One of the finest automotive collections in the world will soon have a facility to match. LeMay: America’s Car Museum (ACM), a stunning four-story structure at the center of a nine-acre campus in Tacoma, Wash., is scheduled to open on June 2.
According to the museum’s website, the 165,000-square-foot building will house up to 500 cars, trucks and motorcycles from a variety of sources, including private owners, corporations and the LeMay collection. It will include galleries, a banquet hall, café/restaurant, meeting space, an auto service center and storage area, and the museum’s administrative offices. The $60 million facility, which includes a 3.5-acre show field, is adjacent to the Tacoma Dome off I-5, about 30 minutes south of Seattle.
ACM CEO David Madeira said nostalgia is at the heart of the museum and the cars that will be displayed. “Everybody remembers their first car, family driving vacations, a sports car they fell in love with as a teenager. Personal experiences with cars are at the heart of the American experience, and we’re going to showcase more than a century of automotive lifestyle and history as well as the future of transportation.”
The museum was the brainchild of Harold and Nancy LeMay, who by the mid-1990s had amassed the world’s largest privately owned collection of automobiles, motorcycles, trucks, other vehicles and related memorabilia. In 1998, the LeMays formed a 501(c)(3) charitable organization “chartered to secure, preserve and interpret the valuable LeMay Collection (of some 3,000 cars), along with additional vehicles and artifacts that it may acquire, in order to explore the broad themes of American mobility and lifestyle in an instructive and entertaining manner.”
Harold LeMay died in 2000, but his wife continued to pursue their dream of sharing their collection with the public. Architectural plans for the museum were approved by ACM’s Board of Directors on Nov. 4, 2003, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held June 10, 2010. Now America’s Car Museum hopes to fulfill its vision of becoming “a gathering place where automotive enthusiasts from around the globe celebrate America’s love affair with the automobile.”
For more information visit www.lemaymuseum.org.