News Column

Construction on Tucker car collection starts at museum

July 13, 2014

By Chris Sholly, Lebanon Daily News, Pa.



July 13--HERSHEY -- Tucker -- the car and the man's dream -- will be on display permanently this fall in Hershey. Workers started construction last week on the first new permanent exhibit at the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum since it opened 11 years ago -- the Cammack Tucker Gallery. A grand opening of the exhibit is slated for Oct. 8, starting at 6 p.m.

Rochelle Coslow-Robinson, exhibit programs director, said the 5,300-square-foot exhibit will be done in phases.

"We really can't get anything of this magnitude done in three months," she said.

The museum has been seeking both financial resources and assistance with construction to create the exhibit. Pyramid Construction of Wormleysburg, Cumberland County, offered to build the exhibit. The company is lending several of its workers for two weeks to help build the exhibit facades, Coslow-Robinson said. Pyramid also was one of the original contractors chosen to build the museum in 2003, she added.

"They've been working so fast. On the first day, they already had our beginnings wall up, and the barn," she said. "I'm really excited."

She said she hopes more companies will volunteer to help with the project, including painters. The museum is also looking for volunteers to help with other aspects of the project, she said. Individuals or organizations willing to assist should contact the museum at exhibits@aacamuseum.org.

The exhibit, which will be located in the existing Cammack Gallery, will include Tucker 48 automobiles, engines, mechanical drawings and Tucker memorabilia.

Preston Tucker began building his unique American cars in Chicago after World War II. But Coslow-Robinson said there is a central Pennsylvania tie to the Tuckers.

"We sold car one. It was sold from the Harrisburg Tucker Sales, 1302 Cameron St., which is what we're trying to replicate (in the exhibit)," she said. The Harrisburg dealership was the third-largest distributor for Tucker. "We don't have pictures of the dealership. We're only going by stories."

When completed, the Cammack Tucker Gallery will feature three Tucker automobiles. At the entrance to the exhibit, there will be a tribute to David Cammack of Alexandria, Va., who died on April 7, 2013, at age 85. He was considered the authority on Preston Tucker and Tucker Automobile Corp. His collection, which he donated to the museum, not only includes the cars but more than 250,000 artifacts.

"We started bringing the collection up during the summer of last year," she said. "Only 10 percent of his collection was ever archived, so I'm also working with our collections department to archive and catalog every single artifact in his collection."

Volunteers are helping with that work as well.

The collection includes 50,000 original blueprints, sketches, Western Union telegrams, employee resumes and original Tucker car parts still in the boxes. In addition, the museum received Cammack's native-American collection.

Coslow-Robinson said Cammack was very passionate about the Tucker automobile. His brother convinced him to buy his first Tucker car in the early 1970s.

"And he felt a need to preserve it," she added.

Coslow-Robinson said later phases of the project will add "bells and whistles" to create a more interactive exhibit for visitors.

"One of the things we wanted to have in the exhibit is an actual Tucker Torpedo, so that people could actually get behind the wheel and drive," she said. Also, the exhibit will eventually allow people to use their smart devices to learn about Tucker and his cars.

Tickets for the grand opening are $125 per person, and proceeds will benefit the AACA Club, the library and the museum. Tickets may be reserved at 717-566-7100, extension 100, or online at www.NightAtTheMuseum.org before Sept. 30 or while tickets last.

Those interested can follow the construction on Twitter @AACA_Museum, the museum's website, www.aacamuseum.org or Facebook.

___

(c)2014 the Lebanon Daily News (Lebanon, Pa.)

Visit the Lebanon Daily News (Lebanon, Pa.) at www.ldnews.com

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Source: Lebanon Daily News (PA)


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