Hershey, PA - The AACA Museum was created as a grassroots project that involved many different people and organizations. That formula built a world-class museum and continues to serve us well as we move forward. There is one person who can rightfully claim to be the “Father of the Museum,” Mr. Bill Smith.
Bill served as the Antique Automobile Club of America’s National President in 1979 and 1980 and followed that up with 17 years as the organization’s Executive Director. He also served as the President and Director for the AACA Library and Research Center. These experiences no-doubt guided him as he helped lay the groundwork and led the charge to create the AACA Museum where he served as a Board President, Board Member, and now Director Emeritus. Along the way, he earned many awards, including the 2005 Meguiar’s Person of the Year.
In the spirit of Bill Smith’s untiring devotion and dedication to the AACA Museum, Inc. The AACA Museum debuted a new award, the William H. Smith Museum Fellows Award. This year the Museum Fellow status was conferred upon three individuals for outstanding contributions and service toward the advancement of the Museum. Congratulations are in order for Jonathan I. Griggs, David A. Kolzow, Sr. and Richard H. Taylor as the William H. Smith Museum Fellows.
Jonathan I. Griggs
Jon was part of the Museum project early on, joining the Advisory Committee in 1995 and the Board of Directors in 2000, where he served actively through 2016 and continues now as a Director Emeritus. He served as Board Vice President from 2002 to 2005 and President from 2005 to 2007. He chaired the committee that raised funds for the Museum’s construction from 1999 to 2005 and was instrumental in moving the project into its construction phasing, convincing the Board that the most effective fundraising would take place as the project went from theoretical design to a tangible building with an opening date. He then served as the Museum’s volunteer Executive Director, hiring all the original staff and overseeing the transformation of the new building from a bare shell to a fully-equipped, public museum. Additionally, Jon played a key role in negotiating the talks that brought the Museum of Bus Transportation into the partnership. He has personally supported the Museum financially over the years, including the donation of an antique vehicle for the collection.
David A. Kolzow, Sr.
David donated what is perhaps the Museum’s most iconic vehicle: the 1895 Chicago Motors Benton Harbor. This automobile, the oldest documented race car in America, is also the earliest vehicle in our collection; additionally, it was the very first donation, received well in advance of the Museum’s construction. A 50-plus year member of the AACA and a life member of the Horseless Carriage Club of America, Dave is a retired analyst who takes pride in doing most of the restoration work on his vehicles. He also enjoys doing historical research and gladly helps anyone who asks for his assistance. He has received several distinctive awards for his work. In addition to the Benton Harbor, David has donated three other earlier vehicles, an 1896 Aldrich, 1908 Albany, and 1908 Economy. David has been friends with Bill Smith and his late wife, Jeannie, “more years than he can remember.” One thing he told Bill years ago regarding cars was that they are like friends, family, and everything else in life – a temporary loan from God that we should appreciate and be grateful for while we are alive.
Richard H. “Dick” Taylor
Dick Taylor was an early and active member of the Museum’s family, working on fundraising, transporting donated vehicles, and providing assistance in many different ways. As a professional builder, he had invaluable knowledge that helped guide the project through the planning and construction phases. He served as the Chairman of the Board’s Building Committee. In that capacity, he oversaw the construction of the site’s first structure, the original storage and work garage, which was aptly named “the Taylor Building.” As the project progressed, he worked directly with the building’s architect, Dave Maule, and the various subcontractors who built the structure. He traveled from his home in Mansfield, Ohio, to Hershey every other week during the Museum’s construction to meet with builders, serving as a volunteer general contractor to bring the project home on time and under budget. With construction complete, he spent three onsite, working with the new staff and other volunteers to hang signs, place antique vehicles, and do whatever was needed to meet our June 2003 opening date. He was a member of the Museum’s Board of Directors for 15 years, serving as President in 1996. He is one of only two people to serve as President of AACA National, AACA Library and Research Center, and the AACA Museum, Inc. He is now an active Director Emeritus and remains a staunch supporter of the Museum.
The William H. Smith Museum Fellows Award will become a yearly tradition at the AACA Museum, Inc., honoring those who have provided outstanding contributions and service to the advancement of the Museum. A committee of the Museum’s Board of Directors will make annual recommendations for this award based upon nominations collected during the year. Nomination forms may be obtained by contacting the Museum’s administrative office.
About the AACA Museum, Inc.
The AACA Museum, Inc., a Smithsonian Affiliate, displays beautifully restored automobiles, buses, and motorcycles in unique lifelike scenes representing the 1890s through the 1980s on a cross-country journey from New York to San Francisco. As one of the largest automotive museums in the country, AACA Museum, Inc. features special exhibits that change several times a year and focus on a variety of eras and types of vehicles.
The Museum was recently recognized by USA Today 10 Best, Road & Track, and AutoClassics as one of the top automobile museums in the country.
The AACA Museum, Inc., has been and remains an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, not affiliated with The Antique Automobile Club of America.
The Museum is in South Hanover Township, just off Route 39 and one mile west of Hersheypark Drive in Hershey, Pa. Regular admission is $12.50; seniors age 61 and older, $11.50; juniors age 4 to 12, $9.50; and children age 3 and under, free. Admission is also free to AACA Museum, Inc., members, and Antique Automobile Club of America members with a current membership card.
The Museum is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. For more information, call 717-566-7100 or visit AACAMuseum.org.