The Impact of the Automobile on Display at Reno Car Museum

Andrew Koole
· 3 min read
Since it replaced the horse and buggy, the car has shaped the way we live. Our cities, homes, jobs, and
all rely on this mode of transportation. Nothing has avoided its grasp. 
The National Automobile Museum in Reno,
guides you through the sprawling history of this ever-present invention with the help of what was once the largest personal car collection in the world. 
Originally founded to display the remaining 175 of gaming pioneer Bill Harrah’s 1,400 vehicle collection, the
also houses two other permanent exhibits and a number of special displays and events throughout the year.
The Reno Car Museum is currently home to Bill Harrah’s car collection.

What’s so special about Bill Harrah’s car collection?

Originally from South Pasadena,
, Bill Harrah moved to Reno in 1937 to expand his Bingo hall business. From then on, he became a mover and shaker in the gaming industry, creating the Nevada Gaming Control Board in 1955.
Like many of the leaders of the gaming community, Harrah amassed a large fortune during his career and spent a good deal of it on collecting cars. 
By the time of his death in 1978, he owned about 1,400 cars, including Ferraris, Bugattis, and two “Jerraris”—Jeep
with Ferrari engines—that were specially made for him. Soon after, the collection was sold to Holiday Inn. 
The company sold most of the collection in the early ‘80s but donated the 175 cars and a research library to the museum in response to public outcry.
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What else can you see at this Reno car museum?

Harrah’s impressive collection might’ve sparked the creation of the National Automobile Museum, but it isn’t the only attraction that calls the museum home. 
14 cars make up the permanent “Cars of the Stars” exhibit. John F. Kennedy’s Lincoln Continental 86 Convertible, John Wayne’s Chevrolet Corvette 2934 Convertible, and Elvis Presley” Cadillac Eldorado Custom Coupe are just a few examples of the cars on display.
The museum also hosts a number of
special exhibits
. Right now, you can experience “Be the Astronaut,” a space transport exhibit that combines real NASA data with advanced simulators and content explaining the science and engineering of space travel. Pretty cool!

Is the National Automobile Museum worth the stop?

People know Reno as a gaming town, but the city has plenty to offer families as well. The National Automobile Museum is a perfect example of this. 
But don’t take our word for it: the museum has been featured on “10 Best” lists in everything from TripAdvisor and USA Today to Road & Track and Galerie Magazine. 
It’s also won awards from tourism resources like Trip Savvy and industry associations like the National Association of Automobile Museums (NAAM).
Any way you slice it, the National Automobile Museum deserves a stop on any family
road trip
through Nevada.

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