Local museum a treasure trove of automobiles

There are hundreds cars on display at the Tallahassee Antique Auto Musuem
Photo submitted by Matthew Donaldson

Americans have long had a love affair with automobiles. Cars have symbolized freedom, independence, success, leisure and even responsibility.

The automobile is one of many staples in the “American Dream.”

“Cars have always been and while be the epitome of the American dream, look all the ‘cool’ individuals in movies like Batman, James Bond, Fast and Furious even the Dukes of Hazard. They are all based around an extravagant vehicle that kids and adults admire to the point they spend their whole life just to get that car of their dreams,” said Randy Parks, an avid collector and owner of two 1972 Ford Shelby Mustangs.

America’s love affair with automobiles can be observed and admired at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum. Originally opened in May 1996, the museum was derived from DeVoe Moore’s desire to put together a facility to house his small collection of 15 automobiles as works of art. He decided a museum was a noble project where he could share his love for automobiles with the public.

In 1999, the museum was privileged to receive the AACA first place award No. 1 Museum in the United States for the preservation of antique cars.

Today the museum displays over 160 automobiles, with a collection, that covers almost every period in the evolution of automobiles. Beginning with the oldest cars in the facility ,an 1894 Duryea, manufactured in the United States at the turn of the century. Also on display is an 1860 horse – drawn funeral hearse reported to have carried Abraham Lincoln.

The Batman collection has grown tremendously. The collection contains the original cars used in the movies “Batman Returns” and “Batman Forever,” the Bat mobile and Bat cycle from the TV series, the Yellow Duck and the original bat ski boat used in the movie “Batman Returns.”

”My favorite place in the museum is the Batman collection I watch “Batman Returns” all the time and to see the same car that’s in the movie in real life makes it more real every time I watch,” said Brendon Mills, a 13-year-old visitor at the museum. 

Not only can an array of cars be viewed at the museum but there are other large collections of relics and artifacts on display. They include one of the largest collections in United States of Case knives, outboard motors dating back to 1908 and Florida fishing lures.

Other large collections include adding machines dating back to 1864, antique brass cash registers and electrical fans, Native American artifacts, antique golf collections (clubs and balls) baseball card collections, motorbikes, pedal cars, watches, telephones, typewriters, slot machines and spark plugs-just to name a few.

“I really love the fact the museum offers other exhibits for the public besides cars. My husband gets so lost in the cars and me I’m just not that mesmerized by them but I love coming to the other exhibits and learning facts about interesting items. I truly believe you are never too old to learn something new,” Barbra Pender, a recent visitor, said.

A fine collection of the most beautiful Steinway pianos in the country are on display along with the Peace Piano, the Alma, Tadema Steinway, the White House ”Gold” Piano and the 500,000th Steinway produced. Steinway calls the elaborate collection “the finest private collection of Steinways in the World!”

If you want to experience an aspect of Americana, the Tallahassee Antique Car Museum is the place for you. They are conveniently located just off Interstate 10 at exit 209A.