The Frontier Auto Museum in Gillette, WY, truly shines. Indeed, every inch of chrome shimmers like it’s never been touched, while the porcelain signs and gas globes glow like new. It’s easy to tell that this museum is a collector’s lovechild.
We found the museum quite accidentally on a trip to Idaho, then home through the Black Hills of South Dakota, this spring. There might have been a shorter route than going through Gillette, but every once in a while David has to put the pedal down and enjoy those 80 mph Interstate speed limits!
Car Collection at the Frontier Museum
The museum’s classic cars collection is small, but impressive. The Hudson cars, including the favorite 1949 Hudson convertible in the header photo, belonged to the current owner’s (Jeff Wandler) father, Leon. Today, Jeff runs the museum, along with an antique store in the same building along with his daughter, Briana Brewer and son in-law, BJ Brewer.
Vintage Auto Garage
While the vintage cars were beautiful, David was even more impressed with the garage. As a kid, he’d spent a lot of time in places exactly like it — although, he was quick to explain, none ever looked quite so clean or well organized!
From the classic cars on the hoist, to the parts in their original packaging, to all of the products on the shelves, this garage was perfect. As baby boomers, we often say a room full of artifacts takes us back in time, but few do it as well as this garage. With all the attention to detail, visitors, whether they’re boomers or millennials, can devote a lot of time to checking out the many pieces.
Toys Every Baby Boomer Remembers!
Wyoming is, of course, a state in the U.S. West. So, it was no surprise that the toy collection was mainly Western. However, David was pleased to find many of the things he remembered well from childhood, from the fringed cowboy vests to the guns and holsters.
And while I never played with dolls, preferring books and cooking, I certainly recognized many of them!
My favorite part of the museum though, was without a doubt, the petroleum collectibles. I had no idea there were so many different types of gas pumps! And the signs — well, they’re nothing short of art as far as I’m concerned.
I could have stood and gazed at the walls and ceiling for hours.
Visit the Frontier Auto Museum
This really is just a glimpse at what you’ll find inside the museum. Admission is next-to-nothing (just $5 a person when we visited). And if you’re into antiques, there’s a great collection in the front part.
The museum and antique shop opened in January, 2016, so it’s very much a growing operation. As it turns out, the building is also historical, having been originally built in 1949 for the Ford Dealership.
Check out the museum’s website with opening hours and admission rates at: http://www.frontierautomuseum.com/
Or, visit it at 211, West 2nd Street, Gillette, Wyoming.
Here’s a Google Map that takes you through the stops we made on this part of our road trip. You may also want to read our post on the Frontier Prison (see the map below).