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Museum of Automobiles Celebrates 50 Years


Located atop Petit Jean Mountain near Morrilton, the Museum of Automobiles has more than 50 cars on display, ranging from a 1904 Oldsmobile French Front to a 1967 Ford Ranchero. Most of the vehicles date to before 1950. It is home to the only Climber automobiles known to exist with the 1923 Climber Touring on display (photo right).

“We rotate some new cars in periodically throughout the year,” Buddy Hoelzeman, museum director, says. “Eight to ten cars per year are changed out. We’re continually looking for new cars because we have a lot of return visitors to Petit Jean.”

The museum consists of 22,500 square feet of display space and a gift shop. Other auto-related collections on display are antique gas pumps and gasoline equipment, and license plates. The museum also has a small gun collection display and antique arcade machines, including a player piano.


Founded by the late Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller, The Museum of Automobiles opened Oct. 18, 1964 with his collection of antique and classic cars. Following Rockefeller’s death, the museum building and grounds were given to Arkansas State Parks. A non-profit organization was formed to reopen the Museum the following year. Several of Rockefeller’s personal cars are on exhibit.


The museum also hosts two car shows and swap meets each year, where collectors buy and sell cars, car parts, and anything related to the hobby. The best known of these is the MOTAA sponsored June car show and swap meet that is held June the week of Father's Day. Active in the Old Car Hobby, the museum serves as the headquarters for the Mid-America Old Time Automobile Association (MOTAA).

The museum, located at the eastern entrance of Petit Jean State Park on Ark. 154, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, closing only on Christmas Day. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors aged 65 and older, $5 for students ages 6-17, and free for children under six accompanied by an adult. Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more.

For more information, call 501-727-5427 or visit http://www.museumofautos.com/ .