The 1939 New York World's Fair was the first exposition to be based on the future. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler all gave visitors a glimpse of new technologies from "the world of tomorrow." At this same time, a group of men met in New York City just a few miles from the World's Fair to create an organization that would offer a glimpse...of the past.
Its mission was to perpetuate the memories of the early automotive pioneers. Called the "Automobile Old Timers," the group was dedicated to honoring automotive people from all parts of the worldwide automotive industry.
The organization moved to Washington, DC in 1960. Then in 1971, it moved to the grounds of Northwood Institute (now called Northwood University) Midland, Michigan. The first permanent Automotive Hall of Fame building was built on the Northwood campus in 1975.
It soon became evident that the home of the Automotive Hall of Fame needed to be closer to Detroit. In 1997, another group of dedicated automotive aficionados moved the Automotive Hall of Fame to its present location in Dearborn, Michigan.
Funds were raised to construct a 25,000 square foot building and create new exhibits. A black tie grand opening celebration was held on August 16, 1997, televised by the Auto Channel.
Today, the Automotive Hall of Fame attracts visitors from around the world. It is located next door to The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan. It is also within the MotorCities National Heritage Area, an affiliate of the National Park Service dedicated to preserving and promoting the automotive and labor heritage of Michigan.
National Heritage Areas are places where natural, cultural, historic and scenic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape.