The Walter P. Chrysler Museum. Image courtesy FCA.
In December 2012, the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, Michigan, closed its doors to the public after losing nearly $1.5 million in the preceding two years. Since then, the museum has been open to the public only on special occasions, with most tied to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) group events or Chrysler Employee Motorsport Association (CEMA) car shows. That changes next month, as FCA has announced plans for the limited reopening of the Chrysler Museum.
The museum will host a soft opening for invited guests and Chrysler employees this Saturday, May 14, but this is a private event not open to the public. On June 4 and 5, the museum will once again open its doors to all, welcoming visitors from 10-4, and Chrysler has published a list of list of additional opening dates for the remainder of 2016. These are:
- June 25 & 26 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- July 9 &10 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- July 16 & 17 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- August 6 & 7 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- August 19, 20 & 21 – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- September 10 & 11 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- September 24 & 25 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- October 1 & 2 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- October 22 & 23 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- November 5 & 6 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- November 19 & 20 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- December 17 & 18 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Per FCA’s Jennifer Herman, the museum will be staffed by volunteers to keep operating costs at a minimum, ensuring the facility doesn’t run into the same financial trouble it has in the past. Admission will be $10 for adults, $8.00 for seniors (over age 62), $6.00 for youths (6-17), and free for children under age 5.
The museum’s three floors and 55,000 square feet contain over 65 production, custom and concept vehicles that help tell the story of Chrysler’s contribution to automotive design and evolution, as well as to American culture.
The building’s atrium is dominated by a rotating tower highlighting Chrysler concept vehicles over the years, and the first floor is dedicated to the brand’s first half-century, with vehicles on display from De Soto, Hudson, Nash, Plymouth, Rambler, Willys-Overland and others.
The second floor begins with the introduction of the first Hemi V-8 in 1951 and carries through the muscle car era, the birth of electronics and computers in cars and even bold experiments like the Chrysler turbine car.
The lower level is referred to as “Boss Chrysler’s Garage,” and contains key products from the 1960s and ’70s, along with racing cars, Jeeps, trucks and other assorted vehicles from the Chrysler collection. In short, there’s something of interest for fans of any brand, not just Mopar aficionados.
Following this weekend’s private event, details (including the schedule above) will be posted on the museum’s website, at WPChryslerMuseum.org.