Pontiac Museum

Pontiac Transportation Museum to Open May 16, 2024

Nineteen-sixty-four is the 60th anniversary for the Pontiac GTO so it was especially exciting to see that the new Pontiac Transportation Museum is set to open to the public on Thursday, May 16th. The museum is located in downtown Pontiac, Michigan at 250 W. Pike Street, just blocks from the Woodward Avenue loop andplays homage to both the tremendous vehicle legacy of the Pontiac community as well as the social history of how the community interacted with its transportation industry.

Focusing on the 150-plus years of transportation history in and near the Pontiac area, the museum’s product scope goes well beyond General Motors’ former Pontiac brand vehicles. It also includes trucks (GMC was headquartered in Pontiac for 70 years), carriages, cars (several brands beyond Pontiac and Oakland) and motorcycles. To date, 47 companies, 51 brands and 24 types of wheeled vehicles have been identified as having been engineered or built in the Pontiac area.

Pontiac Museum

“The facility was donated by a local resident to tell the story of how the Pontiac region became a powerhouse of transportation manufacturing. And he wanted us to contribute to the revitalization of the city,” says Tim Dye, executive director of the museum. “We’re excited to open the nearly-completed first phase of our renovation and have made huge steps toward the remaining two phases.”

Several owner’s clubs have already held special events at the museum, including the Pontiac Fiero 40thAnniversary Celebration and the 50th Anniversary of the GMC Motorhome. Upcoming club events include the 60th Anniversary of the Pontiac GTO later this year and hosting of the Pontiac-Oakland Club International annual convention to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Pontiac brand in 2026.

The building’s total footprint consists of 55,000 square feet split among its main floor and lower level. Phase 1 offers 12,000 square feet. When completed, Phase 2 will offer a similarly sized display area and Phase 3 will provide an additional 25,000 square feet for more displays, meeting rooms, a research library and vehicle restoration area.Pontiac Museum

Once all phases of renovation are completed, visitors will be able to see as many as 75 vehicles and more expansive displays about how the transportation industry contributed to the community, the workforce it employed, and the impact it had in both social and military history, among others.  Programs are also being developed for significant community outreach efforts, primarily with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) educational emphasis for Pontiac area schools.

“Pontiac has made an outsized contribution to US and even world history. We want to educate our own community and draw heritage tourism to Pontiac,” states Terry Connolly, Chair of the museum’s Board. “As a non-profit, since 2018 we’ve relied heavily on volunteers who have so far contributed over 11,000 hours working on the building. For us to complete the next two renovation phases we encourage additional financial support of public funds, and from private corporations and foundations local to Michigan.”

A modest admission fee is required to enter the Phase 1 display area. Among the many rare and unique vehicles highlighted are a 1907 12-passenger Rapid Pullman coach, a circa 1900 Pontiac Buggy Company single-seat carriage, 1908 ‘The Pontiac’, 1917 Olympian, a 1929 Oakland, a 1940 GMC pickup, a 1948 Whizzer motorbike, and a 1986 Vixen motorhome.  Numerous Pontiac brand vehicles include examples from literally every decade since 1926, with GTOs, Grand Prixs, Firebirds, and Fieros all the way up to a 2010 G6 (the very last Pontiac ever built). Behind-the-scenes tours of the facility can be arranged by appointment only.

A Grand Opening event is planned for July 27, 2024, with ceremonies beginning at 5pm, followed by fun and festive activities into the evening and possibly a sneak peek of Phases 2 and 3. For more information about the facility, visit: Pontiac Transportation Museum