The Seal Cove Auto Museum is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, housing a collection of vehicles, automotive items, and other objects that tell the story of innovation and ingenuity in New England and American through the early development of the auto. The Museum was originally founded by Richard C. Paine, Jr. as a place to keep and display his personal automotive collection in the mid-1960s. Today, the Museum operates as a professional private non-profit, owning and caring for a collection of cars, license plates, and other memorabilia that has grown beyond the founding collection.
The remainder of the cars at the Museum are owned by the Richard C. Paine, Jr. Automobile Charitable Trust, an independent private non-profit foundation, classified as an educational organization with the NTEE category of Arts, Culture and Humanities. The Trust was established in 2007 with funds from the sale of a portion of the cars from Richard C. Paine's original collection, with the purpose of providing funding to the Auto Museum. The cars owned by the Trust are to be displayed at the Auto Museum in perpetuity.