Newport Car Museum officially opens its doors for the first time on June 1 and is already well on its way to becoming a marquee attraction for visitors to New England as well as a regional gathering place for those passionate about automobiles. A private collection of some 50 automobiles at the museum focuses on six decades of modern industrial automotive design and celebrates cars as works of art.
“We believe that the wonderfully talented industrial designers that flourished after World War II were not unlike the sculptors and artists of the Renaissance Period,” said Gunther Buerman, who with his wife Maggie Buerman founded Newport Car Museum. “Their creative passion is reflected especially in automobile design of the 1950s through the ’70s and from 1990 to the present, which is the focus of our collection.”
The Buermans note that separate exhibits for Ford Shelbys, Corvettes, World Cars, Fin Cars and Chrysler Mopars have been carefully curated to appeal to men as well as women and to all generations, from grandparents to parents to children. A collection of Mid-Century modern furniture – by iconic designers such as Americans Charles and Ray Eames and Florence Knoll Bassett, and Denmark’s Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner – has been integrated into the artistic stylings of the museum, while six driving simulators await those wanting to test their skills on the toughest raceways and road courses in the world.
“The location and space here gives us everything we need to present a very special modern design experience,” said Maggie Buerman about the museum’s unlikely but accommodating home: a 114,000 sq. ft. building that was once a missile manufacturing plant. Completely gutted and renovated for its current purpose, it is located on 17 acres at the Raytheon Company campus in Portsmouth, R.I., just a short drive from the state’s famed tourist destination of Newport.
Newport Car Museum includes 50,000 square feet of exhibit area, offices, a library and 5,000 square feet of event space that can accommodate parties for as many as 500 people. The space also includes corporate break-out rooms and other special locations for gatherings, such as “Coffee and Cars,” that the museum plans to regularly host for the community.
Free parking for over 300 cars is available and is proving especially attractive for car clubs and other organizations that have indicated their desire to visit the museum in groups. Located on-site but operated separately from the museum is 30,000 square feet of temperature-controlled storage space for approx. 70 private cars, with a garage and concierge service.
Newport Car Museum is handicap accessible and hours are daily, Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed Christmas and New Year’s Day). Tickets can be bought at the door or online at www.newportcarmuseum.org where more information and directions are available.