When you’re hitting the highway this Spring, looking for cool things to do in New England, there’s no reason not to visit the Newport Car Museum. In fact, here are ten reasons why the Museum is a must-see, even if your travel companions say they don’t fancy vintage cars. (After making this pit stop, their fancies just might change.)
1. A mix of old and new – Models ranging from 1954 to 2019 are included in a significant private collection of more than 75 beautiful, rare and interesting cars covering seven decades of automobile design. Displayed in six galleries, they tell the story of Ford/Shelby, Corvettes, World Cars, Fin Cars, Mopars and American Muscle Cars.
2. No ropes around the cars – This means you can get up close to inspect and photograph. Low-rise platforms, turntables, theatrical lighting, specially commissioned large-format artwork and award-winning videos are what make this an art museum experience, not a visit to a gearhead’s garage.
3. Friendly, knowledgeable staff and docents – No audio tours here. The intent is for visitors to engage in lively exchanges of information and recollections. The founders consider car lovers from around the world “family” and can often be seen interacting with visitors on the Museum floor.
4. A chance to see the engines – During “Hoods Up” Weekends, typically scheduled for the second Saturday and Sunday of every month, the Museum reveals the engines that make the cars rock, rumble and roar.
5. Mid-Century modern furniture – An eclectic collection matches the eras of the automobiles and is dispersed throughout the Museum, providing comfortable, fun places to sit and contemplate the cars as works of art.
6. Eight driving simulators–These are the ones the pros use, and they allow you to test your racing skills in just about any car on any course in the world (first session free with admission).
7. Open seven days a week – Except for Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Thanksgiving Day, the hours are always from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., so there’s not a chance of being let down by a locked door.
8. Handicap accessible – Wide open spaces make it easy to navigate the galleries and enjoy every exhibit. The Museum even has its own wheelchairs they’ll let you borrow.
9. Plenty of free parking – Three hundred spaces are located just outside the doors of the Museum, so parking is easy. This convenience also makes the Museum a hit with car clubs from all over the Northeast who schedule “Cars and Coffee” events there, so if you hit it right, you get to see even more cool cars in the parking lot and mingle with more interesting people inside!
10. Great value for the money – You can spend 90 minutes or half a day indulging in all there is to do and see at the Newport Car Museum. Adults pay only $18 for admission, with discounts applied for seniors, students, military, and kids. A giant gift shop – with a motorized eight-foot high K’nex ferris wheel as its centerpiece – is also a crowd pleaser.
So, there you have it. Suffice it to say the Newport Car Museum offers something for everyone, even those who think they don’t fancy vintage cars.