The Famous Gilmore Car Museum
The Gilmore Museum is one of the largest accredited Auto Museums in the world featuring over 500 antique and vintage collectible cars. The 90-acre park offers rotating themed exhibits and features car collection events.
On a 90-acre historic campus midway between Detroit and Chicago is the Gilmore Car Museum. At the Gilmore Museum, you can fake visit an authentic 1941 gas station, sit in a Walt Disney 1930 Rolls-Royce that was used in the 19667 The Gnome-Mobile Movie, revisit muscle and pony car from the 60’s, and walk around the huge park-like wooded campus.
There are 14 distinct exhibits and locations to visit while on the campus. They include Gilmore Heritage Center Steam Barn, The Franklin Historic Car Collection, The Model A Ford Museum, a Campania Vintage Automobile Barn, a Pierce Arrow Full Car Exhibit, The Renowned Classic Car Club of America Car Museum, an Authentic Train Depot, a Historic Pedal Toy Cars, a Train Switch Tower, an Authentic Shell Gas Station (from the 1930’s), The Historical Motor Cycle Museum, A Carriage House, and an Official 1941 Diner for food and drink … (Gilmore Museum Map and Guide)
Additionally, you can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at an authentic 1941 diner before or after you visit hand on over 400 vintages cars. This is truly the ultimate experience for your friends, family, or date.
When is the Museum open? All exhibits are open to the public from April 1 through November 30 from 10 am to 5 pm. A handful of exhibits are open during the winter months. You can visit the Gilmore Car Museum during the summer or winter and walk to all the exhibits in outside fresh air just as the founder Donald Gilmore dreamed in 1966.
The Gilmore Car Museum started in the early 1960s when Mr. Donald Gilmore began collecting a handful of cars. Some of the cars are vintage and some have become both historic and vintage over time. Three of his first cars were the 1913 Rolls Royce, 1920 Pierce Arrow, a 1927 Ford Model T, and all are on exhibit in the museum.
Mr. Gilmore also enjoyed restoring classic cars such as a rusted out Pierce-Arrow from the Pierce Arrow Auto Company. With this single car, he became passionate about restoring cars and soon set up a barn directly on his Gull Lake Estate to start restoring many, many cars. After finding this passion, and with the support of his wife Genevieve, he soon found himself collecting more and more cars until he amassed a very larger collection.
To accommodate his new immense car collection, he purchased over 90-acres of farmland in Barry County Michigan in the small town of Hickory Corners.
It was actually his wife Genevieve who originally had the grand idea of turning the property and car collection into an automobile museum and open to the public.
To accomplish the longevity of this, the family established a non-profit foundation to grow and manage the collection over time. On Sunday, July 31, 1966, the GILMORE MUSEUM was open to the public for the first time and has been open ever since.
Today, the Gilmore Car Museum is one of North America’s largest car museums exhibiting over 400 vehicles on over 200,000 square feet of indoor space.
The Museum’s 90-acre Historic Campus features a large array of historic exhibits including an authentic 1941 fully functional Diner, an authentic rebuilt 1930s Shell Gas Station, and much, much more.
The Gilmore Car Museum is of the original founding members of the National Association of Automobile Museums, as well as a member of the American Alliance of Museums, the American Association for State and Local History, the Michigan Museums Association, and the MotorCities National Heritage Area – affiliate of the National Park Service.
VIDEO: Maria and Nobol Take You On A Video Tour Of The Gilmore Car Museum – “Largest Auto Collection in North America”
Gilmore Museum Exhibit Buildings and Car Collections
- 1930s Gallery
- 1950s/60s Gallery
- Baum Gallery, Born to Perform
- Blue Moon Diner
- Cadillac-LaSalle Club Museum
- Campania Barn
- Carriage House
- Classic Car Club of America Museum
- Franklin Collection
- Heritage Center
- Lincoln Motorcar Heritage Museum
- Midwest Miniatures Museum
- Model a Ford Museum
- Motorcycle Gallery
- Pedal Car Barn
- Pierce- Arrow Museum
- Steam Barn, Barn Finds: Found Treasures
- Train Depot
- Train Switch Tower
- Shell Station
Gilmore Museum Partner Museums
- Cadillac & LaSalle Automobile Club Museum
- Classic Car Club of America Museum (CCCA)
- Franklin Automobile Collection
- Ford – Model A Ford Museum
- Lincoln Motor car Museum
- Peirce-Arrow Museum
Located On The Gilmore Campus Are 14 Individual Exhibits
- GILMORE HERITAGE CENTER – A beautiful facility that is home to our main exhibit galleries, a research library, museum store, café, and theater.
- AUTHENTIC 1941 HISTORIC DINER – If there’s a focal point of life here, it is George & Sally’s Blue Moon Diner. And it’s no imitation; it is an authentic 1941 Silk City diner that was moved from Meriden, CT to the museum, then restored in 2004.
