Nonprofit Profile: R.E. Olds Transportation Museum

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Lansing is home to the only Oldsmobile museum in the world, the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum.

As you walk into the museum, the first thing displayed is a statue of R.E. Olds and numerous personal items that were important to him. Moving on, there are displays of at least 50 cars throughout the facility, as well as various aviation crafts, engines and similar transportation items.

“This is for people who have Oldsmobile in their heart — we’re the ones trying to keep the name alive,” said executive director Deborah Horstik. “It’s a big part of Lansing’s history, and the heritage of the city is important.”

Horstik is very proud of the way the museum is assembled and has high hopes of creating a bigger facility to call home in the future.

“We’ve outgrown this building, and we have vehicles in storage,” said Horstik.

Although there are many schools that venture into the museum, the majority of people who come in are from out of town.

“We bring visitors from all over the world,” said Horstik. “We’ve had someone from every state except for one visit last year, and someone from all but one continent.”

Horstik noted that a slightly higher percentage of men visit as opposed to women, but the difference is minimal.

“Men like engines, and we have an awesome array of stationary engines,” said Horstik.

Admission for adults is $5, $3 for students and seniors 65 years and older, and free for children under the age of 12. The museum also has a family-friendly admission policy: $10 can get up to 10 people in the same household in to view the numerous transportation devices.

The most popular display in the museum, according to Horstik, is its Mama & Baby REO display. Both manufactured in 1906, the Baby is one-fourth the size of the Mama and is an identical, fully functional, gas-powered miniature replica.

Currently, the museum is raffling off a 1967 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible to raise money toward a new building. Tickets are $20 each or three for $50, and the raffle will run through November.

The museum is also gearing up for its 17th annual car show on Saturday, August 14, 2010. This event will feature live bands, a beer tent, vendors and tours of the museum. This will be the first time that the event will be on site, starting at noon and ending at 11 p.m.


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Tags: car museum, Deborah Horstik, lansing museums, oldsmobile, r.e. olds transportation museum

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