Monday, January 19, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Adult Admission - BUY 1, GET 1 FREE!
Purchase one adult admission, a second adult will be admitted for FREE.
Offer applies to same day, regular adult admission only. Cannot be combined with other offers.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
This is the second major expansion in the Museum's 11 years of existence. The Museum is currently conducting a Capital and Endowment Campaign effort to fund the expansion/renovation and provide for the Museum's future. More than half of the $1.1 million has been committed by Mr. George Staley and by a donation from NBT Bank. Martin A. Dietrich, CEO of NBT Bank, stated that “The Northeast Classic Car Museum is one of the area's great success stories and NBT is pleased to be an early contributor as the Museum takes another step forward in its phenomenal growth.”
Currently, renovations are underway at the facility. The building being renovated is at least 70 years old. It once housed Bennett-Ireland, a manufacturer of fire place equipment. The Museum plans to take advantage of the building's clerestory windows and elevated center space to complement exhibits. No decisions have been made about exhibits that will occupy the space but the Exhibit Committee will begin to evaluate possibilities in the near future.
At the conclusion of the project, the building will be completely renovated to include new exterior wall covering to be consistent with the rest of the Museum's buildings, new windows, insulation, electrical, and HVAC.
Currently the Museum has on exhibit approximately 120 automobiles and is open 9a.m.-5p.m. daily, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.
Contact Person: Doreen Bates, Executive Director (607)334-2886
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Anyone who graduated from high school in 1955 knows that the records played at those dances after the basketball games did not include rock-n-roll, but were ballads such as You Belong to Me by JoStafford, Too Young by Nat King Cole, If by Perry Como, Please Mr. Sun by Johnnie Ray, Wish You Were Here by Eddie Fisher, Wheel of Fortune by Kay Starr, and Why Don’t You Believe Me? by Joni James. The saccharine lamentations of the crooners were relieved only by some novelty songs such as Come On-a My House by Rosemary Clooney and Doggie in the Window by Patti Page.
Bill Haley and the Comets introduced the rock-n-roll era in 1956 with Rock Around the Clock, in a movie by the same name. Also in 1956, Elvis Presley captured the ratings with four huge hits: Heartbreak Hotel, Don’t Be Cruel, Hound Dog, and Love Me Tender. Examples of other hits that followed were Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis in 1958 and Stagger Lee by Lloyd Price in1959. The latter years of the 1950s thus became the beginning of the rock-n-roll era. (The Beatles didn’t appear on the Ed Sullivan Show until 1964.) This is the music that is commonly associated with the 1950s, even though in reality it represents only the latter half of the decade.
The same is true of other elements of 50s culture, including the automobile. Cars of the early part of the decade were quite different from those of the later years.To understand the changes that occurred throughout the automobile industry, it is necessary to go back to 1946, when the post-war production took up where pre-war styles had left off in 1941. Generally speaking, fenders were separately defined, transmissions were standard shift, batteries were 6 volt, and colors were dull. These styles continued until 1949, when the first “shoebox”Fords led the way to a more streamlined appearance. All the car companies, and there were several more American brands than there are today, changed the side view of their cars to a straight line that extended from the headlights to the taillights, making “fender” a term that merely identifiedthe four corners of the car. Automatic transmissions became more common, but the colors remained on the dull side, with a preponderance of black, gray, dark blue and dark green. These changes, considered radical when they were introduced in 1949, continued through the early 1950s, with minor style changes making each year easily identifiable.
The next major change in style occurred in 1955, proving the point that the decade saw two distinct types of cars. In addition to a further streamlining that was influenced by the jet airplane and the rocket, the cars of the late 50s appeared in bright colors, sometimes two or three in combination, and began to grow…..fins! As everyone knows, the fins grew in size and prominence, reaching their spectacular peak in 1959. The changes in appearance from year to year became more pronounced, and the interest in each September’s introduction of the new styles was intense for most young men. The new models were closely shielded from the public’s eye until the announced date, when searchlights lit up the sky to publicize the grand event.
The difference between the cars of the early 50s and those of the late 50s is evident in almost every aspect of the automobile. In addition to the colors and styles of the exterior, engines became more powerful, interiors were prettier in both color and material, and cars became bigger.
Station wagons represented a greater proportion of cars sold.
The Nifty Fifties exhibit contrasts cars from both ends of the decade, as well as shows some of the automobiles from companies which are no longer with us.
Jim Dunne, Chairman Exhibits Committee
You can’t always find a doctor at the Museum, but you can always find a doctor’s coupe. Presently on exhibit there are two—a 1924 Ford owned by Museum board member Bill Ballard and his wife Sandy, and George Staley’s 1926 Franklin.
The term “doctor’s coupe” is really a misnomer. Most major car manufacturers made a model called a business coupe. These cars had two doors, one seat for two or three people, and no rumble seat in the back.
The “no frills” interior was perfect for traveling salesmen who used the space behind the front seat to store paperwork, samples, and items for sale. Rural mail carriers found it the perfect car to carry the sorted mail to be delivered, the mail they would pick up from their customers, and for the stamps, postcards, and other supplies that they had to have on hand for the convenience of their customers.
n a time before ambulance service, the doctor was, in many cases, the person who transported his patient to the hospital. For a doctor, the interior of the business coupe was more specialized. As shown in the inset, besides the driver’s seat and a bench seat in the back, there is a folding “jump-seat.” Folded, this seat allowed more leg room for the patient, but for a more seriously-ill patient, it allowed for someone to care for the patient while being transported.
In the back seat, directly behind the driver’s seat, there is a platform to hold the doctor’s bag. Black finish was the only color available from the factory. The tan/brown upholstery is the authentic color for the period, changing to gray/black in 1926. Base price for this car was $525.
Museum board member Warren Nash owns a Franklin doctor’s coupe identical to the one in the Museum’s Franklin Exhibit. If you’re in Norwich on a summer night, don’t be too surprised if you see him “putting around the City streets.”
The car was passed down to Warren from his father.This car was purchased in 1960 and carefully restored to its original condition. The wheels have painted wooden spokes.