Skip to main content

Sloan Museum receives $500,000 grant from GM for new William Durant exhibit

GM grants 500K to Sloan Museum of Discovery for new gallery and exhibit featuring one of GM's founding fathers, William Durant.
Automotive Gallery_Rendering View resize

Flint, Michigan – Sloan Museum of Discovery in Flint, Michigan, and General Motors announced a partnership that will honor the legacy of General Motors founder William “Billy” C. Durant while supporting the museum’s STEM exhibits and programs.

Through a donation of $500,000 from GM, Sloan Museum’s new vehicle gallery will be named The Durant Gallery when it opens in July 2022. Flint is the birthplace of The Durant-Dort Carriage Company, which paved the way for the automobile industry and GM. This donation is in addition to a $1,000,000 grant that was provided in 2018 to support STEM educational programs in the gallery.

Sloan-Museum-of-Discovery-exterior-colorized-resized

“Billy Durant was a fearless visionary who boldly seized opportunity wherever he found it, and who changed the auto business forever,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors president. “His spirit has remained an inspiration to GM for more than a century, and lives on as we lead the global automotive industry to an exciting new era powered by electricity.” Sloan Museum has 105 rare and vintage vehicles among its collections of nearly 48,000 artifacts, including Durant’s first carriage model — a white ash, two-wheeled horse-drawn buggy. The new vehicle gallery will be 11,000 square feet (over 1,000 square meters) and will feature rotating vehicles showcasing the history and future of the automobile."

"Naming the gallery after Billy Durant came out of a series of conversations we had with General Motors about the early history of the company and how Sloan preserves this history. We have many pieces of early GM history in our artifact collections, including one of the first road carts built by Durant,” said Todd Slisher, the executive director of Sloan Museum and CEO of Flint Institute of Science and History, the nonprofit organization that oversees the museum."

“It is an extraordinary way to memorialize the man who made Flint ‘the Vehicle City,’ helped found brands like Buick and Chevrolet and bring them under the GM umbrella. The generous donation from GM will allow us to build upon our existing STEM exhibits and programs that go into the experiences in the new Sloan Museum of Discovery,” Slisher added.

Sloan-Museum-of-Discovery-exterior-front-with-vintage-car

General Motors has made substantial capital investments in the community where the corporation was founded more than a century ago. This includes significant upgrades at its Flint Assembly and Flint Engine operations and the Durant-Dort Factory One restoration along with more than 37 grants to local nonprofits totaling more than $5.2 million over the past five years.

Photograph of William Crapo Durant from the following book: Title History of Genesee county, Michigan, her people, industries and institutions, Volume 2 of History of Genesee County, Michigan, Her People, Industries and Institutions, Edwin Orin Wood Authors Edwin Orin Wood, William Vernon Smith Publisher Federal publishing company, 1916 

Photograph of William Crapo Durant from the following book: Title History of Genesee county, Michigan, her people, industries and institutions, Volume 2 of History of Genesee County, Michigan, Her People, Industries and Institutions, Edwin Orin Wood Authors Edwin Orin Wood, William Vernon Smith Publisher Federal publishing company, 1916 

Billy Durant formed the Flint Road Cart Company in 1886 after purchasing a two-wheeled buggy company and its new patented spring suspension for $1,500. Durant and his partner, J. Dallas Dort, turned the carriage company into the Durant-Dort Carriage Company, which eventually paved the way for one of the largest vehicle manufacturers in the world, General Motors.

After nearly five years of planning and construction, the new Sloan Museum of Discovery will open to the public Saturday, July 16, 2022. In addition to the Durant  Gallery, it will include an early childhood learning gallery called Hagerman Street, Discovery Hall, a hands-on science gallery, a community history gallery, learning labs and much more. 

The $30 million expansion and renovation of the museum was reimagined as an inclusive center for the entire community. To learn more, visit SloanLongway.org/Sloan.

About William “Billy” Durant

Billy Durant partnered with J. Dallas Dort to create the Durant-Dort Carriage Company after Durant purchased a two-wheeled buggy company and its patented spring suspension in 1886. From the formation of the Durant-Dort Carriage Company became the seeds of what would be later know as General Motors.

Sloan Discovery-Color

About Sloan Museum of Discovery

Sloan Museum of Discovery and Longway Planetarium are located in Flint, Michigan, and are part of the nonprofit organization Flint Institute of Science and History (FISH). They share in their mission to engage communities on a learning journey in history and science. Sloan Museum of Discovery opens July 16, 2022, as a totally re-imagined interactive history and science museum. Both organizations are supported in part by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA), and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Sloan Museum of Discovery is funded in part by the Genesee County Arts Education and Cultural Enrichment Millage. Learn more at SloanLongway.org.

GM-Logo

About General Motors

General Motors (NYSE:GM) is a global company focused on advancing an all-electric future that is inclusive and accessible to all. At the heart of this strategy is the Ultium battery platform, which will power everything from mass-market to high-performance vehicles. General Motors, its subsidiaries and its joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Baojun and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety and security services, can be found at https://www.gm.com.

Old Cars Divider

If you like stories like these and other classic car features, check out Old Cars magazine. CLICK HERE to subscribe.

Want a taste of Old Cars magazine first? Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter and get a FREE complimentary digital issue download of our print magazine.

Old Cars FREE ISSUE Promo

*As an Amazon Associate, Old cars earns from qualifying purchases.

Where to Bid

Car Auciton

Check out the Old Cars Auction Calendar

The Old Cars Auction Calendar has the when and where you are looking for when it comes to classic car auctions.