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Last month, staff and volunteers from car museums across the United States gathered in Lincoln, Neb., for the 2013 Annual Conference of the National Association of Automobile Museums (NAAM). The three-day meeting offers a chance to reconnect with friends and colleagues, visit interesting collections, and commiserate on the latest happenings in the world of car museums.

Our host in Lincoln was the fantastic Smith Collection Museum of American Speed. Founded in 1992 by “Speedy” Bill and Joyce Smith (the proprietors of Speedway Motors, among the country’s top performance parts dealers), the museum’s great strength is its collection of early American race cars and 300+ race engines. The Smith team treated us to a wonderful “all access” evening in their 135,000 square-foot facility.

Conference sessions covered everything from fundamentals (museum mission statements and strategic plans) to esoteric details only a curator or registrar could love (proper file formats and sizes for the digital imaging of museum collections). As always, vehicle preservation was a hot topic, and The Henry Ford’s Senior Conservator Clara Deck presented on her efforts in preparing cars for our Driving America exhibit.

And speaking of Driving America - The highlight of any NAAM conference is the award ceremony that wraps it all up. Each year NAAM recognizes select programs, publications and exhibits that represent the best in American automobile museums. I’m proud to report that, this year, the judges selected Driving America for the NAAMY Award of Excellence for Interpretive Exhibits. It’s a wonderful honor, and we are grateful to our colleagues for the recognition.

Matt Anderson is Curator of Transportation at The Henry Ford

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