On April 13th, Heritage Museums & Gardens
opened for the season with its 2013 Special Exhibit Driving Our Dreams: Imagination in Motion. The exhibit, which is sponsored in part by Arbella Insurance Foundation, David and Melissa McGraw and Bonhams International Auctioneers, pays homage to the great car concepts and designers who pushed the boundaries of automobile design and technology. It features sixteen of the most exceptional and historically-significant concept cars from across the nation. This is the first time this collection of unique cars, which hail from the countrys top automobile museums and private collections, has been displayed together. Driving Our Dreams emphasizes the design process behind great concepts of the past, like the Firebird II, and the cars of tomorrow, like the Terrafugia flying car. The exhibit provides an interactive exhibition for all ages and all interests, and provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the glamorous and innovative world of automotive design.
Many of the featured concept cars were showcased at GMs Motorama extravaganzas during the 1950s. Unlike prototypes, concept or dream cars were meant to test the limits of technology and design, and to build excitement among consumers. Most never made it to production, largely because they would have been too expensive to mass-produce. From the 1956 Firebird II to the Infinium solar-powered car, these cars exemplify the far-reaching boundaries of automobile designers imaginations. Car enthusiasts especially delight in the 1963 personal Corvette of GMs Harley Earl, who is regarded as one of the pioneers in automobile design and the father of the Corvette.
The exhibit also spotlights fashion with a look at how car design has reflected on pop culture and fashion over the decades. Giant images featuring such icons as Sophia Loren, Mick Jagger, and Steve McQueen add to the exhibit. Designer tools and interactive stations where visitors can create design mood boards and style and post solar car drawings also engage visitors in the design process.
In addition to the cars displayed in the Automobile Gallery, the exhibit extends into Heritages Special Exhibitions Gallery, where it explores what todays designers are dreaming up for future automotive designs via a multi-media experience. The Arbella Insurance Foundation Family Discovery Room encourages children and adults to design their own concept cars, build miniature vehicles using an assortment of wooden parts, and test them for speed on a giant ramp. Plus, the gallery walls are covered with blackboard paint, encouraging visitors to share their thoughts and ideas related to automobiles and transportation.
Also in the Special Exhibitions Gallery is a massive model of a megacity, Paper Metropolis, created by international artist and thought leader Kiel Johnson. Johnson has been conducting workshops around the world, leading community builds of his intricate cardboard city creations, and getting multi-generations to think about the future of city planning. He leads a five-day community build with students, artists, members, community organizations and visitors at Heritage and the resulting art piece will remain part of the exhibit.
This is one of the most remarkable exhibitions weve had the pleasure of showcasing, said Ellen Spear, President & CEO of Heritage Museums & Gardens. The intersection of fashion, design, style and technology is reflected in these rare and inspiring concepts- many of the ideas of 50 years ago are just being incorporated into cars today.
To complement the exhibit, several prominent leaders in the auto industry will visit Heritage to participate in a lecture series throughout the exhibit. Lecturers include documentary producer Bill Stephens; TV personality and auto expert Wayne Carini; noted restoration expert Kevin MacKay; Dr. Carl Dietrich, aerospace engineer and CEO/CTO and co-founder of Terrafugia; Bill Porter, former General Motors designer and authority on twentieth century automobile design trends; and Dr. Michael Knodler, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.