Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum

The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum is a transportation museum in Cleveland, Ohio. It's part of the Western Reserve Historical Society's Cleveland History Center in University Circle, and its collection includes about 170 cars. It was founded by Frederick C. Crawford of TRW, and opened in 1965.

The Crawford Auto-Aviation Collection
Crawford Auto Museum entrance.jpg
Location10825 East Boulevard
Cleveland, Ohio 44106
Coordinates41°30′47″N 81°36′40″W / 41.5131°N 81.6112°W / 41.5131; -81.6112
FounderFrederick C. Crawford
WebsiteThe Crawford Auto-Aviation Collection
1916 Owen Magnetic


As of 2019 there were more than 170 automobiles, 12 aircraft, 3 antique carriages, and 21 non-car artifacts (motorcycles, boats and bicycles). The facility includes more than 2,000 square feet (190 m2) of archival collections.[1]

The aviation collection includes a P-51 Mustang racing plane used in Thompson Trophy Races.[2] The oldest car in the collection is an 1897 Panhard et Levassor, while more recent acquisitions include a 1981 DeLorean and a Self-driving car named DEXTER which was team Team Case's entry in the DARPA Urban Challenge 2007, in which it placed in the top 20.[3]

Other vehicles in the collection include Tinkerbelle, a small sailboat in which Robert Manry solo sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in 1965. Manry donated it to the Historical Society in 1967.[4]

In 2016, the museum's 1913 ALCO Model Six Berline Limousine won the Ansel Adams Award at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in California. [5]


The collection began as the Thompson Products Auto Album, which was also founded by Crawford. Crawford explained that when he started collecting the cars, it was simply because it seemed a shame to let them be scrapped, which was the typical fate of almost all antique machinery at the time. He saw value in saving a few historically significant examples.[6]

In 1990, the museum sold off almost 70 automobiles by putting them up for auction with Sotheby's.[7]

To pay down debt, the museum sold or auctioned 44 cars in 2009, 24 of them through RM Auctions in October.[8][9] The deaccessions proceeded over public protest and the objections of Kay Crawford, the widow of founder Frederick C. Crawford.[10][11] The museum also sold a Goodyear F2G Corsair it had purchased from Walter Soplata and a Airco DH.4 originally acquired by Crawford.[12]

As of 2018, the museum featured two major exhibits: Setting the World in Motion, featuring cars and airplanes made in Northeast Ohio,[13] and REVolution: The Automobile in America, telling the story of the automobile in America.[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ewinger, James (9 December 2012). "Revamped Crawford Auto Aviation Collection to open next year at revived historical society". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  2. ^ Western Reserve Historical Society. "Aircraft". Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  3. ^ "DEXTER, Case Western Reserve University's robotic car, to be inducted into Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum". Case Western Reserve University Press. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  4. ^ Hartman, Cecilia. "Epilogue". Tinkerbelle. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  5. ^ Washington, Roxanne (30 August 2016). "Cleveland's Crawford Auto Aviation Museum's antique limousine takes the prize". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  6. ^ "The Thompson Products Auto Album". Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum. Archived from the original on 8 May 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  7. ^ Miller, Steven (2018). Deaccessioning Today: Theory and Practice. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 56. ISBN 9781538112649. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  8. ^ Mazzolini, Joan (8 August 2009). "Western Reserve Historical Society selling off more of its rare cars to erase debt". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  9. ^ "Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey Consignments – RM Auctions". Sports Car Digest. 11 September 2009. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  10. ^ Mazzolini, Joan (29 September 2009). "Widow of Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum founder comes to Cleveland for answers about car sales". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  11. ^ Sangiacomo, Michael (4 October 2009). "Protesters oppose sale of Crawford Museum antique cars". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  12. ^ Mazzolini, Joan (7 March 2010). "Western Reserve Historical Society sells its history to save institution". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  13. ^ "Setting the World in Motion". Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  14. ^ "REVolution--The Automobile in America". Retrieved 28 December 2018.

External linksEdit