Do you wear white gloves when changing a tire?

The role of museums in historic vehicle preservation

Authored by: Alexander Gates

The Routledge Companion to Automobile Heritage, Culture, and Preservation

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  December  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138389434
eBook ISBN: 9780429423918
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



Automobiles are important cultural artifacts for telling the story of the 20th and 21st centuries. They are signposts for our society’s evolution and, on a smaller scale, our interests and our personal tastes. A key issue for museums and other collecting institutions is how to preserve them for years to come as tangible, identifiable examples of our economic, technological, art/design, and sociocultural pasts. Museums play an important role in historic vehicle preservation, yet automobiles challenge traditional collection management guidelines. Part of the challenge is that these mechanical objects are sometimes preserved for both display and operation. Although museums are just one type of venue for historic vehicles, they offer an ideal opportunity for preservation due to their consistency, stability, public access to collections, and community engagement. However, public museums are often underresourced, limiting their ability to care for these collections. New adaptable approaches and partnerships will enable museums to preserve historic automobiles better, along with the knowledge required for their continued maintenance.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.