Gilmore Car Museum Winter Wonderland Holiday Experience
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Experience Nostalgia at the Gilmore Car Museum

Are you sitting at home thinking of ways to get out and explore? Maybe you’re considering a trip to one of Michigan’s museums. Situated just north of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo in Hickory Corners, the Gilmore Car Museum is sure to delight visitors young and old.

If you’ve never been to the Gilmore Car Museum, there’s never been a better time to visit. It gets nearly 100,000 visitors a year and has hundreds of vintage and collector motorcycles and vehicles.

In fact, it has one of the largest collections of vintage and classic vehicles in the Mitten State. If classic cars and vintage vehicles pique your interest, this museum is a must-see!

Gilmore Car Museum - Hickory Corners, Michigan
Gilmore Car Museum | photo via @elykekalb

Quick Facts About the Gilmore Car Museum

The Gilmore Car Museum is located at 6865 Hickory Road in Hickory Corners, about a 30-minute drive north of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, respectively. It’s part of the MotorCities National Heritage Area.

With a 90-acre campus and so much to see, it’s recommended that you allow four to six hours to explore and take advantage of all of the museum offerings.

Gilmore Car Museum, Hickory Corners - Terrific Museums, Gilmore Car Museum
Gilmore Car Museum | photo via Steve Tinker


The museum’s summer hours, from April 1 to Nov. 30, are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. During the winter season, from Dec. 1 to March 31, the museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.


Admission for 2022 is $16 for adults/seniors and $11 for youth aged 11-17. Active military members and children 10 and under can enter for free. Consecutive two-day passes are also available for $28.


The Gilmore Car Museum is handicap accessible with a pair of elevators that allow for second-floor access. Also, some wheelchairs are free to use, and scooters are available for rent.

Gilmore Car Museum, Hickory Corners - #Mittentripkalamazoo, Gilmore Car Museum
Gilmore Car Museum | photo via Jennifer Polasek

The Gilmore Car Museum Exhibits

If you do make the trek to the Gilmore Car Museum, what might you expect to see? Beyond just the sheer amount of vehicles, you’ll see exhibits that really highlight the history of road travel.

The Cars

There’s the largest gallery ever dedicated to the Model A and cars from the 1890s and early 1900s, including Auburn Automobiles and Duesenbergs.

Jumping forward in time, you’ll see vehicles from the Great Migration and Dust Bowl, muscle cars from the 1960s and 1970s, and the 1948 Tucker, one of only 51 ever produced. Other vehicles in the massive collection include Checker Taxis, hood ornaments, bikes, and vintage pedal cars.

6 Independent Museums

On the grounds, there are six independent museums, hidden in a series of red barns that house different parts of the collection. Even better, you get admission to all six museums with your ticket. Those museums are:

  • The Model A Ford Museum
  • The Pierce-Arrow Museum
  • The Classic Car of America Museum
  • The Lincoln Motor Car Heritage Museum
  • The Franklin Automobile Collection
  • The Cadillac and LaSalle Museum and Research Center

Several historic barns were dismantled at their then locations and trucked to the new site, where they were carefully reassembled to house the growing stable of automotive marques.

George And Sally's Diner
George and Sally’s Diner | photo via Jennifer Polasek

The Shell Station & Blue Moon Diner

The Gilmore Car Museum has not only cars but also a replica Shell station from the 1930s at the entrance. This authentic re-creation features a display of memorabilia from a time when you could get a gallon of gas for just 18 cents.

Also, there’s a Blue Moon Diner from 1941, relocated from its original location in Connecticut, that serves delicious fare from a bygone era. The menu includes Coney-style and Chicago hot dogs, sandwiches, Blue Plate specials, homemade pie, old-fashioned custard, and more.

On your way out, you can stop by the gift shop stuffed full of apparel, collectibles, and toys.

Gilmore Car Museum - Hickory Corners, Michigan
Gilmore Car Museum | photo via @owen_rogers18

Why You Need to Visit the Gilmore Car Museum

If you’re wondering why you should visit this antique car museum, there are plenty of good reasons.

It’s Huge!

