VOLO – From its polished marble floor to its crystal chandeliers, what used to be the most whimsical showroom at the Volo Auto Museum has received an extreme makeover.
Children shouldn’t fret, though. A whole new, kid-friendly showroom is under construction on the hill at the Volo Auto Museum, 27582 Volo Village Road, Volo.
“We wanted to expand our kids’ area,” said Brian Grams, museum director. “That’s why we are building the new building and converting the old kids’ museum into an exhibit hall.
“We will be gathering all of the thoroughbred kids’ cars, currently scattered throughout the museum, into one location. These include cars like the Flintstones mobile, Sponge Bob’s Boatmobile, Disney’s Lightning McQueen and Doc Hudson, Cinderella’s Hot Rod, etc.”
A fall celebrity car auction generated about $260,000, and museum officials have put that money toward the fifth showroom as well as the upscale, grand hall, Grams said. Grand openings are planned Memorial Day weekend for the showroom and Father’s Day weekend for the exhibit hall.
The showroom is a freestanding, 10,000-square-foot building on which construction began in mid-January. In addition to cars, it will house kiddy rides and interactive displays.
“We bought a bunch of props from a Disney store when it went out of business,” Grams said. “It will have not just cars, but statues and other movie memorabilia – it’ll be more fun.”
Grams said the grand exhibit hall will provide an exceptional venue for everything from celebrity appearances to temporary displays. The space also now houses a mini-theater with 28 seats that in the 1930s were part of Radio City Music Hall at Rockefeller Center. Here, visitors will be able to view films relating to featured exhibits.
"This year it will be 100 years of the Duesenberg," Grams said. “We’ll be showcasing six of the rarest Duesenbergs ever built.”
The Volo Auto Museum has provided year-round family entertainment since 1960, as well as sales and consignments of antique, classic and muscle cars. Currently, the museum has about 300 cars on display, the oldest being an 1895 Star. Also on-site is a military museum featuring dozens of rare, functional vehicles, weaponry, uniforms and more.
“We are constantly looking at ways to improve the visitor experience,” Grams said. Added his father, Greg Grams: “The biggest gets bigger!”
The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $11.95 per adult, $6.95 for children ages 6 to 12, and $9.95 for veterans and military personnel with ID. Admission is free for military personnel in uniform and children 5 and younger. Summer rates apply starting mid-May. For more information, visit www.volocars.com or call 815-385-3644.