A Family Affair: Station Wagons Exhibit Inspires Summer Road Trips to the AACA Museum


Hershey, PA (April 30, 2015) – This summer get ready for a road trip to the AACA Museum as we feature a fabulous collection of these family friendly vehicles – A Family Affair: Station Wagons from May 23 – October 11, 2015. Remember the Wagon Queen Family Truckster from National Lampoon’s Vacation? How about Carol Brady’s Plymouth Satellite wagon from The Brady Bunch? Do you have fond memories as a kid of riding in the back of the Vista Cruiser with a picnic cooler on the “way back” to a family outing? If you do, you’re not alone. We at the AACA Museum do, and are celebrating those days before minivans, SUVs and soccer moms, before GPS units replaced paper road maps and in-car entertainment systems replaced ‘spot the license plate’ games and such.

Call them station wagons, suburbans, depot hacks, or shooting breaks, the origin of these utility vehicles proved popular in the teens and twenties, but became prevalent in the Post War periods of the 1950s and 60s. As the American norm became a two-car family, the station wagon was the workhorse, taking the kids to school and summer camp, hauling the dog to the vet and transporting groceries. Debuting May 23rd, “A Family Affair: Station Wagons” will showcase both familiar and lesser known examples of station wagons and the impact they had on family life. We would also like to thank our supporting sponsor for this exhibit b magazine.

Speaking of family life, a rather unique wagon was recently donated to the AACA Museum, a 1962 Stageway Chevrolet Station Wagon Coach, which began its life in Hershey in the early 1960’s a vehicle to transport Milton Hershey School Students. Station wagons were chosen by Milton Hershey School in an effort to provide a more family like home life. For those unfamiliar with the story, Milton Hershey School was founded by entrepreneur businessman and philanthropist Milton S. Hershey and his wife Catherine to provide a home and education for orphan boys. Today, Milton Hershey School is a home and school for 2,000 students from families from lower income, both girls and boys. True to the ideals of its mission since 1909, Milton Hershey School exists to nurture and education children in social and financial need enabling them to lead fulfilling and productive lives.

In the 1960s Milton Hershey School purchased a number of Stageway modified Station Wagons. These rather unusual vehicles could be seen driving around the town of Hershey beginning in the early 1960s with this model, then with heavier Pontiac Catalina wagons purchased in 1968. This wagon will require extensive restoration to return it to its original condition and burgundy color. The AACA Museum will work with the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, PA to complete this restoration as a student project. To raise funds for the restoration the Museum has set up a web page http://www.AACAMuseum.org/wagonrestoration for those individuals and organizations who share our vision of giving this regional piece of history new life.

As a special event related to this exhibit, the annual AACA Museum CARnival Car Show scheduled for June 20th will promote Station Wagons as the featured vehicle. There will be a special designated area in front of the Museum where all station wagons will be on display and we’re hoping that everyone will participate in a giant tailgate party along with many other family activities.

The Museum will also be featuring two other exhibits this summer including Automotive Jewelry by Michael Furman showcasing fine art photographic images of automotive mascots from his recent book Automotive Jewelry, Volume One; Mascots and Badges including several from the AACA Museum collection that were photographed for the book. The upper level of the AACA Museum has a permanent display of hundreds of actual mascots that visitors will also be able to enjoy. The other featured exhibit is Motorbikes for the Masses featuring motorbikes, scooters, and mopeds.

A special opening reception for all our summer exhibits will be held on Friday, May 22nd from 6-9 PM. This reception is open to the public with advance tickets required at $10 per person. Tickets are available online at http://tinyurl.com/AACAreception or by calling the ticket counter at 717-566-7100 ext. 100 daily 9:00AM – 4:30 PM.

About the AACA Museum
The AACA Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate, displays beautifully restored automobiles, buses and motorcycles in unique life-like scenes representing the 1890s – 1980s in a cross-country journey from New York to San Francisco. This Museum, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, is known to be one of the largest automotive museums. Special exhibits change several times a year and focus on a variety of eras and types of vehicles. The Museum is in South Hanover Township, located just off Route 39, one mile west of Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, Pennsylvania. Regular admission $12, seniors age 61 and older $11, juniors age 4-12 $9, children age 3 and under and AACA Members are FREE. The Museum is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. New for 2015, the AACA Museum will be open from 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM on the first Thursday of each month. For further information, please call 717-566-7100 or visit www.AACAMuseum.org.