Exploring Auto Museums: Indiana

Kevin Feather
| February 22, 2024 | 3 Minute Read

Auto Museums in Indiana

Indiana, like other states in the Midwest, has been a hub of car manufacturing since the late 19th century. Early on, as neighboring Michigan was laying the foundation to be the center of the auto industry, the state of Indiana was home to several innovative automobile companies.

There was Apperson Automobile Company based in Kokomo, the Inter-State Automobile Company in Muncie, and in the city for which it was named, there was the Auburn Automobile Company which built one of the first front wheel drive cars in the US.

Today, Indiana is home to many foreign and domestic auto suppliers and manufacturers including AM General, General Motors, Honda, Subaru and Toyota. And Fiat Chrysler Automobiles produce all the company’s North American transmissions in Kokomo and Tipton, Indiana.

With this rich history of manufacturing and automotive innovation, it’s no wonder there are so many auto museums in Indiana. Here are a few of our favorites.

couple standing in the Auburn Cord Dusenberg Automobile Museum  The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum

The Auburn Cord Dusenberg Automobile Museum

First opened in 1974, the Auburn Cord Dusenberg Automobile Museum was a community’s tribute to the city’s vibrant automotive history. The museum’s home is the former headquarters of the Auburn Automobile Co., and its the goal was to save both the building and the legacy of this historic car manufacturer.

Today, this Auburn, Indiana museum houses more than 120 historic and significant classic cars from the 1920s and 1930s. Inside, visitors can view Auburns, Cords and Dusenburgs in the company’s original showroom. This is the only automobile museum in the world housed in the manufacturer’s original headquarters.

The Auburn Cord Dusenberg is open each day from 9 AM to 5 PM.

children at play in the area designed for kids at the Studebaker National Museum Studebaker National Museum

Studebaker National Museum

Located in South Bend, Indiana, the Studebaker National Museum opened its doors in 2005 and features three levels of galleries and storage facilities. This museum seeks to preserve and showcase the long history of the Studebaker Corporation, starting with the 1835 Conestoga Wagon to the very last car to leave the company’s assembly line in 1966.

Visitors learn how the company successfully transitioned from building horse-drawn wagons to designing and building automobiles for the post-horse and buggy era. The museum also has the largest exhibit of Presidential carriages in the world.

The museum is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM, except on Sundays, when doors open at noon and close at 5 PM.

riding on the track in an oldie Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum and Hall of Fame

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum and Hall of Fame

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum and Hall of Fame is in the state’s largest city, Indianapolis and is one of the oldest and most well-respected facilities in the world. This famous racetrack was initial constructed in 1909 and is now a designated National Historic Landmark as well as an icon in the world of auto racing.

The museum itself was opened in 1956 to showcase the racetrack and historic racing cars and related memorabilia. Today, the museum is one of the world’s premier collections of racing cars, artifacts and other vehicles associated with the racing world. With over 37,500 square feet of space, visitors can see vintage cars, racing trophies, event photos, fine art and other items of significance from the sport of racing.

Call in advance for open times and dates. The museum began a renovation project in 2023, which has limited attendance to daily track tours of the speedway itself.

A look inside the National Automotive and Truck Museum in Indiana National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States

National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States

Located in the same building as the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, the National Automotive and Truck Museum is another Auburn, Indiana, destination not to miss. The museum’s mission is to present over 130 years of transportation manufacturing to enrich and educate all generations about America’s auto and truck history. The museum is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM except Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

The museum features a large collection of American trucks, starting with the 1910 IH Autowagons. Other exhibits include the first Auburn Automobile Dealership, a model car gallery and a collection of vintage pedal cars from the early 20th century.

Tudor in the Model T Museum in Indiana Model T Museum

Model T Museum

The Model T Museum, located in Richmond, Indiana, highlights the early years of Ford with the company’s production of the Model T from 1908 to 1927. With over 40 vehicles, a vintage garage, a vehicle showroom and a working machine shop, the exhibit also includes artifacts from the era and a gift and book shop.

The museum is open Tuesday to Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM and Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM. 

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