2-22-18 SPOKES Notes
SPOKES Notes written by Paul Arnold
Four Interact Students from Grand Rapids Christian were introduced: Harold Gee, Anya Potter, Tim Van Beek and Mac Wyn.
Niel Marchand promoted the Service Above Self Award Dinner honoring Shelly Erwin.
Rotarian Chuck Stoddard, who lives near the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, introduced our keynote speaker, Chris Shires.
Chris was formally the director of the Museum in Holland. He now heads up North America’s largest car museum, with over 400 cars on display.
He noted that most older people have “car stories” that define important moments in the lives. The Gilmore Museum was founded by Don Gilmore when he retired as head of the Upjohn Company. His wife bought him a 1920’s Pierce Arrow to keep him busy and that lead to the start of his collection. In 1964, he bought an old bard and moved it from Fennville, MI to a spot near his home and used it to house his cars. Don was a good friend of Walt Disney and encouraged him to build a Disneyland in Hickory Corners. A Gilmore car was used in the Disney film “Gnome-mobile” In 1966, the museum became a 501c3 and had two buildings. Today there are over 27 buildings with more on the way. A new collection of 1970’s muscle cars is in the works. Some programs that Chris mentioned include: Cruise-In, a free event every Wednesday in the summer, free programs for kids, a mentoring program to teach car restoration techniques, a lecture series, partnerships with six brand-specific museums on site, and 24 different car shows each year put on by car clubs. A new exhibit of Indy race cars is in the works.
Goals for the future include:
• Being a first class facility
• Becoming more sustainable,
• Continued growth
• Expand the Gilmore brand
• Ensure accessability and
• Continue to preserve the old cars for future generations
The Master plan includes a full service hotel and restaurant and adding more storage.
Other items of note were revealed during the Q&A period
Half of their Board are Gilmore family members
Almost all of the cars are either given or loaned to the museum
The museum also includes a large collection of peddle cars, motorcycles and toy cars.
They are currently trying to acquire an intact Greyhound Bus station to erect on the property.