With summer finally here and vacation time abound, the road is ours for the taking! But if we delve deeper into the roots of our wanderlust for the wide open road of gravel and concrete, we will see a rich car culture that thrives on the curiosity of travel and innovation. There’s no denying, these very foundations of America were built in the great Midwest. From Michigan to South Dakota, these states are dotted with automotive museums full of classic cars and sprint race cars dedicated to the infrastructure of our American history.
One museum in particular honors and perpetuates its legacy of a rich industrial history through a continuously updated display and interpretation like no other. The Studebaker National Museum nestled in a suburb of South Bend, Indiana conserves its illustrious manufacturing heritage of vehicles and archives for an enriched education for our present and future. As an appropriate memorial honoring the men and women who helped to shape history and lay a basis for vision, creativity and energy, this state-of-the-art museum is one of the best classic car museums in the Midwest. First opening in 2005, this museum showcases the old Studebaker Corporation’s private collection, which originated in the 1890s and takes guests on a trip with numerous exhibits, automobiles and archives of engineering drawings, production records, and newspaper articles. With three levels and features that include fully climate-controlled galleries and storage facilities, this museum also pays homage to the Studebaker’s factory buildings with design elements reminiscent of the past.
Today the Studebaker collection boasts more than 120 vehicles both donated and loaned, with 70 on display at any given time. It is also home to incredibly unique automobiles of the past like the 1956 Packard Predictor, the 1934 Bendix SWC, a carriage used by President Lincoln, and a specially-painted Studebaker Champion used in the filming of The Muppet Movie.
I had the opportunity last summer to visit the gorgeous Studebaker National Museum and it is without a doubt, one of the best museums in the U.S. There is so much to see and I truly believe if you’re a history buff or someone who just loves classic car culture, this is a sight to definitely check out this summer. While I had the chance to check out the Lincoln exhibit and the ongoing “Presidential Carriage Collection,” this year guests can enjoy two new exhibits titled, “Proving the Product: Studebaker’s Proving Ground,” and “Hoosier Made: World Driven.”
All photographs were taken by Tania Hussain unless otherwise stated.
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The Studebaker National Museum is located at 201 S. Chapin Street in South Bend, Indiana. For more information and plan your trip, visit their official site and follow them on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
To plan your trip to South Bend this summer, be sure to Visit South Bend!