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Classic car museums are facilities that showcase vintage cars. They are usually open to the public, but may charge a fee for admission. Such museums may contain a wide variety of automobiles or may specialize in one or two types or models. These museums can be found in a number of locations around the world and are often very popular with tourists and classic car enthusiasts.
Examples of specialty classic car museums include those that feature cars from a specific era or geographic region, those that specialize in cars made by a specific manufacturer, or those containing cars of a certain model. Other specialty museums focus on classic trucks or alternate forms of transportation, such as motorcycles. Many museums, however, simply display a wide array of cars, based simply on the cars they've managed to acquire or the tastes of the owner or founder of the museum.
In many cases, classic car museums are privately held. They are frequently started by a single private collector or with a collection that has been handed down through several generations. Such museums might feature only a handful of cars or may contain many vehicles. Vehicles can be in running or non-running condition and may be fully restored or in their original states.
Museums that contain more than a few cars often group the vehicles into areas or exhibits. This is particularly true of classic car museums that feature several types of cars. American-made cars might be separate from European-made cars, for example, or the cars might be grouped by type, manufacturer, or manufacturing decade. When a museum contains only one model of car, the cars are often placed in order of year of manufacture.
The amount of information available on the cars varies from museum to museum. Some classic car museums simply place the cars for viewing. Others mount plaques containing information such as the year, make, and model information as well as general information about that type of car. Still others provide detailed information about the specific car, such as where and when it was purchased, how many owners it has had, and any classic car show awards it has won.
In most cases, visitors are prevented from sitting in the cars in classic car museums. Some museums also prevent visitors from touching the vehicles. A few smaller museums may allow people to sit in or take pictures with the cars, usually with an employee's supervision.