New museum to include interactive features
An article in the June 1 issue of Old Cars Weekly discusses the uphill battle automotive museums generally face, but also showed how some museums were getting innovative to keep the doors open. Given the obstacles car museums face today, we were thrilled to learn there is a new museum entering the landscape and it’s employing some of these innovations. Rhode Island, meet your new museum: The Newport Car Museum in Portsmouth, just a short drive from its namesake Rhode Island city.
“The location and space here gives us everything we need to present a very special modern design experience,” said Maggie Buerman, who co-founded the museum with husband Gunther. The space Buerman described is the new museum’s unlikely but accommodating home: a 114,000-sq.-ft. building that was once a missile manufacturing plant.
Newport Car Museum includes 50,000 sq. ft. of that building houses the exhibit area, offices, a library and 5,000 sq. ft. of event space that can accommodate parties for as many as 500 people. The space also includes corporate break-out rooms and other special locations for gatherings, such as “Coffee and Cars,” that the museum plans to regularly host for the community. Free parking for more than 300 cars is available and is proving especially attractive for car clubs and other organizations that have indicated their desire to visit the museum in groups. Located on-site but operated separately from the museum is a 30,000 sq.-ft. temperature-controlled storage space for approximately 70 private cars with a garage and concierge service. Six driving simulators are available to those who want to experience raceways and road courses from the comfort of Rhode Island.
In addition to cars, the museum offers a display of Mid-Century Modern furniture. But by all indications, it is all about the cars — especially postwar cars.
“We believe that the wonderfully talented industrial designers that flourished after World War II were not unlike the sculptors and artists of the Renaissance Period,” said Gunther Buerman. “Their creative passion is reflected especially in automotive design of the 1950s through the ‘70s and from 1990 to the present, which is the focus of our collection.”
Among the 50 or so cars on display are Shelby products, Corvettes, finned cars and what the Buermans describe as “world cars.” Specifically, these include a 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra, 1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R, 1989 Lamborghini Countach, 1954 Buick Skylark, an In-Violet Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda, and a Mercedes-Benz 300SL, among many others.
The new Newport Car Museum will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed Christmas and New Year’s Day). Tickets can be bought at the door or online at www.newportcarmuseum.org where more information and directions are available.
Newport Car Museum, 1847 West Main Road, Portsmouth, RI 02871