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 Post subject: OT: Why baby boomer car museums are failing . . .
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:55 pm 

Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:22 am
Posts: 521
Why baby boomer car museums are failing and millennials can fix it.

From YouTube, He is a bit full of himself, but he makes some good points.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhbVcfuBxvA&t=0s

-Hudson


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 Post subject: Re: OT: Why baby boomer car museums are failing . . .
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:10 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2015 5:00 pm
Posts: 20
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, his is just that, an opinion. If folks no longer have time to go to a museum, so be it. If looking at something on your phone, or a simulation is the way to go, fine.
Car museums have come and gone for decades. Automobilerama near Harrisburg Pa is gone, Harrahs in Nevada is gone.
I'd personally rather see a Deusenberg in person than pictures on a phone. Millenials don't even want to get a drivers licence anymore, so why have an interest in cars.
I'm 59, and when all of us horrible old folk are gone I hope the youngsters manage to create their utopia. My guess is they won't and will blame it on us.

brian b


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 Post subject: Re: OT: Why baby boomer car museums are failing . . .
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:21 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:13 am
Posts: 51
brian budeit wrote:
I'm 59, and when all of us horrible old folk are gone I hope the youngsters manage to create their utopia. My guess is they won't and will blame it on us.

brian b


And I bet their children will blame it all on them...


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 Post subject: Re: OT: Why baby boomer car museums are failing . . .
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:40 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 491
You may have missed the point he was trying to make.

By the way... I just got back from Illinois Railway Museum and I heard multiple volunteers bragging about how many young people were working that day. And they weren’t just sweeping the floor... they were on the steam crews, helping passengers board, running the trolleys etc. IRM is a truly refreshing place that really seems to get it.


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 Post subject: Re: OT: Why baby boomer car museums are failing . . .
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:14 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:09 pm
Posts: 412
If you think millennial's dont want to tinker with cars, then you really need to get out more.

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 Post subject: Re: OT: Why baby boomer car museums are failing . . .
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:27 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2015 5:00 pm
Posts: 20
If you think millennial's dont want to tinker with cars, then you really need to get out more.


I know some do and do excellent work, but owning a hotrod and going to shows over the season, the majority of the participants I see are grey haired and old like me, not all, but most. Same at the model railroad and prototype shows, a handful of twenty somethings, but mainly greybeards. Same thing with boats and groups of bikers.

I realize this is very off topic and has nothing to do with railroad preservation. I have absolutely nothing against any age group. In fact, the editor of Railfan & Railroad, you know, one of those "dead" print magazines, is a young guy and is doing a fine job.

brian b

now get off of my lawn you damn kids


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 Post subject: Re: OT: Why baby boomer car museums are failing . . .
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:29 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:08 pm
Posts: 315
Location: Amherst, Oh
Crescent-Zephyr wrote:
And they weren’t just sweeping the floor... they were on the steam crews, helping passengers board, running the trolleys etc. IRM is a truly refreshing place that really seems to get it.


And that's key. Younger people want to experience things, not necessarily be told to go sweep the floor. Thanks, but I have floors at home that need to be swept, and the company is nicer too. And yes, I understand earning respect and paying dues, but there are limits to always being given the grunt jobs.


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 Post subject: Re: OT: Why baby boomer car museums are failing . . .
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:50 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:30 am
Posts: 124
I'm a millennial 30 I think I can answer the question. I think the reason why baby boomer car museums are failing is because millennials are penny pincers and more political. I can go into the political aspect on this but I'm not. I'm a railfan myself but I do like vintage cars. I think more of my generation are too busy working than go to a car museum or car show. I have been to a few car shows and I have been to the Henry Ford museum these vintage cars were a work of art. I was 12 when I went to the Henry Ford museum and all I remember the most is the C&O 1601 and some of the cars.

I know several number of workers I work with don't drive either they can't afford to own a car or they live in a bigger city. In many cities in this country many of my generation want public transport mainly light rail because they're cleaner, greener, and more efficient. I think that my generation are more towards railroads for transportation than cars. like I said they're cleaner, more economical and efficient.

When I was in high school in the 2000s i remember students joined auto shop and I'm sure they are doing well working with cars but I don't know the school still have that program since I graduated in 08. I'm sure their will be no short on grease monkies and if they have the money and time they would make their own hot rods but that's a rarity these days for my generation. I would go to a car museum if I had the time and money to go to one and close enough for me to drive there but I don't. Hell I would like to go to a rail museum if I had the time and money to do so which I don't and that's the kind of the reason why we the Millennial generation don't go to car museums because of those reasons.

many of my generation would look them on our phones, PCs, books, videos and even movies than go see them in person because it's faster, easier, and cheaper.

I'm not going into the political side of this.

I would rather join a rail preservation society than a car society if I had the time and money which is a rarity.

just my opinion


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 Post subject: Re: OT: Why baby boomer car museums are failing . . .
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:48 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 224
Location: Philadelphia, PA
I've found that people who preserve motor vehicles, especially when they want to operate them, do so as individuals rather than a formal museum with a fixed site.

They drive or trailer their vehicles to meets, then display or drive them at the meets. No need for a formal museum.

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: OT: Why baby boomer car museums are failing . . .
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:33 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 491
I'm in my early 30's... I never liked cars, I always liked trains. I would sometimes see old cars at a museum that included them amongst trains. Now and then I would glance at an old bus, but usually I wouldn't even take a moment to notice them, even if I thought they added to the charm of a museum or old-time attraction.

And then I visited the Henry Ford Museum (the operating steam trains of course led me there) and I rode in a Model T and the driver of the Model T told me about how Henry Ford and the Model T changed the USA... suddenly I was interested in old cars. After attending the Henry Ford Old Car and Ragtime Festival.. (again... I initially wanted to go since 2 steam trains would be operating... specifically the #7.. the lovely 4-4-0!) I saw some really cool commercial vehicles and now it's my dream to one day own a Ford built Good Humor Ice Cream Truck!

The point is... don't blame the people.. blame the museum that expects people to just look at a rusting piece of transportation equipment. The Henry Ford runs their model T's for visitors to ride in... just like they run their steam trains... and just like Illinois Railway Museum runs their steam, diesel, and electric equipment.... including the trolley bus! When you ride at IRM they tell you where the equipment was built, who rode it, and what replaced it. They paint the picture and put you in the seat and you become the passenger and get to travel through time.


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 Post subject: Re: OT: Why baby boomer car museums are failing . . .
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:59 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 224
Location: Philadelphia, PA
One of our members has a Ford Model A, which he drives around. It's older than many of our trolleys. One day he invited me to take a ride and as we were cruising, a Studebaker Avanti turned the corner. An Avanti!

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: OT: Why baby boomer car museums are failing . . .
PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:04 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:33 am
Posts: 31
brian budeit wrote:
...Harrahs in Nevada is gone...



We must be thinking of different Harrah's since the National Automobile Museum in Reno that is (or at least was) part of the Harrah collection is very much still running and I visited it a few years back.

BTW, I'm 25 years old if that contextualizes anything I am about to say.

I think a previous commentator hit the nail on the head already mentioning that people who volunteer are volunteering to get involved in the nuts and bolts of the museum work, not just go out and sweep the floors. Give volunteers something meaningful to do, and they'll come back.

Another thing that is common from my experience is sometimes the 'old heads' form a bit of a clique mentality that makes it hard for younger folks to join up into the group. One of my local heritage railroads (which will be nameless) is a place I avoid despite helping a few years ago in a few volunteering stints, because I butted heads online against one of their more established volunteers. Simply put, the clique was well established at that place and when I and some friends questioned it we were basically shut out. Mind you, that experience is not mutual. I have several friends who continue to volunteer for that place, working as train crew, shop crew, etc. One of them personally spearheaded a cosmetic locomotive restoration. They got along better with the established crew and found a place they felt comfortable volunteering at, so take my negative experience with a pinch of salt since clearly it wasn't universal.

Some of my other friends were working on a steam engine restoration at another site for many years, and most of them are my age or younger. They're welcome members of that organization, one of them just barely out of high school proved he learned well in his shop classes by welding portions of the steam engine. The only thing stopping me from joining them in that group was that I lived much further away from the site they were working on the engine at, and my work schedule prevented me from meeting on their Saturday work days.

Now there are things I do fear us Millennial's will loose once the last Baby Boomer leaves the rail heritage scene. That generation was the last to see steam in somewhat regular use, one of the first to be present when rail preservation took off, and has a lifetime of knowledge inherited from years of working in the field. But I do think a new, younger generation will over time provide new insights into keeping rail preservation relevant in a world increasingly distant from the golden age of steam, especially in using social media to raise historic awareness. Furthermore I think younger generations will be less beholden to some of the "sacred cows" the older generations have set up regarding steam restorations, I.E. the debates over coal vs oil firing, diesel helpers, auxiliary tenders, high visibility vests, etc. Those are things perhaps strange to those who witnessed mainline steam in its last golden age first hand, but for a younger generation will be less seen as road blocks but more as necessities to bring steam into the 21st century.


