Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Our Year in Review: 2014

by Nancy DeWitt
© Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

This was another exciting and rewarding year for the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum. We received some prestigious awards, celebrated our 5th anniversary, and retained our rating as the #1 Fairbanks visitor attraction on TripAdvisor. In February we were awarded the AACA Plaque for Outstanding Achievement in the Preservation of Automotive History by the Antique Automobile Association of America. We are honored that the AACA recognized not just our commitment to preserve and exhibit antique vehicles, but also the effort we have dedicated to researching, archiving, and sharing automotive history--including through this blog.

Other notable highlights from 2014 include:
  • We updated our display of large-format photographs featuring scenes from Alaska's early motoring days and produced a printed guide to the museum's photo exhibit.
  • We opened a new exhibit titled Extreme Motoring: Alaska's First Automobiles and Their Daring Drivers. This display about the first autos in the Territory and the hardships faced by their drivers was featured in Alaska Air Magazine, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Museums Alaska newsletter,,, and several television and radio channels.
  • Due to high interest and positive feedback, we continued our "Beauty and the Bird" feathered hat exhibit. We also added several new fashion displays to the galleries.
  • In June we hosted the 3rd biennial Alaska Midnight Sun Cruise-In at Wedgewood Resort. Despite rainy weather, we had excellent participation from car owners from around the state, a dry cruise to the Salmon Bake, and a good audience turnout for the car show before the skies opened that afternoon.
  • Several new acquisitions were added to our collection, including a 1905 Franklin and 1910 Kelsey. We stabilized our 1915 Mack truck and put it on display outside the museum. Our docents constructed a replica of the first car to win an organized race in Alaska, a Ford Model T racer.
  • Record rainfall in Fairbanks prevented us from exercising many of the museum cars, but we did manage to get several out on the road, even during December. We showed our 1911 Ford Model T depot hack and 1932 Chrysler at the annual Vernon L. Nash Antique Car Club of Alaska show and drove our 1919 Pierce-Arrow in the annual Golden Days Parade.
  • We entered our 1917 Owen-Magnetic in the Pacific Northwest Concours d'Elegance in Tacoma in September. We were pleased to take home the Best in Class trophy in the Antiques class. Congratulations to Al and Paul Murray for their fine work on this unique car.
  • We produced a new coloring book about Alaska automobile pioneer Bobby Sheldon. The book was illustrated by Fairbanks artist Sandy Jamieson and authored by our historian, Nancy DeWitt.
  • Brad Dietrich joined our team as a mechanic, providing much-needed assistance to manager Willy Vinton. As always, we had fantastic help from our dedicated group of docents.
  • We rescued the remains of the original Fageol safety coach that was used by the Mt. McKinley Transportation Company in what is now Denali National Park.
  • Staff represented the museum at several events, including the National Association of Automobile Museums annual conference in Los Angeles, Scottsdale Auction Week, Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, Bakersfield and Hershey swap meets, and Museums Alaska Conference in Seward.
  • We expanded the selection of items in the museum gift shop, including vintage-inspired jewelry, retro hats, and new t-shirt designs.
  • Our book, Alaska's Fountainhead Collection: Vintage Treads and Threads, was updated for a second printing and will go on sale in 2015.
Thank you 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. 

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