Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum Looks to the Future

A plan for repairs and continued restoration at Auburn’s Art Deco landmark aims to ensure it’s taken care of for decades to come.

ACD Museum - Photo courtesy Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum
Photo courtesy Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum

Designed by Fort Wayne architect Alvin M. Strauss as the Auburn Automobile Company’s international headquarters, the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in Auburn stands out as one of the most tangible reminders of the legendary automaker’s legacy. Built in 1930, the Art Deco landmark reopened to the public as a museum in 1974. Visitors take a step back in time viewing Auburns, Cords, and Duesenbergs in the company’s original showroom much as luxury buyers of the 1920s might have. The museum holds claim to being the only automobile museum in the world housed in its original headquarters.

In May of this year, Indiana Automotive, an affinity group of Indiana Landmarks devoted to preserving Indiana’s rich automotive heritage, awarded Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum a $2,500 grant toward completion of a preliminary design and engineering plan for the 90-year-old building’s roof replacement. In addition to full removal and replacement of the roof, the project will rebuild the parapet, reset coping stones and tiles, install new HVAC units and curbs, modify an internal gutter system, and create additional drainage.

Photo courtesy Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum

Brandon Anderson, the museum’s executive director & CEO explains, “The project is the first step of an approximate $1,060,000 the museum is raising to ensure the building and its priceless collections are taken care of in perpetuity for the benefit of the public.”

Immediate needs for the building were identified through a structural assessment completed in 2017 by RATIO Architects and the museum is now following through on additional work needed to preserve the structure.

Todd Zeiger, director of Indiana Landmarks Northern Regional Office, voiced support for the museum’s efforts, noting the museum is a “significant historic resource and important cultural connection for the region and state.” The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum is one of 42 National Historic Landmarks in Indiana and welcomes over 42,000 visitors annually.

After a temporary closure this spring, the museum reopened in June with new exhibits and both indoor and outdoor special events planned for the remainder of the summer and fall.

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