By Scot Keller, Curator of Exhibitry
Lewis Carroll’s, Through the Looking-Glass, Alice and What Alice Found There, again lands Alice in a fantasy world, this time by climbing through a mirror into the world seen beyond its reflection. Instead of a fantasy world, America’s Car Museum’s new exhibit, Through the Lens – Cars that Defined an American Century, is a snapshot of something more tangible, the history and culture of America dating back to 1910.
We created the exhibit on the premise that American history and the automobile are inextricably intertwined making cars are the perfect lens to entertain and educate. In this case, the newest exhibit, Through the Lens, focused on a century of American history and culture as told through automobiles and period iconography.
As an example, what car do you believe best reflects the, er, Go-Go 1960’s. Was it the unlikely VW Beetle? Or was it the cultural phenomenon Mustang, or John Z’s GTO? All are different, and all reflect their era.
The mechanism to tell the “Cars that Defined an American Century” story will be a selection of ten vehicles, 1910-2010, set in front of individual decade backdrops with period iconography and copy that positions that period in the context of the culture of the time. A correlation between milestones in technical innovation, design, labor, commerce, mobility, and entertainment, as reflected in specifically featured automobiles, will be made.
While ACM will “make the case” for a single car for each decade, visitors will get a chance to voice their opinion by voting from a list of thirty postwar automobiles. And, at the end, make their thoughts known by listing the car that will define the decade we live in today. What car will define 2010-2020? It’s your chance to decide.
Come visit and join the conversation. It’s going to be very interesting.