Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Premier Automobile Arrives

by Nancy DeWitt

Our 1912 Premier Model 6-60 roadster arrived on Sunday, and what a beauty she is! In this photo you'll note that the headlights have been removed for shipping. When transporting these cars to Alaska, it's important that accessories such as lamps, mirrors, and the spare tire and horn be removed, bubble-wrapped and boxed. Otherwise, these might bounce off and be damaged. The boxes cannot be placed loose inside the car, as these could shift and damage the vehicle. Thanks to BATS Motorsports, the Premier arrived in good shape.

After polishing the brass, Willy and Tim took the Premier out for a spin. Tim says "It's the most refined and smoothest Brass Era automobile I have ever driven. It almost feels like it has power steering. In fact, I was able to steer it with one hand." Willy seconded Tim's comments and added that the Premier runs very well and is easy to operate. Both noted that the car has tremendous torque and accelerates easily. Its rare combination of outstanding performance and refinement prompted it's previous owner to declare, "It's got a lot of go, and almost no whoa!"

We recently acquired this Premier from the the Nethercutt Museum. It is one of the largest Brass Era roadsters ever built and quite possibly the last 6-cylinder Premier in existence. It has a 140" wheelbase and a 60-HP engine that displaces 501 cu. in. If you visit the museum, be sure to check out the unique and complex air starter under this Premier's hood.

Note that we have switched to our winter hours and are now open Sundays from noon-6 pm.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

by Derik Price

Last week Wedgewood Resort hosted the Museums Alaska and Alaska Historical Society joint annual Conference.  It was a terrific event and brought people together from around the State to talk about the importance of historical preservation.  There were quite a number of presentation, classes and conference events packed into four days.

Willy Vinton and I were asked to participate as speakers in the Preservation Ethics and Industrial History Collections session.  Speaking as well - in order were -
Alaska Aviation Museum (Planes)
Friends of Tanana Valley Railroad (Trains)
FAAM - (Automobiles)

Willy and I spoke about the differences between preservation and restoration and the criteria we use to determine whether or not to alter, replace, run, or even clean, a particular automobile.

But I especially enjoyed hearing Dan of FTVRR go through the (near decade) long process of getting permission, through restoration and finally running, the 100 year old Engine No. 1 -

 Photo from the FTVRR website.

Special thanks to Scott Carrlee for inviting us to participate and I look for to attending future Conferences.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Kirkland Concours Results in Win for our 1917 Pierce-Arrow!

by Derik Price

Last weekend Tim and Willy participated in presenting our 1921 Heine-Velox and the 1917 Pierce-Arrow in the Kirkland Concours.   The 1917 Pierce-Arrow won the Participants Choice award and everyone had a great time.

(Photo courtesy of 

Big thanks to Al Murray of Murray Motorcars for getting them ready and doing the leg work on getting them to the show - A huge amount of effort goes into getting these vehicles to a show.

Next stop for the vehicles is Fairbanks!  The 1917 Pierce was purchased recently, at Pebble Beach, and the 1921 Heine-Velox has been in restoration at Al Schmidt's in Southern California for almost two years.  We look forward to seeing these vehicles here in Alaska.

As a teaser - The 1921 Heine-Velox and the 1912 Premier are scheduled to leave Washington next week and we anticipate their arrival at the Museum sometime around Sept. 27th.  The 1917 Pierce and the 1907 White Steamer ship a couple weeks behind them!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mr. Whitekeys strikes again!

by Derik Price

Mr. Whitekeys did another great clip about his summer visit to the FAAM on KTUU

Here's a link in case you're browser doesn't like the embed below.

Thanks, Mr. Whitekeys!

Friday, September 10, 2010

An Update on our Clothing Collection

by Barb Cerny, Vintage Clothing Curator

We recently brought up Colleen Callahan and Newbie Richardson from Costume and Textile Specialists in Virginia to take a look at the Fountainhead antique clothing collection and evaluate our exhibits. They spent two days assessing the collection and teaching us how to care for, repair and store the clothing to maintain its condition. We also learned how to carve, stuff and dress mannequins to better exhibit the “silhouettes” of the time periods on display.

We next hosted a day-long workshop for museum staff and anyone interested in costume and textile maintenance and exhibition. We had 16 attendees, along with some museum visitors who sat in for a while. We all were enthralled for 7.5 hours as Newbie and Colleen discussed topics ranging from philosophy of textile and costume conservation in museums, wet and dry cleaning techniques, stabilization through hand-sewing, storage options and materials, forms, mannequins and mounting of exhibits. We ended with a demonstration of how to dress a form with a 19th Century garment from the Fountainhead collection. Our exhibit now contains a one-of-a-kind gown from the 1880s sporting colorful birds that are actually woven into the fabric of the skirt. The dress looks lifelike on the mannequin.

We now have over 50 vintage outfits on display inside the museum and hope you will come see them soon.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Compound Weekend

by Willy Vinton

One of the fun and rewarding things about working here is meeting descendants of some of the automakers whose cars are in our museum. Last weekend Gregory Prior and his uncle Stanton Prior made a trip to Fairbanks to visit the museum, specifically to see the 1906 Compound Model 7 1/2 we have on display. Greg and Stanton are the direct descendants of  David Graham, who was the general superintendent for  Eisenhuth Horseless Vehicle Company.  Both men were in the past, and presently involved in the design of automobiles. Greg is currently working for Chrysler and had worked for GM in the past, designing cars and product. They have been tracking our Compound (the only one known to still exist) for several years and decided that it was time for them to see it, so they made a special trip up to Fairbanks, arriving on Friday night and leaving Monday morning.

Here are Greg and Stanton sitting proudly in the car with the engine designed by their ancestor and Frank Fox.

Since they had made the effort to come all the way to see the compound, I told them we would fire it up and give them a ride if we could get the weather to cooperate. Saturday was a gloomy day and we could not make it happen, but on Sunday we found an opening in the weather long enough to get the car out, spend 10 minutes getting it started and then taking it for a spin. That was a very special moment for both of them, and will provide many tales to be told around the campfires for years to come.

Greg and Stanton brought a mountain of knowledge, paperwork, photos, blueprints, articles, advertisements and original parts lists for the Compound to share with us. We thank them for making the journey, and for providing another tale for our campfires as well.