For starters, the Gilmore Car Museum is the largest auto museum in North America. It started with humble origins, opening in July 1966 with just 35 cars on display. Today, you’ll see hundreds of vehicles from different eras across a huge space.

Some of these vehicles have been on display for years, but the museum is always looking to add new and interesting exhibits. A planned exhibit is Gilmore American Muscle, which will house muscle cars and be displayed in a building designed to look like a 1970s dealership.

Gilmore Car Museum - Gilmore Car Museum
Gilmore Car Museum | photo via Jennifer Polasek

It’s Renowned

Believe it or not, this museum, located in a town of just over 300 people, is known around the nation. Experts have named it one of the top three car museums in the United States.

Additionally, USA Today named it Michigan’s Greatest Attraction by USA Today in 2017 and one of the best attractions for car lovers in 2020.

The Exhibits Are Amazing

One of the best things about visiting the Gilmore Car Museum is all of the special exhibits. If antique cars and vehicles rev your engine, the museum always has special exhibits to experience — such as The Corvette and 20th Century Vintage Cars and Trucks.

Since it was unveiled in New York in 1953, the Corvette has been seen as the prototypical dream car with its combination of speed and style. The Corvette exhibit at Gilmore really is a sight to see and features all eight generations of the Chevy Corvette.

Visitors can see many classic Corvettes, including the 1958 Chevy Impala, which was made famous in the movie “American Graffiti,” and almost two dozen Corvettes in the entire exhibit.

Gilmore Car Museum - Hickory Corners, Michigan
Gilmore Car Museum | photo via @owen_rogers18

Oh, the Events!

What’s even better is that there are Gilmore Car Museum events to attend. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to ride in a vintage vehicle, you can! The museum’s Ride the Classic event allows visitors to take a ride in some vintage cars right from the museum’s collection.

The rides are first-come, first-served and offered by donation. This event runs Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in April and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in May.

In September, visitors can check out the Cadillac-LaSalle Fall Festival, which is a celebration of all things Cadillac, one of the symbols of automotive style and technical excellence.

Also, in the fall, you can go on the Gilmore Fall Color Tour, which features 20 miles of stunning fall color in neighboring areas around the museum. Once you’re done, you can head inside and check out all the museums.

A full list of museum events can be found here.

You Get to Travel Through Time

One of the best things about the Gilmore Car Museum is that it allows you to travel back in time. As previously mentioned, you can scope out the 1941 Blue Moon Diner and the 1930s Shell station, but there are other exhibits to explore too.

The Negro Motorists Green Book Exhibit includes figures of a mother and daughter parked at a filling station. Video and informational panels give you a look at the history of discrimination experienced by African Americans as they traveled.

The Dust Bowl: The Great Migration Exhibit takes you back to the Dust Bowl era of the ’30s and ’40s. The vehicles tell the story of soup kitchen lines and farms buried in the dirt.

Gilmore Car Museum - Hickory Corners, Michigan
Gilmore Car Museum | photo via @jeffbaursphotography

Fun All the Time, Even in Winter

As you’ve read, there’s no shortage of fun Gilmore Car Museum events, including during the wintertime. The museum recently started holding a special one-day exhibit of vintage snowmobiles for a day of outdoor fun.

The exhibit features vintage snowmobiles from 1992 and older, and the sleds are paraded by decade around the museum’s circle track for all spectators to see. The event doesn’t just feature snowmobiles though.

There are scenic rides in vintage cars and trucks, outdoor games, and ice carving competitions too. Visitors can stay warm next to an outdoor fire and fill up on hot chocolate and homemade soup. If you’re looking for the perfect way to beat the winter blues, this is the place to be.

Gilmore Car Museum Winter Wonderland Holiday Experience
Gilmore Car Museum Winter Wonderland Holiday Experience | photo by Kerrie Hinkle

The Winter Wonderland Holiday Experience

Awesome Mitten writer Kerrie Hinkle found a new family tradition to cherish each year at the Gilmore Car Museum.

When you visit the Gilmore Car Museum website there is a call to action, a button that says, “Start your new family tradition.” It’s a bold claim, but I believe they nailed it! This year, my family attended the Winter Wonderland Holiday Experience for the second time.

