From the first days of the automotive era in the 1880s, drivers (and passengers!) wanted to see and be seen as they motored about at night. They also needed to ensure that the glare from their lights would not blind oncoming drivers. They wanted to stay on the road and avoid anything that would ruin their trip. It turns out motoring lighting challenges are harder to solve than one might think.
To explore night driving’s innovative history, the AACA Museum, Inc. has launched a new permanent exhibit titled “Driving After Sundown: The Evolution of Headlights.” Located in the Museum’s Main Gallery, this exhibit delivers a unique hands-on interactive multi-media experience. Using an adult learning approach, the display shows how lighting technologies evolved over the past 140 years giving drivers usable light while minimizing the effects of glare on oncoming vehicles. The exhibit includes lighting effects from the days of candles, oil, and acetylene to today’s modern lighting.