ALLENTOWN, Pa. — The history of over-the-road transportation will be rolling into Allentown, Pa. April 12, with the opening of the America On Wheels museum.
America On Wheels includes all modes of road transport from bicycles and motorcycles to family and race cars, Class 8 heavy-duty trucks, the Zora-1 Corvette and even the Segway Personal Transporter. Exhibits will show the past, present and future of transportation.
The grand opening will take place at 5 N. Front St. in the restored Lehigh Landing section of Allentown. The event will feature a collection of American muscle cars, a 1918 Mack model fire engine, and an exhibit on fuel-cell technology.
“We’ve created an educational experience for youth to realize the changes that were brought about in the country over the past 100 years by cars and trucks,” said Jack Curcio, president of the museum’s board and former CEO of Mack Trucks, a major presence in Allentown since 1905. “A lot of museums are a bunch of old dinosaurs sitting in a row. This is a very interactive building. We have a lot of classic vehicles but they are included in a meaningful story. There are several virtual reality experiences. The kids will drive a Mack Granite truck over the road and into a construction site. They can have a similar experience in a racing car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
Organizers expect the museum to attract some 50,000 visitors a year.
The $17 million, 48,000-sq.-ft. museum is the brainchild of former Mack Trucks CEO Zenon C.R. Hansen and Judith McGough-King, executive director of the Allentown Economic Development Corporation in the 1980s. The building itself is a combination of old and new. Exhibits are housed in a brand new steel-and-glass addition to the former A&B Meats corporate headquarters. Administrative offices occupy part of the original building, along with the Mack Trucks Historical Museum, which is contributing seven vehicles, 100,000 photos and technical data on every vehicle Mack has made in more than 100 years.
“While Mack Trucks is a part of the museum, the exhibits include a wide range of other vendors and modes of transportation,” said board member Paul Ritter. Other partners include Air Products & Chemicals, transmission manufacturer Allison, the American Truck Foundation and the Society of Automotive Engineers International.
For more information, visit www.americaonwheels.org or call 610-432-4200.
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