Great events, designed for people who are
driven to learn. (While they’re having fun).
The Gilmore Car Museum is all about education, about a memorable experience, and about fun. We combine those things in our learning events, which feature great topics taught by skilled instructors in a relaxed atmosphere.
Our learning events can be strictly about cars—how to drive a Model T Ford, for example. But we also hold sessions on how to take great photographs (of cars, of course) and other interesting topics. All learning events are open to members and non-members alike, so always be on the watch for more information, and plan to join us. Another great event is always around the corner.
Upcoming Learning Events:
Gilmore Speaker Series
Sundays at 3pm, March 2nd - May 4th
How much do you really know about the iconic autos built in Kalamazoo? Did you know that West Michigan has several connections to the Titanic? Whether it is an in-depth look at exotic cars, ties between film and racing, or a ‘behind the scenes’ look at both President Lincoln and President Obama’s Kalamazoo visits, there is sure to be something to spark your interest!
FREE with GCM Admission or $5.00/Lecture
These presentations will be appropriate for all ages and guests are encouraged to attend the presentations that interest them the most. No registration is required and walk-ins are welcome!
March 2, 2014: “Titanic – West Michigan Connections”
The story of the Titanic is well-known – the maiden voyage of the famed “unsinkable” ship ended in disaster in April 1912 when it struck an iceberg and sank. Of the over 2,200 passengers onboard, including many of the world’s wealthiest, only 705 people survived, but did you know that Michigan has several connections to the disaster? Titanic historian Jay Follis will be the opening presenter for the Gilmore Car Museum’s Spring Speaker Series, beginning on Sunday, March 2nd. Follis plans to give an engaging and informative program highlighting some of the more than 60 passengers aboard the doomed liner, including a dozen from West Michigan. Many rare and authentic Titanic / White Star Line artifacts will also be displayed during the presentation.
March 9, 2014: “Jerry Entin – Racing Can Am, Ole Yeller, and Cheetahs”
Jerry Entin, once an avid racer and now an active on-line motor sports historian, will be speaking on his remarkable motor sports history on March 9th as part of the Gilmore Car Museum’s Spring Speaker Series. Jerry was the last racer who campaigned Max Balchowsky’s Old Yeller Mk II, the homemade 1950s/60s legendary Buick powered hot rod sports car that routinely embarrassed Ferraris and Maseratis on west coast road courses. He also owned and raced Cheetah #2 – a Chevrolet powered response to the Ford powered Cobra – which appeared in the classic Elvis racing epic, “Spin-Out.” Finally, throughout the mid-1970s, Jerry was involved with teams running in Can-Am and F-5000 racing series with drivers such as Brian Redman, Jody Scheckter and Vern Shuppan.
March 16, 2014: “From Prius to Ferrari – Driving Your Car on the Track”
A local road-course driving instructor, Brad Pines has helped numerous racers shave seconds off their lap times by stressing smoothness in car control. He started instructing with his Miata, and now instructs with a Ferrari 458, Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4, Audi R-8 and other super cars. On March 16th, as part of the Gilmore Car Museum’s Spring Speaker Series, Mr. Pines’ will cover driving tips (sorry, without the supercars), including how to be smooth and safe on the track, and how to prepare a car for track sessions at venues such as the GingerMan Raceway, near South Haven, MI.
March 23, 2014: “Hollywood’s Great Chase Scenes”
Since watching The Ghost of Drag Strip Hollow at the Uptown Theater in Kalamazoo at the impressionable age of 13, John Lacko has loved cars and their roll in film. Join us for a gratifying afternoon of automotive action at the Gilmore Car Museum’s Spring Speaker Series on March 23rd as John presents great chase scenes and automotive action from movies such as Bullit, Ronin, The French Connection, Le Mans, and Grand Prix. And, learn the truth behind the legendary 9 minute film Rendezvous, Claude Lelouch’s early morning blast across Paris.
March 30, 2014: “The Art of the Art Deco Automobile”
David Lyon, professor emeritus from Western Michigan University and author of The Kalamazoo Automobilist (2002) and The Gilmore Car Museum: Miles from the Ordinary (2010, 2012) will be speaking at the Gilmore Car Museum on March 30th as part of the Museum’s Sunday Speaker Series. David’s presentation will describe and interpret Art Deco automobiles, distinguishing between the American and European Art Deco style, as he contrasts this particular art form with other automotive styles. The discussion will be supported by photographs of artifacts and autos from Gilmore Car Museum’s very own signature collection.
April 6, 2014: “Captured on Camera – Iconic Moments of Racing History”
Drag racing got John Lacko started in photography during the summer of 1965. Since then, John has had the opportunity to photograph a variety of motor sports and automotive events. On April 6th, as part of the Gilmore Car Museum’s Spring Speaker Series, John will be showing and talking about his favorite photos of drag racing, NASCAR, Trans Am, Can Am, Indy cars, and more, taken over the last 50 years.
April 13, 2014:_ DOUBLE FEATURE_
“President Lincoln’s Michigan Visit: Shocking New Discoveries”
Tom George, former state senator and Lincoln scholar, will be speaking as part of a double feature at the Gilmore Car Museum’s Spring Speaker Series on April 13th regarding President Abraham Lincoln’s 1856 visit to Kalamazoo. In what would be his only trip ever to Michigan, Lincoln spoke on behalf of presidential candidate, John Fremont. New findings recently published by the presenter finally unravel the mystery of why Lincoln made this unusual visit. George has written articles about Lincoln’s visit, including articles for Michigan History Magazine and the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association.
“President Obama’s 2011 Visit to Kalamazoo”
Von Washington, Jr. – Exec. Dir. of Community Relations, Kalamazoo Promise; Former Kalamazoo Central Principal
The first high school “Race to the Top Commencement Challenge” contest was issued by the White House in 2010. On April 13th as part of a double-series, Washington will be speaking in regard to the process, planning, and collaboration that resulted in Kalamazoo Central High School winning the contest and earning the opportunity to have President Barak Obama deliver the commencement speech at graduation.
April 27, 2014: “Dave Rockwell – We Were the Ramchargers”
On April 27th as part of Gilmore Car Museum’s Spring Speaker Series, Dave Rockwell will take the audience behind the scenes with the group of Chrysler engineers who, from the 1950s through the 1970s, became one of the most successful and influential drag racing teams of all time. The Ramchargers – the only team of engineers from an automobile manufacturer to drag race successfully – broke the most time barriers in drag racing history and earned the most National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Super Stock titles during the sport’s golden era of factory competition. Rockwell, a Ramcharger himself, interviewed more than 40 team members, competitors, and track operators in preparation for his book, We Were the Ramchargers, the first to provide inside details on all elements of the Ramchargers story.
May 4, 2014: “B.S. Levy – The World’s Fastest Novelist”
B.S. (Burt) Levy always had two great dreams: to become a great novelist and write books that people wanted to read, and to become a racing driver and drive all the greatest cars on all the best racetracks in the world. Accomplishing both dreams, Levy has scored over 100 race and classic wins in an incredible variety of cars and has published an acclaimed series of novels, including The Last Open Road. Following the life of a fictional 19 year old mechanic working at Finzio’s Sinclair Station in New Jersey, Levy winds Buddy Palumbo, who has a talent for the newly appearing foreign cars, through the 1952 racing season and beyond. As Levy speaks about Buddy, the people he meets and the events that take place, the stories almost sound like a narrative as they ring true in the mind of motor sports fans.
All lectures will be held in the Gilmore Automotive Heritage Center Theater.
Model T Driving School
May – September
Click HERE to learn more about the Gilmore Car Museum’s Model T Driving School.