- CLASSIC CAR CLUB OF AMERICA MUSEUM CAR COLLECTION – Don’t miss our unforgettable classics and a fascinating, one-of-a-kind collection of automotive mascots/hood ornaments.
- HORSELESS CARRIAGE STEAM BARN WITH STEAM ENGINE COLLECTION – Here, you’ll relive the early history of the industry, from the years of the horseless carriage to 1915, including gas, steam, and electric-powered vehicles. Connected to the Gilmore Heritage Center.
- CARRIAGE HOUSE – This is the temporary home for another must-see exhibit, from the Cadillac-LaSalle Club Museum. Construction of a permanent facility for this collection is underway
- PIERCE-ARROW CAR COMPANY MUSEUM COLLECTION – An exceptional presentation of some of the finest American luxury cars produced between 1901-1938.
- AUTHENTIC CAMPANIA BARN – This 1897 barn was moved more than 45 miles and reassembled board–by-board here, in 1966. Today the upper level houses cars of the 1930s. The lower level showcases the cars of the 1940s. And you‘ll find a re-creation of Preston Tucker’s office and restrooms.
- VINTAGE PEDAL CAR COLLECTION (OVER 100) – Come re-live childhood from a bygone era with an exclusive collection of pedal cars and the movie set from Disney’s 1967 feature film “The Gnome- Mobile.”
- A TRAIN VINTAGE DEPOT – In this replica of an old-time train depot, you’ll find our automotive mascot/hood ornament collection that was featured on TV’s Antiques Roadshow.
- TRAIN SWITCH TOWER – This is the real thing, an authentic train tower moved from
- THE FAMOUS FRANKLIN CAR COMPANY COLLECTION – The H.H. Franklin Club has preserved the legacy of America’s most successful air-cooled automobile within this re-creation of a circa 1918 dealership. Connected to the Gilmore Heritage Center.
- AUTHENTIC SHELL STATION – One of our landmarks, this recreated 1930s full-service gas station features original pumps, memorabilia, and a work bay. Gas is still only 18 cents a gallon. Check today’s price at the pump! It even has handicap accessible restrooms.
- HISTORIC MOTORCYCLES MUSEUM – For the biker in all of us, here’s a remarkable array of vintage motorcycles from the 1890s through 2006.
- Total List Or Cars: Gilmore Museum List Of Cars (Over 300)
Gilmore Museum Founder Donald Gilmore
The Gilmore Car Museum started by Donald and Genevieve in 1963 and was officially opened in 1966. Collecting cars was originally a hobby for Mr. Gilmore, and then, upon the insistence of his wife Genevieve in the early 60’s, he went full bore and developed 90 acres of his own private land into a sprawling multi-building car museum.
The museum currently houses over 190,000 individual on 90 acres of wooded property in Hickory Corners MI
Donald’s wife Genevieve is family to the Upjohn Pharmaceutical company where Mr. Gilmore served as Chairman of the board. The Gilmore Car Museum now a public, 501(c)3 not-for-profit company.
Become a Museum Member
The Gilmore Car Museum offers an array of affordable ways to become a member. Whether you
want to join as an individual, a family, or as one of our contributors, there’s a great membership plan—with plenty of great benefits—for you. Ask us about joining, at your next visit or find out more information at GilmoreCarMuseum.org.
GILMORE MUSEUM HOURS OF OPERATION
THE Main Museum
- Monday: 10am to 5pm
- Tuesday: 10am to 5pm
- Wednesday: 10am to 5pm
- Thursday: 10am to 5pm
- Friday: 10am to 5pm
- Saturday: 10am to 5pm
- Sunday: 10am to 5pm
The Museum is CLOSED only on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The Museum is in the Eastern Standard Time Zone (EST)
Blue Moon Diner Open Hours (Summer season only)
- Monday-Friday: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
- Saturday & Sunday: 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Heritage Center Cafe Hours of Operation
Hours Vary – Open during Cars Shows / Large Events, and Winter season Only
Museum Main and Administrative Offices
Monday-Friday: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
The Gilmore Museum cost $16.00 for adults’ and $11.00 for kids, FREE for active military, and FREE for children under 10 year old.
- $16.00 Adults / Seniors
- $11.00 Youth (ages 11-17)
- FREE Children (ages 10 and under)
- FREE Active Military (must present ID)
Admission includes access to shows and meets AND all museum buildings and exhibits; parking is FREE.
The Historic Campus and outer galleries and exhibits are open seasonally, April 1st – November 30th. The Automotive Heritage Center and immediate, connecting galleries are open all year round.
Gilmore Museum Location
6865 Hickory Road
The Gilmore Car Museum in South West Michigan in Barry County and is located midway between Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, and Lansing, Michigan
The Gilmore Car Museum is just twenty minutes from I-94 and US-131, located midway between Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, and Lansing, Michigan
Director and Curator of the Gilmore Museum
Josh Russell – Executive Director as of November of 2020