The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, June 19, 2018

National Museum of American History Collects 75 Years of Auto Safety
Transportation Secretary Andrew Card Jr., clowns around with crash dummies Larry, right, and Vince during a new conference in New York Wednesday, July 22, 1992. AP Photo/Alex Brandon.

WASHINGTON (AP).- In a special ceremony, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History accepted a donation of objects related to 75 years of auto-safety innovation and initiatives from 10 individuals, companies and organizations, including General Motors, the American Automobile Association, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Volvo. The objects will become part of the museum’s permanent research collection that illustrates the evolution of automobile safety. The objects represent technological achievements such as seat belts, crash-test dummies, energy absorbing features, ignition interlock and alcohol detection devices, as well as driver education and public-awareness campaigns.

Among the objects accepted into the collection are the original “Vince and Larry” crash-test dummy costumes that appeared in public-safety campaigns nationwide from 1985 through 1998. To mark the 25th anniversary of these award-winning public service announcements, Vince and Larry, played by the original actors Tony Reitano and Whitney Rydbeck, “crashed” into the ceremony. Video of the surprise visit is available at

“Millions of lives have been saved on America’s roadways thanks to the combined efforts of lawmakers, automakers, engineers and safety advocates,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “This research collection offers a tangible record of these efforts, as well as inspiration to future generations of American innovators, historians and all automobile lovers.”

Along with the Vince and Larry costumes, the museum has received the body parts and props used during the campaign’s filming. At the event, Reitano and Rydbeck were joined by Jim Ferguson and Joel Machak, formerly of the Leo Burnett agency, who co-created the campaign. Ferguson wrote its famous tagline, “You Could Learn a Lot From a Dummy.”

Other objects include a General Motors Hybrid III crash-test dummy, a seat with a three-point seat belt from a 1961 Volvo, 1930s driver education safety literature from the American Automobile Association, ignition-interlock breath analyzers from Guardian Interlock, a Hybrid II crash-test dummy from Denton ATD, a 1967 Chevrolet energy-absorbing steering column from Keith Adelsberg and a padded dashboard invented by reconstructive plastic surgeon Dr. Claire L. Straith.

“This is about America’s relationship with its cars; we all know it’s a love affair,” said Roger White, associate curator at the museum. “But automobiles had to change to make them truly useful and acceptable.”

When U.S. automobiles rolled off the assembly line in the early 20th century, they emerged into a horse-and-buggy society that knew nothing about steering columns, windshields and the dangers of combining speed, fuel, steel, glass and inexperienced drivers. Road fatality rates soared, and early efforts to address public safety largely focused on driver behavior. It was not until the 1950s that regulators and manufacturers turned their attention to the vehicles themselves.

The objects join nearly a dozen previously acquired artifacts, including a 1948 Tucker sedan with advanced safety features; an after-market seat belt manufactured by the Selfgard company in the 1960s; and Burma Shave road signs that addressed the hazards of drunk driving.

Washington | National Museum of American History | Brent D. Glass |

Today's News

July 15, 2010

Restored Leonardo Masterpiece Goes Back on Display at the National Gallery in London

Grass Grows by Itself: A Group Exhibition Opens at Marlborough in Chelsea

Paintings Taken by Serviceman in WWII Return to Germany

Sotheby's to Hold Auction of Property from England's Most Magnificent Stately Home

History of Graffiti in NYC Reviewed in Exhibition at Benrimon Contemporary

National Museum of American History Collects 75 Years of Auto Safety

Rare Cabinet by Emile Bernard Acquired by the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Iraq's Artists Reflect Pain, Trauma of the War and Uncertainty

Mickey Mouse Art Poster with Nazi Symbol Ignites Polish Anger

Photographer of Modern Life Gets Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery

Group Exhibition Phantasmorganica at Allegra LaViola Gallery

Studio Museum in Harlem Summer Exhibition Features Zwelethu Mthethwa

Robert Walden's Ontological Road Maps at RHV Fine Art

The Transcendent Landscapes of Northwest Artist Victoria Adams at the Tacoma Art Museum

Culhuacan, the other Crib of Zapatism Houses Exhibition

Irvine Contemporary Presents New Gallery Artist Alexa Meade

Tours of the Romantic Abbey Ruins Launched this Summer at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

Sunday Funnies Characters Set to Brighten Letters

17th Century Automata Lion Clock Roars in £117,600 at Bonhams

Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Joins with Nike and Make Something!!

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Related Stories

Dozens of Thomas Jefferson's Books Found at Washington University in St. Louis

Exhibit in North Carolina Shows the Real George Washington

National Museum of African American History and Culture Seeks "Treasures" in Topeka

Smithsonian and Singapore Organize World Tour of Shipwreck Treasure

Review: Robert Ryman: Variations and Improvisations at the Phillips Collection

Exhibition of Rare Architectural Drawings by Andrea Palladio Announced

First Lady Michelle Obama Praises Designers Who Push Boundaries

Sergio Cortesini Receives First Annual Terra Foundation for American Art International Essay Prize

U.S. Army Unveils a Trove of Soldiers' War Paintings

National Anthropological Archives Receives Grant from President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful