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They say everyone has an automotive history. It’s our connection to the past. In addition to bringing back childhood memories, the vehicles connect children or grandchildren to their roots. Nothing like the Reno National Automobile Museum.
As one of USA Today’s Top 10 Must-See Auto Shows, NAM boasts 200 mind-blowing cars with authentic street scenes, sounds, and facades. If you are adding a unique event and party space for corporate trainings, lunches, receptions, dinners, weddings or other special events, NAM is a detour you must take.
How it all began ? Bill Harrah was a video game pioneer who founded Harrah’s Hotels and Casinos and the former Harrah’s Automobile Collection. It has assembled the largest and most important collection in the world, which has reached nearly 1,400 vehicles. After his death in 1978, Holiday Inns purchased Harrah’s Hotels and Harrah’s Automobile Collection in 1980.
Following the announcement of plans to sell the collection, a public outcry erupted across Nevada and even across the country. In response to the outcry, Holiday Inns donated 175 cars and the research library to the future nonprofit museum. At the time, it was the largest corporate philanthropic donation in our country’s history.
Thanks to generous donations from the City of Reno, State of Nevada Redevelopment Agency and many individuals and organizations, NAM opened on November 5, 1989, with much fanfare and national and international publicity. Private owners have since donated another 60 vehicles.
Is NAM funded by the federal government? The answer is no. It is a non-profit organization funded solely by admission, donations and memberships. NAM has only 10 staff and around 30 dedicated volunteers. Passion and community support are key to NAM’s success.
There are a lot of things that will impress you when you visit NAM. You will see:
- Home of the Northern Nevada Challenger Space Center focused on space exploration
- Collection Cars of the Stars 1912-1973 and a Thomas Flyer automobile from 1907
- “Be the Astronaut” exhibit for a first-person experience for all ages that teaches science and engineering content through a fusion of advanced video game technology, simulators and real-world reconnaissance data from NASA
- Special exhibits featuring hot rods and cool customs
- Art and collectibles
- Hardware exhibit showcasing collectible auto repair tools that kept the automobiles of the past on the road
- Paintings “Even in Africa” by Reno artist Robert Cinkel, depicting automobiles from the NAM collection in fascinating locations around the world
- 157-seat theater offering daily presentations and the perfect place to book retreats, plays, storytelling, performances and corporate meetings or trainings
- Museum shop
- Complete podcast studio for public use
The Reno-Sparks neighborhood is steeped in automotive culture. The original Harrah car collection was located in Sparks and opened to the public as the largest car collection in the world at the time. The Harrah collection has been a staple in the community for almost 60 years. With the warm August nights that bring car enthusiasts across the country together every summer, it’s fitting that the National Automobile Museum resides in Reno.
Did I already say that the National Automobile Museum has a “wow” effect like no other and that you have to take a detour?
Want to learn more about the National Automobile Museum and the Challenger Space Center in Reno? Register for Tech NCET on Wednesday August 11 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. with networking from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Children are welcome, and you can purchase tickets and find more information at ncetwed.org.
Dave Archer is President / CEO of NCET (www.NCET.org) which organizes educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology.