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America's Car Museum turns 5

Continuing to celebrate America's love of the automobile

The Route 66 gallery is ready for summer with its display of 1950s and 1960s convertibles. Photo credit: America's Car Museum

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America's Car Museum (ACM) is an imposing four-story building with a shiny chrome roof that mimics the gleam of a new auto. The museum opened June 2, 2012, and since that date has received visitors from all 50 states and 47 countries around the world. The ACM houses a larger variety of vehicles including portions of the acclaimed LeMay automobile collection. The LeMay family was among the generous donors which made the museum possible.

"The drive to build an international destination to tell the story of America's love affair with the automobile was an immense undertaking," said America's Automotive Trust president and CEO David Madeira. "Against all odds, we managed to build the museum during very difficult economic times thanks to donations from the LeMay family, as well as countless individuals and organizations that believed in our vision."

Just in time for summer, a collection of 1950s and 1960s convertibles are displayed in the Route 66 gallery. "The wide-ranging assortment at ACM is truly one-of-a-kind and the vehicles rotated into the museum are prominently displayed alongside staple exhibits like ‘Lucky's Garage' - which pays tribute to Harold LeMay's unbelievable treasure trove of cars and auto-related memorabilia," said ACM president and COO Paul E. Miller. "But just having a stunning collection wasn't going to set ACM apart from other car museums, so we regularly are involved with the community and undertake a wide range of activities and events locally and nationally."

The ACM has strong ties with the local military community at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and has become a popular venue for military balls.  The museum offers a military discount on daily admission as well as annual memberships. On Armed Forces Day, July 4 and Veteran's Day, admission is free for military. A 1944 Willys MB US Military Jeep is used annually for Veteran's and Memorial Day displays at the museum.

"The automobile played a significant impact on our nation's heritage and development, and our current focus is ensuring that unforgettable vehicles are enjoyed by future generations," added Madeira. "This was the driving force behind the formation of America's Automotive Trust, a not-for-profit organization that provides funding assistance for a handful of programs focused on ensuring the continuity of the collector car industry."

The ACM offers docent-led tours, which last about an hour, each day at 11 a.m. The State Farm Movie Theater currently offers three short, auto-themed films. You can have a complimentary photo taken in a 1923 Buick Touring car. For an additional fee, you can try your hand at a CXC racing simulator or take a slot car for a spin. Kids of all ages will enjoy the activities available in the Family Zone. The ACM also offers a popular summer camp.  Session 1 is sold out but there is still space for Session 2.  Go to the museum website for more information.

America's Car Museum, open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 2702 E. D St., Tacoma, 253.779.8490, AmericasCarMuseum.org

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