Car Museum Revs Up

5 years 7 months 1 week ago March 14, 2011 Mar 14, 2011 Monday, March 14 2011 Monday, March 14, 2011 2:12:00 PM CDT in Coverage From Callaway
By: Megan Murphy

FULTON - Hop on board and ride down memory lane to a mid-Missouri museum you may not realize exists.

The Auto World Museum in Fulton is new and improved. It's a renovation of the one owned by Bill Backer of Backer's Potato Chips.

"When Bill first opened the Auto World back at the old K-Mart, we were packed in there like this and walking between cars," says Vicki Backer McDaniel, Vice-President of the Auto World Foundation.

The new space provides much more room for the cars.

"Before at the former location, it was just a warehouse of cars," explained museum curator Warren Hallrah. "And now its so much more. The cars tell a story.They do it in a chronological way."

"The progression of the way the cars have changed through the years," says Barb Huddleston, director of the Historical Society Museum.

"Art, engineering, history. It's here!" says Backer-McDaniel

"They're set in an historic setting with photographs and facades of buildings, and you can walk around them. It really creates excitement," said Hallarah.

All of the backdrops have a Callaway theme.

"So it was kind of neat because we knew we wanted to work in Callaway Bank, and Jamieson Ford, and Kingdom Oil," says production designer Tom Jones.

"When they put the buildings up, it was like - oh my," said Backer-McDaniel of her first reaction to the backdrops.

"The trick was then putting the right cars in front of them," said Jones.

This was a dream of the Backer's father.

"For Dad, I think its a piece of his lifetime dream. He has collected these cars for years," Backer-McDaniel said.

But it almost stayed a dream. The family was at a crossroads.

"He had suggested we either close the old museum and dispose of the cars or upgrade. And, you could tell in his heart the upgrade was his preference," said McDaniel Backer's daughter.

The upgrade adds another stop to the Fulton itinerary.

"Oh wow! Its just unreal to have something of this size, and this magnitude in a small town like Fulton," said Chamber of Commerce President Nola Gardner. "I think it is one of the things that may have put Callaway County on the map."

A map we're sure you would love to follow in one of these cars. But maybe not some of the older ones. Cruising speed is 20 mph to 25 mph. You might get passed up a lot. I guess you'll have to settle for just looking. One goal for the Backer's is to get schools to bring groups in for field trips.

The regular admission into the museum is $8 and they're open 7 days a week from 9 to 5.


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