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 Post subject: Re: OT: Why baby boomer car museums are failing . . .
PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:08 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:04 pm
Posts: 131
Just a few weeks ago I visited the Pioneer auto museum in South Dakota which is very large. Many people in my family built, owned and restored classic cars. I worked on on many classic cars and do enjoy the car shows. However I was so bored with the car museum I wondered why I even came.

Car museums in general are not very exciting places. Most of us visit these museums because we remember growing up with these old cars. I like to peek inside a 57 Chevy and remember a time when I was a broke teenager with no car. I bought a orange 57 Chevy out of some guys barn just to get to work and back. It was a rust bucket that smoked and would occasional backfire when shifting gears. But my friends loved it and so did I.

Younger people simply can not relate to these old cars in really any way. They never saw them, they probably never rode in them, and they have never even heard of the majority of them. Unfortunately since the early 80's cars have been built with no style or class. They are not worth saving and even those of us that owned them have no desire to see or ride in them again. I know I could care less if I ever see the 91 Ford Escort I used to drive. Museums do have appeal with younger people. But it needs to have a wide variety of subjects and not just cars.


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 Post subject: Re: OT: Why baby boomer car museums are failing . . .
PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:29 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
Posts: 2323
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
How many of these car museums have a collections focus and an external source of funding? It seems a lot of them are just personal collections of an individual, and they rely on that individual's funding. When that person dies, they try to continue on the entrance receipts. We all know our rail museums never succeed on that plan.

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 Post subject: Re: OT: Why baby boomer car museums are failing . . .
PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:48 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 9:18 am
Posts: 571
Location: Wall, NJ
> Unfortunately since the early 80's cars have been built with no style or class.

Wow. And there in lies the problem. Not to pick on you specifically but that is rather close minded. My son has been hot into Honda's for quite a few years now so I have been subjected to this area of car interests and COLLECTING. Many of the cars from the 1980s and 1990s are quite desirable and collectable today. Have you ever watched JDM Legends on TV? Its mainly focused on restoring Japanese cars here in the US that were mostly built in the 1980s, plus or minus a decade. Ever watch Wheeler Dealers, which while annoying, have been focusing on the more modern cars, say the 1980s and such. Mercury Capri, VW Rabbits, Opals, etc. Gosh the 1980s Jeep Grand Wagoneer has gone nuts value wise - $20K and up!

Can you picture the owners of Brass era cars wondering why in the world anyone would want a Model A or even later, why anyone would ever want 1950s Corvette or Chevy? Times change. Interests change.

I watched the whole video last night and while a tad annoying, he makes some excellent points. Static museums of just about anything are boring. 25 years ago I took my family to Mystic Seaport. Oh, what a mistake that was. Same with the RRMPA. I enjoy them, but not the kids, nor the wife.

Yes, the key is an active display, operating displays. The Simeone Foundation Museum in Philly seems to have a nice mix of static and operating displays where they have specific runs days for certain cars in the collection. Its one thing to look at a beautiful car, it's quite something else to hear its roar, its smell. I believe Owls Head may do the same thing up in Maine. And it seems that antique and classic car racing is growing in popularity here in the US.

I let my son drive my 1958 MGA recently. No seat belts, no power steering, no power brakes, drum brakes only, no air bags, no door handles, no windows, etc.. Looking at it is one thing, driving it is quite something else and that is what grabs their attention.

From a car museum standpoint, active displays win the day, which with cars is fairly easy to do. So, how do we bring this lesson to transportation museum?

And yes the old timers in the museum need to work with the young guys, help get them up to speed on operating an older piece of machinery. It pays off.

And one last point. My son has built a damn nice early 2000's Honda Civic which he is now looking to sell. If I had the room for it I would buy it. Great body design, neat modified power plant, great handling, just a blast to drive. Ah, but even a custom Subaru would be nice as well as they have a very unique engine exhaust sound. I have gone to some shows and what these kids do is amazing. No, no need to put down the 80s and 90s cars, not even the early 2000s.

Funny point, my son built a beautiful 1994 Civic based race car about 2005. Gosh, just beautiful. So beautiful in fact that it was stolen and stripped of all its parts in Philly. We got the shell back and he built it again, selling it for thousands of dollars. Not collectable? Ask the thieves and then the guy who bought the rebuilt car.

Interests change. Some American collectable cars are dropping like rocks value wise while some Japanese cars are getting noticed and their values are climbing. I'm an English car guy at heart and values are holding.

J.R. May


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