Come to find out, this holiday event is in its infancy; it has only been running for the last three seasons! If it’s THIS good now, I can’t wait to see how they might grow in the coming years. The best part is, I will look for these changes as I watch my kids grow, too.

The Winter Wonderland Holiday Experience has something for everyone; car enthusiasts (obviously!), history buffs, gift-givers, crooners, elves, photoholics, children, and sugar addicts.

Car Enthusiasts

Car fanatics can ogle pristine classic vehicles till they drop or choose to be chauffeured in a vintage ride through the dazzling light show, perfectly timed to music pouring over the radio waves.

Dashing Through the Snow family rides through the lights in Ford Model T’s, a Checker Taxi Cab, a ‘63 Cadillac convertible, and several other cars from the Gilmore Car Museum collection. Of course, you can take in hundreds of thousands of lights from the inside of your personal vehicle as well.

Gilmore Car Museum Winter Wonderland Holiday Experience
Gilmore Car Museum Winter Wonderland Holiday Experience | photo by Kerrie Hinkle

History Buffs

Christmas Through the Decades recreates holiday living room scenes from the early 1900s to the 1990s complete with popular gifts of the era under adorned trees. This year, my parents joined our family of four to explore these indoor exhibits and it really upped the nostalgia factor!

It was great to hear them warmly reminisce about Christmases past and even the pastimes of their own parents.  


Festival of Trees is a fun and festive way to give back to the community. Trees throughout the museum are decorated by business and visitors can vote on their favorite trees by placing non-perishable food items underneath them.

I’m already planning on having each of my family members bring one item next year so we can all cast our votes while promoting the true meaning of the season; spreading a bit of peace and love to others.

Gilmore Car Museum Winter Wonderland Holiday Experience
Gilmore Car Museum Winter Wonderland Holiday Experience | photo by Kerrie Hinkle

Live Music, Photo Opportunities, and Sugar (Oh My!)

Enjoy live music in the main gallery Friday and Saturday nights and be sure to capture countless family pictures using face in the hole photo boards, sitting with Santa, or other pretty backdrops the Gilmore Car Museum set up.

However, I recommend doing these things AFTER a good sugar intake of hot cocoa and s’mores around the fire because let’s face it, sugar will help you dance longer and take silly, memorable pics!

Even More

There is so much more going on at this event I can’t capture in writing, you simply must attend to take it all in yourself.

We did not get to do ALL the things in one evening and I think that’s what will keep us coming back year after year, making The Gilmore Car Museum’s Winter Wonderland Holiday Experience our ‘new’ family tradition.

Gilmore Car Museum - Hickory Corners, Michigan
Gilmore Car Museum | photo via @owen_rogers18

Frequently Asked Questions About the Gilmore Car Museum

How much does it cost to get into the Gilmore Car Museum?

Admission for 2022 is as follows: $16 for adults/seniors; $11 for youth aged 11-17; free for active military members and children 10 and under. Consecutive two-day passes are available for $28 as well.

How long does it take to go through the Gilmore Car Museum?

You can visit and go through the museum at your own pace, but the museum recommends allowing four to six hours for your visit since there’s so much to explore.

How many cars are in the Gilmore Car Museum?

The short answer is a lot! The museum is home to more than 400 vintage cars and other vehicles.

Who started Gilmore Car Museum?

The Gilmore Museum began in the 1960s when founder Don Gilmore started a collection of vintage cars. Some of those early cars included a 1913 Rolls-Royce and a Ford Model T.

As his collection grew, he acquired the land that would eventually become the Gilmore Car Museum. It was Mrs. Gilmore who came up with the idea of opening the site to the public as a museum, and it opened to the public on July 31, 1966.

Gilmore Car Museum - Hickory Corners, Michigan
Gilmore Car Museum | photo via @elykekalb

Explore Classic & Vintage Automobiles at the Gilmore Car Museum

If you can’t get enough of vintage cars and trucks, then the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners Michigan is the place to be. Your eyes will get wide with amazement as you take it all in — the vintage cars, the rare cars, the sheer awesomeness of favorites like the Corvette and the Mustang.

Whatever your car fancy is, you can lose yourself for hours in the collection of museums. The odds are good that you’ll be leaving with a smile on your face!

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