The AACA Museum is dedicated to the Celebration, Preservation, Education, and Display of the American Motor Vehicle history that provides value for our members, hobbyists, and the public.
History of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Museum
The Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) originated the concept of a collector-oriented automotive museum as a complement to its Research Center and Library. A decision to move forward on implementing the project led to the incorporation of the AACA Museum in 1993. Like the Library, the AACA Museum was established as a nonprofit educational institution under section 501(c)(3) of the Revised IRS code. This status made donations to these entities tax deductible. The Museum’s offices and small storage and display area were housed at the Club’s headquarters on Governor Road in Hershey, PA.
In 1993, following feasibility and planning studies, the Museum launched a $12 million Capital Campaign to build a dedicated museum facility. By the time of the ground-breaking for the 71,000 square foot building in October, 2001, seven million dollars had been received or pledged. The initial concept of a collector’s museum had also expanded to encompass a broader interpretive charge that focused on presenting America’s automotive heritage to a general audience. The new Museum opened to the public on June 26, 2003.
Today’s AACA Museum is professionally staffed, collecting institution presenting semi-permanent and temporary exhibitions. Exhibitions are supported by educational programs for school and community audiences. It sponsors workshops and other activities designed to raise public awareness and appreciation of the role that the automobile has played in shaping 20th century America. The AACA museum celebrates the role of the collector in preserving and making accessible a material record of this phenomenon. It is also unique in that virtually all the cars on display have been opened or donated by AACA members.
In addition, the AACA Museum houses the Museum of Bus Transportation Collection. A floor full of buses and more than 30 motorcycles, motorbikes and Cushman complement the 100 cars on display. The museum have over 20,000 sq. ft. in additional storage so vehicles can be rotated on a regular basis. Several times a year the displays change with loaned vehicles that fit special displays that range from horseless carriages to the muscle car era. The AACA Museum has been recognized by the Smithsonian as an Affiliate Museum which is an extremely rare honor. The AACA Museum has also been recognized as one of the Top 16 Automotive Museums in the world which is a great honor for this fledging organization.
Museum operations are supported in part by a general operating support grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.