“We’ve managed to build a museum (which began construction in June 2010) during difficult economic times when nearly everybody said it couldn’t be done,” says ACM President and CEO David Madeira, who has been at the museum’s helm since 2002. “I’m proud to say we are creating ‘a destination’ in addition to a museum, which we project to annually attract 425,000 visitors and result in $34 million for the local economy.”
The nine-acre campus – with the four-story, 165,000-sq. ft. museum as the hub – will include a massive show field to host everything from vintage car events to rock concerts and drive-in movies. (Think about a summer Saturday night with “American Graffiti” as the main feature, says Madeira.) There will also be a gift shop, banquet center and cafe, an educational center/library and rotating exhibits using cars, music, film and photos for displays such as “game-changing automotive inventions.”
“America’s love affair with the automobile is the centerpiece of our museum,” says Madeira. “Everybody remembers their first car, family driving vacations, a sports car they fell in love with as a teenager. Personal experiences with cars are part of life in America, and with assistance from the Harold and Nancy LeMay family collection, we’ll spotlight more than a century of automotive history.”
ACM will have 15 galleries housing up to 500 cars, trucks and motorcycles from private owners, corporations and the LeMay collection, which amassed a Guinness Book of World Records total of more than 3,500 vehicles in the mid-’90s. “Harold never met a car he didn’t like,” says Nancy LeMay about her late husband.
ACM also plans to move beyond American vehicles, with future exhibits ranging from “The British Invasion” (including Mini, MG, Triumph and Aston Martin), to the “Prancing Horse” display that will capture the lifestyle surrounding Ferrari.
“ACM is designed to preserve history and thrive at the heart of the world’s automotive culture,” says Madeira. “We’ll have a fun, ever-changing environment with rotating exhibits, our 3.5-acre show field will host events and visitors from around the globe, and we will establish a destination that breaks the mold for traditional car museums.”
For more information, visit www.lemaymuseum.org.