With hopes of re-opening in a few months, the Branson Auto Museum is closed pending major repairs after it was damaged by a tornado that touched down in the Missouri tourist destination Feb. 29. Several Highway 76 businesses that were in the path of the tornado and high winds are closed for repair.
The Branson Auto Museum is located on the world famous “strip” in Branson, in the former “Engler Block” crafts mall. The EF2 tornado that struck around 1:30 a.m. brought winds of up to 130 mph as the twister hopped along the Branson Strip, damaging about four dozen commercial structures, including six of the town’s 50 theaters and 22 of the 200 hotels and motels.
Branson Auto Museum manager Sue Uygun said the roof blew right off the area they call “the big room.” As a result, “A beautiful Challenger, knock-out GTO, two rare Zephyrs, an original ’38 Buick Sedan, a gorgeous Shelby and a very sharp Z28 got hit with debris,” she said. “We were so lucky that the majority of the cars were unharmed, as well as the tractors we’ve begun to collect.”
Since the storm, she said, “We have safely and delicately moved the inventory to a very secure location to bring right back for the public’s enjoyment ASAP!”
If all goes as planned, Uygun said the museum will be open again in a couple months. “We will come back stronger and more dedicated to presenting spectacular cars in interesting exhibits than ever,” she said. “We have plans to re-build in the same location right in the middle of the Branson strip. We hope to make it the finest in the country. Part of the new museum will be classic cars and trucks and the other will feature antique tractors and farm vehicles and equipment. It is so exciting and we plan on re-opening as soon as we can. We have an owner who shares our excitement and goals.”
The Branson Auto Museum was conceived in August of 2007 and opened on May 15, 2009. The museum includes a gift shop and Sculpture World, a gallery of bronze sculptures and fountains. To learn more about the museum, visit www.bransonmuseum.com.