The Blackhawk Automotive Museum (founded 1988) is a museum in Danville, California, best known for its significant collection of classic, rare and unique automobiles. The Museum is a not for profit 501(c)3 private operating foundation.
The museum houses about ninety classic cars. It also houses a display showcasing the work of the Wheelchair Foundation. The facility is located within the Blackhawk Plaza shopping center, and is an affiliate through the Smithsonian Affiliations program.
Founded by a partnership between benefactor Ken Behring and Don Williams that began in 1982, the Blackhawk Automotive Museum first opened its doors in August 1988. The Museum, a not for profit 501(c)3 private operating foundation, was established to ensure that significant automotive treasures would be exhibited for public enjoyment and educational enrichment.
One of the museum's most unusual features is a 1924 Hispano-Suiza H6C with a body paneled with tulipwood. Over the years, the museum has also housed a 1962 John F. Kennedy limousine and a Chinese Hongqi, the first Chinese made automobile to be imported to the United States.
Several changing exhibitions, representative of topics in transportation, culture and science as they relate to our society have been hosted in the various galleries and reception areas throughout the Museum. Current exhibitions include selections of American Jukeboxes from the golden age of the juke box and a display of antique gas station pumps. Since 2000 the Blackhawk Automotive Museum has been an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and together they have partnered to bring a variety of cultural exhibitions, historical artifacts and significant automobiles from one coast to the other.
The first floor usually features classic European sports and touring cars such as those from Ferrari or Aston Martin, but has also featured conventional American classic cars such as the Chevrolet Bel Air and classic race cars like the Ford GT40 or cars from the IMSA GT Championship.
The second floor mezzanine provides a lounge area and a panoramic overlook of the lower gallery.
The third floor features priceless antique automobiles and unique automobiles from the beginning of the motoring age up to the 1960s. The aforementioned Hispano Suiza is on this floor.
European Train Enthusiasts
Every year the European Train Enthusiasts bring in a modular display of HO Scale model trains and a scale model version of the European countryside. Their exhibition runs the day after Thanksgiving until the first week of January.
Wheelchair Foundation Gallery
Another truly unique aspect of the Blackhawk Automotive Museum is the Wheelchair Foundation Gallery. The Wheelchair Foundation was formed by Ken Behring in 2000 to provide mobility, to the countless individuals in need. Since 2000, the Foundation has provided wheelchairs to improve the lives of more than 900,000 around the world. This gallery showcases the work of the Wheelchair Foundation around the world with videos, artifacts and other information.
- The plaza in front of the entryway will occasionally have vehicles exhibited by local car clubs.
- Two automobiles are located in the lobby on either side of the reception desk.
The vehicles are often rotated to make the showcase more attractive and to reflect new exhibitions.
- "Wheelchair Foundation Gallery at Blackhawk Museum"
- Alison Goldstein (2010). "Area museums open their doors... free". Tri-City Voice. Retrieved 15 Jul 2011.
- Bomstead, Carl (December 2013). "Blackhawk Celebrates 25 Years". Sports Car Market 25 (12): 44.
- http://www.blackhawkmuseum.org/exhibit_auto.html See photo four.
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