National Automobile Museum – Reno, NV

The original Reno sign was moved in 1995 to welcome visitors to the museum

My husband and I just returned from a trip to Reno to continue celebrating our 21st anniversary. We had dinner at the St. Paul Grill on the day of our anniversary. Since we had some flight vouchers to use before they expired and the hotel was a great deal, we decided to take a trip for our anniversary as well later in the month.  Reno is a very special place for us as we got engaged and spent our honeymoon there.  The last time we were there was for our 10th anniversary, so, it was time to go again.

A couple of the earliest automobiles

One thing we really enjoyed the last time we were there was the Automobile Museum. It’s about a 4-5 block walk from our hotel so we picked the nicest day to take our stroll and once again we viewed the cars on display.  The museum, born from the collection of Bill Harrah (of gaming fame), houses over 200 cars that are displayed in 4 galleries.  It is like walking through the history of the automobile as you start the tour at the turn of the 20th century with myriad cars from the first two decades of automobiles. And you move through the decades up to the 60s, with a handful of cars from the 70s in the last gallery.

There were so many cars, I couldn’t photograph them all.  But I especially liked this one from the first gallery with what we labeled “pic-a-nic” baskets (channel your inner Yogi Bear) strapped to the sides of the vehicle. Later on the baskets were replaced by other contraptions to hold your belongings.

There are displays of clothing, hats, stockings and handbags appropriate for that gallery’s era.  At right is one of these displays.  I wondered if these weren’t added to appeal to folks that aren’t necessarily interested in cars, say, female partners of car fanatics perhaps? But they were also very interesting.  The museum isn’t just about cars, it does a great job of the history of the era.  Between galleries 3 and 4 are displays of some of the earliest gas pumps(below), for example, and there is music playing in each gallery that is appropriate for that gallery’s era of cars.


In between galleries are more cars displayed on period streets.  This street has cars from the 1930s and you can see the earliest gas pumps on display at the right. On the street from the 50s I noticed a few old TVs showing The Three Stooges and I Love Lucy.

In Gallery 2 there was a copper Rolls Royce.  Isn’t it stunning?

Just outside Gallery 3 sits a circa 1960s Coca Cola machine, complete with bottle opener.  I remember these machines.  In fact, I have a pic of myself when I was about 6 years old in front of a machine that looks alot like this one(at right).

I found this car(below) of particular interest since it is called the Hispano-Suiza and after reading about it I learned the company was based in Barcelona, Spain. It was originally formed by a Spanish artillery captain and a Swiss engineer.  I also learned that Hispano-Suiza united with a Spanish bank and a group of Spanish industrial  companies to form a company that led to Spain’s first mass production car maker SEAT. Below is the emblem on the grille displaying both the Spanish and Swiss flags.  And then a pic of the Hispano-Suiza 12J.

Gallery 3 houses John Wayne’s Corvette which was the 51st Corvette made in 1953:

As soon as I saw this car’s front end I knew it was a Chrysler.  My father loved Chryslers and we had several when I was a child. So, I had to snap this pic in honor of my father:

On the walk back to our hotel we passed the newer Reno sign:

And then at night:

Hubby and I had a fun long weekend in Reno and we didn’t lose the farm.  I highly recommend the National Automobile Museum not just for a break from gambling, but for the history lesson and fun eye candy, as hubby called it, it provides.

National Automobile Museum, 10 South Lake Street, Reno, NV

http://www.automuseum.org/

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6 Comments

Filed under Reno

6 responses to “National Automobile Museum – Reno, NV

  1. monidew

    wow! LOVE the copper Rolls Royce! That would be worth a fortune, I suspect. Love seeing those early cars, and great historical artifacts, too. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Nina

    Thanks for sharing this display of pics. What a neat place to see.

  3. Pingback: Capture the colour contest | travels with toby

  4. Pingback: My first blogoversary and I’m late! | travels with toby

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