The Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Brookline, Massachusetts is home to “America’s oldest car collection,” and for more than 75 years has been supporting the collector car community through a variety of educational programs, exhibits, and lectures.
According to the museum, their primary goal is the continued support of the surrounding community through educational outreach and the preservation of their permanent collection of early automobiles. The Larz Anderson Auto Museum hopes to serve as a resource for anyone’s collector car interests.
As the museum tells it, Larz and Isabel Anderson began their love affair with the automobile before the turn of the century. In 1899, soon after they married, they purchased an 1899 Winton Runabout, a true horseless carriage. From 1899 to 1948 the Andersons purchased at least thirty-two new motorcars, in addition to numerous carriages, creating America’s oldest motorcar collection.
As the cars became obsolete, they were retired to the Carriage House. By 1927, the Andersons had opened the Carriage House for tours of their “ancient” vehicles. When
Isabel Anderson passed away in l948, she bequeathed her entire Brookline estate, including mansion, Carriage House, land, and automobiles, to the Town of Brookline.
She stipulated in her will that the motorcar collection be known as the “Larz Anderson Collection.” Fourteen of the original 32 vehicles remain in the collection.
The Veteran Motor Car Club of America (VMCCA) opened the Antique Auto Museum at Larz Anderson Park in October, 1949. Families proudly displayed their vintage motorcars, competed in lawn games, and enjoyed picnic lunches on the grassy slopes of the Polo Field. On display were 15 Anderson automobiles, 24 carriages, and six sleighs. After that, the museum hosted an Antique Auto Fair, a Glidden Tour and a Duster Meet.
Since the grand opening over 50 years ago, the museum has grown into a major New England non-profit educational institution with community events, lectures, children’s programs, walking tours of the Anderson Park, and an ever-changing series of exhibits on the Andersons, the automobile, and their impact on society and our culture.
The Larz Anderson Auto Museum is at 15 Newton Street, Brookline, Massachusetts. For information, call 617.522.6547, or visit their website.