Established as a cherished attraction for car lovers, the Newport Car Museum in Portsmouth, R.I. has become a business success story like no other in the car world. Despite bringing in tourists from other popular landmarks in Newport like the Gilded Age Mansions and the seaside attractions of Newport, the Museum has set itself aside as an established and longstanding attraction in Rhode Island.
Opened just four and a half years ago, the number of visitors that the Museum has drawn in in just 2021 alone is exponential. Nearly 50,000 people have been welcomed into the museum this past year, and the numbers are expected to only continue to rise in the coming new year. Throughout the short period that the Museum has been opened, it has won numerous awards and has been compared to other top celebrated car museums like Florida’s Rev Institute and California’s Peterson Automotive Museum. In 2021, the Newport Car Museum was named amongst the Top 10% of Attractions Worldwide and was presented with the Tripadvisor® Travelers’ Choice award.
Gunther Buerman and his wife Maggie Buerman started the museum in June of 2017. The Buerman’s poured their heart and soul into accomplishing the success story of the Museum thus far. Gunther Buerman states, “Our hope always has been to put smiles on our visitors’ faces, and so far, we have been successful.”
The Buerman’s admit that they did not know how the public would react to the Museum, and just how they would truly convey their collection of unique and exotic cars as a true museum. The first step in opening up the Museum started with obtaining a space fit to house the cars that they had, but a space that would also allow them to grow the collection. The facility that they bestowed upon was a past missile manufacturing facility on the campus of Raytheon Technologies. The building, coming in at a whopping 114,000 square feet, came with 17 acres of grounds. The building itself had to be reconfigured and constructed to support the Buerman’s then collection of 65 cars. The 17 acres was transformed into grounds that would allow for the Museum to hold varying events like car clubs and shows. That ground eventually also was turned into a free parking lot for visitors with the ability to hold up to 300 cars.
Now, the Museum’s exhibit encompasses over 80,000 square feet and consists of 85 cars in six various Galleries – Ford/Shelby, Corvettes, World Cars, Fin Cars, American Muscle and Mopars – with a Pop-Up Porsche Exhibit as well. Distinct enrichments that encompass the Museum include specially made artwork, historical videos and a collection of Mid-Century Modern furniture, which works as seating. The Museum even has a gift shop that contains various items made just for car lovers.
“The Museum is now sought out directly by those traveling to New England looking for experiences that mean something to them,” said Buerman on the significance of the Museum and its visitors. “Our audience is in large part car aficionados and art lovers. Some have travelled to see as many different car museums as they can in this country, and they tell us how amazed they are at what they find here. They appreciate the art gallery ambience, the beauty of the cars and the rich automotive history represented by each decade of design, starting with the early 1950s and finishing with new models from the 21st Century.”
The Newport Car Museum is open on a daily basis from 10-5. Tickets can be bought at the door of the Museum, or online at www.newportcarmuseum.org.
Regular admission: $18/adults; $15/Seniors, Military, Students; $8/Ages 5-15 (with an adult); Free/Ages 4 and under (with an adult)