The Seal Cove Auto Museum has been recognized for its significant work in the world of automobile museums, further establishing the institution as a cultural leader in ensuring that an important era from our collective past is shared and not forgotten, in Maine and beyond.
The Museum recently brought home a “NAAMY” award from the annual conference of the National Association of Automobile Museums (NAAM). The first-place award was presented to the Seal Cove Auto Museum for their “Auto Wars: Then & Now” exhibit, which opened in 2016 and will remain on display through October of 2017. Judges appreciated the visitor-friendliness of the choose-your-own adventure presentation of the exhibit, its attractive and informative design and signage, and its overall creativity.
The “Auto Wars” exhibit commemorates the decision made in 1916 to allow cars across all of Mount Desert Island, following years of intense debate and bans on autos in some MDI towns. This historical story is told through the Museum’s collection of Brass Era automobiles, as well as through the interesting characters and publicity stunts that were a part of this debate 100 years ago. The historical debate is related to the modern story of cars on MDI today, which continues to be an issue a century later.
“The exhibit is relevant on so many different levels,” said Raney Bench, Executive Direction of the Seal Cove Auto Museum. “The issues about cars that residents and summer people were debating 100 years ago at the inception of the automobile are the very same things we are discussing about cars on the island today, and which the park is trying to address with its transportation plan that is currently in the works. It is a great honor to be recognized by industry experts and our peers through this award, in support of the innovative approach to our telling of this story.”
The prestigious awards presented by NAAM honor the hard work, creative initiatives, and unique perspectives of automobile-focused museums throughout the United States and Canada. As an organization, NAAM’s goal is to cultivate public awareness of the cultural, historical, and technological significance of the automobile and promote such museums as valuable cultural institutions.