If you like cars you’ll love the Museum of Automobiles in Morrilton, AR. This Rockefeller collection turned museum houses over 50 gorgeous, vintage vehicles, dating from 1904 to 1981. The museum also displays antique motorcycles, guns, license plates, arcade machines, auto memorabilia, and more.
Winthrop Rockefeller (1912 – 1973) was a third-generation member of the famous Rockefeller family and 37th Governor of Arkansas, serving from 1967 to 1971. He moved to Central Arkansas in 1953, establishing “Winrock Farms” cattle ranch atop Petit Jean Mountain.
Among many other pursuits, Rockefeller collected antique and classic cars. So many that, in 1964, he decided to found the Museum of Automobiles. When Rockefeller died in 1973, most of his car collection was sold. The museum grounds were donated to the Arkansas Department of Parks.
The Museum reopened in 1976 when a non-profit corporation leased the building from the state and populated it with cars on loan from collectors around the country. The Museum of Automobiles was back to stay!
Visiting The Museum
Today the Museum of Automobiles is home to more than 50 antique cars, motorcycles, automobile memorabilia, and more.
The museum even managed to retain some of Winthrop Rockefeller’s collection. His 1951 Cadillac is here, as well as his 1914 Cretor’s popcorn wagon. You’ll also see his 1967 Cadillac with its stunning, sterling-silver Santa Gertrudis hood ornament.
The museum is also home to the only known Climber vehicles in existence. Climber Motor Corporation was Arkansas’ first automotive manufacturing company. The company, founded 1919 in North Little Rock, prided itself in making vehicles that would climb like a tractor. They probably should have focused a little harder on finances. By 1923 they were gone.
Other standouts in the collection include a 1904 Oldsmobile French Front, a 1913 Metz Runabout, a 1929 Marmon Coupe, and a 1981 Delorean DMC 12. Motorcycles are also in the collection, with a 1913 Harley Davidson Racer, a 1950 Cushman Eagle, and others on display.
You’ll also see exhibits of antique guns, license plates, arcade machines, an antique gas pump and a working player piano! Be sure to check out all the classic car goodness for sale in the Museum gift shop, too.
Buy, Sell, Trade
The Museum also serves as headquarters for the Mid-American Old Time Automobile Association (MOTAA).
The organization hosts regular car shows and swap meets on the Museum grounds. Father’s Day weekend always sees the largest of these shows.
The 62nd Annual Petit Jean Car Show is scheduled for June 17-19, 2020.
The Museum of Automobiles
8 Jones Lane, Morrilton, AR 72110
Open daily, 10am to 5pm – Closed on Christmas.
No matter what part of the state you find yourself in for your Arkansas getaway, there is a locally owned and operated Arkansas inn nearby, offering a high level of personal service, amenities, and breakfasts you cannot get anywhere else. Do yourself a big favor and stay at an Arkansas bed and breakfast!