Gilmore Car Museum anticipates post-pandemic growth

Barry County

BARRY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The Gilmore Car Museum is expecting more visitors as COVID-19 cases in Michigan begin a downward trend and the vaccine rollout continues.

A major expansion project delayed by the pandemic will now arrive in 2022, according to Executive Director Josh Russell.

“We’re excited that the vaccinations have rolled out as quickly as they have. As folks are feeling more comfortable, we’re feeling that there’s a lot of pent-up demand to come out and enjoy outdoor events and car shows and visits to the museum,” Russell said.

The new muscle car museum was originally planned to open in 2021. Construction has not started on the building, which will sit next the Ford Model A exhibit on dealership row.

“We put fundraising on a pause for that and sponsorship development on a temporary pause for that project because of what’s been going on,” Russell said.

The new $5 million, 25,000-square-foot space was one of the biggest projects delayed at the museum by the pandemic.

“It will be a really great mid-1960s type era, mid-century modern car dealership,” Russell said.

The museum has had to adjust during the pandemic by requiring masks, social distancing and having smaller capacity limits.

“We did see a drop in attendance as you’d expect,” Russell said. “Being shut down for three months had a big impact on that, but we’ve seen attendance come back up especially here in recent months.”

Inside the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners. (April 27, 2021)

One way the museum has adapted is by increasing outdoor events and modifying the Ride the Classics program.

“We actually made the change this year to have them all be convertibles so it’s an open-air driving experience, the drivers are wearing masks, the guests are wearing masks,” Russell said.

Russell says the 200,000 square feet of building and galleries has allowed greater room for social distancing.

“We have plenty of space, fortunately, at the Gilmore for folks to spread out, remain socially distanced and enjoy with a trip to the indoor galleries or a visit to an outdoor car show,” Russell said.

For more information on events, visit the Gilmore Car Museum website.

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