Monday, December 30, 2013

Our Year in Review

by Nancy DeWitt
© Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

What a year! Each one just gets better and better, and 2013 was full of accomplishments. Most notably, we had our best year ever for attendance and gift shop sales. Based on direct feedback and on-line comments, our visitors were very pleased with their museum experience. In fact, their reviews on TripAdvisor earned us the top ranking for Fairbanks attractions for the second year in a row! It's never too late to submit your review, which you can do by clicking on this link.

Other highlights from 2013 include:
  • We hosted a number of school field trips at the museum and offered rides in the Snow Flyer to almost 50 children during Tired Iron week.
  • Historic fashion consultant Abigail Cucolo joined our staff for several months and accomplished a whirlwind of projects. She led fashion tours, wrote blog posts, organized our storage room, cataloged over 700 items into a database, repaired garments, and added over 30 new outfits to the galleries. She also curated our "Beauty and the Bird" exhibit and created several new displays, including ones on undergarments, Fortuny gowns, and WAVES uniforms.
  • Our docents continued to provide valuable support, from educating visitors and providing security during private receptions, to dusting cars and helping Willy with innumerable repair projects in the shop.
  • We worked hard to improve the visitor experience and began offering free audio tours with admission. One guest wrote of the audio tour: "Very good and really adds to the experience."
  • We acquired J. Parker Wickham's library and now have a wonderful collection of resources for research.
  • We participated in the Vernon L. Nash Antique Car Club annual show, Golden Days Show and Shine, and a fairly soggy Golden Days Parade. We were delighted to be selected to carry the winner of the Miss World Eskimo Indian Olympics pageant and her court in our 1919 Pierce-Arrow.
  • We added a number of videos to our YouTube channel, which receives about 2,500 views a week.
  • We had five articles published in national magazines, including The Bulb Horn, Horseless Carriage GazetteAir-Cooled News, and The Classic Car. The museum was also featured in articles in Alaska Magazine, The Ruralite, and Old Cars Weekly.
  • Our historian attended the National Association of Automobile Museum's annual conference in Lincoln, Nebraska, and was elected to the NAAM board of directors.
  • Our manager attended a number of national and regional events, including the Chickasha and Bakersfield Swap Meets, the Scottsdale auctions, and the Hershey Swap Meet.
  • With the help of some great volunteers, we got one of Fairbanks's first Dodge automobiles running again and helped drive it to Valdez to commemorate the first automobile trip to the coast. The story is posted here.
  • In July we hosted a full house for a presentation about the 1908 Great Race by Jeff Mahl, great grandson of the winning car's driver, George Schuster. He gave a fabulous program and we thank everyone who came (and NAPA for sponsoring the event!).
  • We added three automobiles to the Fountainhead Collection, including a 1902 Knox, 1906 Pope-Toledo, and 1910 Schacht. The Pope-Toledo won several awards before we shipped it north, including First in Class (Antiques) at the Kirkland Concours d'Elegance, and Third in Class (A-1 Antiques) and the Ansel Adams Special Award at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
  • The majority of the museum automobiles got a tune-up and some road time this year. Here are a few out getting some exercise--can you identify them all?
Thank you all for another great year!

Coming to Fairbanks to see the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum and other area attractions? Support the museum by staying right here at Wedgewood Resort. All guests receive half-price admission to the museum!

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