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Newport Car Museum stays current, relevant, enhancing a multi-generational appeal

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New Additions include the 2023 Corvette 3LT C8

Photo, top: (From left) Diogo Cardoso, Alex Wolo, Alex Cocuzza, and Johnny Mayo drove more than three hours from New Jersey to see the Newport Car Museum for the first time. (Photo credit: Newport Car Museum)

What can you do with those older children to maintain family activities, but they’ve “aged out” – at least for now – of many children and parent activities? Try the Newport Car Museum – nurturing those relationships, young and old.

The Newport Car Museum is fire according to young people in their teens and twenties who have become a large part of its fan base. For the benefit of those not familiar with the expression, it’s the same as saying something’s off-the-charts cool, and indeed the Museum’s private collection of over 95 classic, rare, and exotic cars – artistically displayed in seven smartly appointed galleries within a building nearly twice the size of a regulation Football field – is massively arresting.

“I’m a huge American classic fan, so I love the 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6, the Corvettes…all of them,” said Alex Wolo, a college student from Bergen County, N.J. who in January drove with friends for more than three hours to Portsmouth, R.I. to visit the Museum for the first time. “And to see the 1970 Plymouth Superbird, all intact…it’s just so cool.”

While Wolo found his favorites in the Fin Car, Corvette, Mopar and American Muscle Galleries, his buddy Diogo Cardoso most enjoyed the World Car, Ford/Shelby and Porsche Galleries. Cardoso discovered the Museum through a fan’s posting on TikTok, the second such posting in the last six months to go viral, garnering 4.2 million views. When asked upon leaving if he’d recommend the Museum to his friends, Cardoso replied, “I already have!”

By design, none of the Museum’s cars date back to before 1954. Gunther Buerman, who founded the Museum with his wife Maggie in 2017, believes it ensures that an audience for them won’t “age out” any time soon.

“Since the beginning, our objective has been to create a space that redefines what a car museum means to multiple generations of people,” said Buerman. “We’re thrilled that we can put smiles on people’s faces, no matter what their age, gender or background.”

The Newport Car Museum experience captivates the TikTok crowd and even car-savvy kids who aren’t yet 12 years old with supercars such as a 2014 McLaren P1, a 2019 McLaren Senna, and a 2006 Bugatti Veyron. Motorheads migrate to big-engine standouts such as a 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda and a 1969 Chevrolet Z28 Camaro, while the more seasoned car lovers love the trip down memory lane, lined with the rocket-inspired fins of such marques as Cadillac, Buick, Dodge, and Chrysler.

Not only does the Museum reveal cars that can’t be seen at other museums (think 2015 Porsche 918, 2004 Porsche Carrera GT, and the Museum’s pièce de résistance1965 Cobra 427 SC) but also it prides itself on constantly adding and updating, whether it’s to the car collection itself, the artwork, the lighting, the videos, or the Mid-Century Modern furniture used for seating throughout the exhibits. Most recently, the addition of a 1994 Porsche 964 Speedster completed the lineup of every Porsche Speedster developed to date, starting with the 1956 Porsche 356A. When a 2023 Corvette 3LT C8 was added to that marque’s gallery, it completed the gathering of every generation of Corvette produced, from the C1 to the C8.

A different museum experience

“At some Museums you might go once and never return because you know it doesn’t change,” said the Museum’s Glenn D’Orsi, “but here, we’re finding that almost 40% of our visitors (60,000 in 2023) are coming back, and bringing their friends, to see what’s new or what we’ve done differently.”

For the record, there are no velvet-covered ropes, no audio tour players, no sideways hush-while-you’re-here glances. A friendly freestyle format is intentional, intended to make the experience up-close-and personal while encouraging interaction with the docents and one another, even with strangers, because all have a tale to share about the cars they love.

With all of its moving pieces and muti-generational allure, the Newport Car Museum promises to continue expanding its appeal and its visitor base. It will be fire until a new catch phrase emerges to capture its essence.

More About the Newport Car Museum

The Newport Car Museum’s private collection is displayed in seven galleries, telling the story of Ford/Shelby, Corvettes, World Cars, Porsches, Fin Cars, Mopars and American Muscle Cars. Each car sits on a low platform, some that rotate and all that allow up-close and personal inspection of exterior angles, curves, and embellishments as well as interior controls, gear shifts, seats, and dashboards. The monthly “Hoods Up! Weekend” has become a popular attraction, as it further provides an unobscured view of the engines that power the cars.

In February, the 2023 Corvette 3LT C8 took its rightful position in the Corvette Gallery, completing the gathering of every generation of Corvette produced, from the C1 to the C8. (Photo credit: Newport Car Museum)

Rounding out the Museum experience: specially commissioned large-format artwork, award-winning videos and a worthy-in-its-own-right collection of Mid-20th Century Modern furnishings, which provides comfortable seating throughout 80,000 square feet of exhibit space

The Newport Car Museum is handicap accessible and hours are daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets can be bought at the door or online at www.newportcarmuseum.org(401-848-2277). Regular admission: $20/adults; $16/Seniors, Military, Students; $10/Ages 5-12 (with an adult); Free/Ages 4 and under (with an adult).

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