailer with the folks that are still building them today. We planned a 6-week cross-country trip that included vintage trailer campouts, museum and Airstream dealer appearances and a lot of touristy stops along the way. We towed the shiny Airstream with our 2017 Ram 2500 outfitted with our Capri Camper for extra space to work on the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine and travel in comfort. Both the camper and trailer are polished aluminum and were kept shiny with Zephyr polishes. TireRack.com and Airstream Incorporated sponsored our media tour, making it possible for us to make the journey. We visited the above museums on our trip.
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