Despite Hard Economic Times
Donations Flow In
Non-profit Car Museum sees increase in Gifts
Hickory Corners, MI -
In spite of the current economic downturn—or perhaps because of it—the Gilmore Car Museum of Hickory Corners, MI has recently received an increase in donated materials. Everything from antique cars to auto related artifacts and memorabilia, as well as large automotive literature collections have been among the latest items given to the museum.
Whether donors considered the possible tax benefits of making these gifts, which includes the ability to deduct the fair market value of items from their income taxes, isn't known. What is known is that the Gilmore, like most other non-profit organizations such as museums, relief agencies, and humane societies, relies heavily on the generosity of others to function successfully and grow.
Michael Spezia, Director of the Gilmore Car Museum, points out how important charitable contributions are to non-profit organizations. "Donations, whether large or small, allow us to operate on a daily basis and expand our collection as we strive to fulfill our mission."
Those who donate to the car museum also have the satisfaction that they are helping to preserve our automotive heritage and leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.
Most often the artifacts donated fill important gaps in the collection, present historical context to exhibits, or provide the Museum with additional offerings, like its research library or Model T Driving classes.
A glimpse of some of the more recently donated vehicles include a 1917 Ford Model T, 1950 Plymouth, 1956 Mercury, 1962 Metropolitan, 1965 Marlin, 1924 GMC Potato Truck, 1947 GMC truck, and a 1968 Pontiac. The gifts of vintage driving goggles, early tools, and the original registration papers for a 1904 Cadillac, as well as several factory promotional models and several large collections of literature will soon fill displays or become part of the Museum's growing library.
Many take for granted that because a museum grew out of a private collection, such as the Henry Ford Museum or the Harrah Collection, it remains privately owned. The Gilmore Car Museum, which opened to the public in July of 1966, suffers under that same impression. Many outside of the collector car hobby incorrectly assume it to be the private collection of the late Donald Gilmore, a well-known Kalamazoo businessman and one time chairman of Upjohn Pharmaceuticals.
The Museum is actually a public non-profit educational institution, dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of the American automobile, which grew out of Donald's and his wife Genevieve's philanthropic spirit.
In 1966, the couple established a non-profit foundation with a small endowment, donated 90-acres of landscaped countryside, several restored historic buildings and a collection of antique cars that created the Museum that bears their name.The Museum doesn't receive public funding and relies on donations, admission and event fees, and the work of a small, yet dedicated group of staff and volunteers, for its daily operations.
Donald Gilmore passed away in 1979, and Mrs. Gilmore in 1990, but the legacy that they began through their gifts continues to grow. Today, the Gilmore Car Museum displays more than 200 vehicles and is considered one of the finest auto museums in the nation. It is also home to the Classic Car Club of America Museum, the Pierce-Arrow Museum, the Franklin Collection, the Tucker Historical Collection and Library, and the National Miniatures Trust Museum. In 2008 the Lincoln Motor Car Foundation announced plans to build its museum on the Gilmore campus as well.
During the past 42 years, in good economic times and bad, the Gilmore Car Museum has been the recipient of the generosity of countless individuals who, with each donation, have secured their own place in automotive history. To learn more about the Museum, its mission or how you can become involved visit www.GilmoreCarMuseum.org