Father’s Day weekend is special in many ways. For car enthusiasts all across the Southern region of the U.S. this weekend has a special meaning and a special place to gather. Petit Jean Mountain in Morrilton, Arkansas is the home of the Museum of Automobiles and the Museum of Automobiles is the headquarters of the Mid-America Old Time Automobile Association (MOTAA for short). 2008 was a big milestone for this organization made up of the purest of car buffs from across the South. MOTAA celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008. I am honored to be the Jr. Vice President of MOTAA!
“It’s hard to believe!” is the sentiment of life long MOTAA members. Fifty years seems to have just flown by for many or should I say rolled by. The Museum of Automobiles is a landmark for the state of Arkansas. The car show is also an event not to be missed by at least 100,000 people over a 4 day period.
In recent years money has been tight with improvements need on the aging museum building. In 2007 the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust pledged a $100,000 Challenge Grant to the Museum. The museum was able to make this lofty goal! This year and for the next four years we have another chance to improve the financial stability of the museum and secure the headquarters for MOTAA. The Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust has pledged another $100,000 Challenge Grant to The Museum of Automobiles on Petit Jean Mountain. The Museum will have until 12-31-08 to raise the $100,000 match.
Over the next few months, the Board of Directors will be making an appeal to friends of the museum. They are in the second year a five-year plan that with the help of the Rockefeller Trust and friends of the museum, would keep the Museum on a sound financial basis in the future. That is what I hope to do with this story also. If you are a lover of antique cars please help us with our goals. You can visit the web site at http://www.museumofautos.com/ and http://www.motaa.com/ for information on both of these important facets of automotive preservation.
Founded by the late Winthrop Rockefeller, The Museum of Automobiles was opened in 1964 with his collection of antique and classic cars. Following his death in 1973, the museum building and grounds were given to Arkansas State Parks. A 501(c) (3) non profit organization was formed to reopen the museum the following year.
Continuing the museum's operation is to continue the legacy of the late Winthrop Rockefeller. Several of Mr. Rockefeller's personal cars are on exhibit. The Museum of Automobiles plays an important role in the preservation, promotion and the activities of the antique vehicle hobby in Arkansas and surrounding states. The national headquarters of the Mid-America Old Time Automobile Association is located in the Museum. The museum co-hosts with MOTAA the annual Petit Jean Father’s Day weekend Antique Car Show and Swap Meet. The Museum also hosts a Fall Swap Meet and Military Vehicle Show. The Museum is a major tourist attraction and compliments the Petit Jean State Park and the nearby Winthrop Rockefeller Center. The Museum is open year round, closing only on Christmas Day. Hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.
If you would like to contribute to this drive, please send your tax deductible donation to:
The Museum of Automobiles Challenge Grant
Petit Jean Mountain
8 Jones Lane
Morrilton, AR 72110
This year’s show was very special. I was honored to meet Mr. Henry Ford III along with Mr. Will Rockefeller. These younger generation philanthropist realize the importance of automotive history and what it has done to change the direction of the world. Henry Ford III made Petit Jean Mountain and the 50th anniversary show his first stop in a year long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the car that made automotive history the Model T Ford. This 5th generation Ford made everyone’s day by signing his name on the vintage Ford cars and special 100th anniversary posters as well as taking time for photo opts with everyone. This young man is the son of Edsel Ford II; he is very personable and would make his great-grandfather proud.
I was proud to be able to take my niece with me this year for the first time. She not only went to the show; she helped with the show. She has decided that she liked helping and already wants to go back next year! She saw things she had never seen before including a King Midget automobile and a rare 1937 Cord. She rode in a 1926 Model T with me, as I tried to learn to drive one of these wonderful machines.
Don’t leave your children at home when you go to a car show. You need to take the younger generation to get them involved with the hobby. This is the only way that the old car hobby will survive. We must spark a desire to want to preserve this part of Americana, if we don’t one day the old car hobby will die out. To let this happen would be a tragedy to the world.