New Savoy Automobile Museum Fuses Classic Cars with Technology
Through the years, museums have continued to evolve, adding more colorful, lively attractions teeming with dynamic interactive displays and exhibitions to engage visitors of all ages. The new Savoy Automobile Museum in Cartersville, Georgia, is a model example of just such a place, and it is becoming a popular gathering spot in the region.
Opened in December 2021, the 65,000-square-foot museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit sitting on a 37-acre campus. It’s already hosted holiday parties, business trainings, weddings, and anniversary celebrations.
“Experiencing Savoy Museum is unlike any museum, automotive or art‑based,” says Tom Shinall, the museum’s director of development. “Elevating the automobile to its own art medium is one of the museum’s top goals. Savoy has quickly become a go‑to event space in our region. The masterfully designed architectural touches and the vision to create a state‑of‑the‑art facility has driven individuals and groups to Savoy for their respective events.”
Two key elements of this success are the museum’s rotating galleries and its incorporation of large and dazzling direct view (DV) LED displays. Galleries A, B, and C, as well as the museum’s Great Hall, serve as temporary gallery spaces for exhibitions, each pertaining to a specific automotive theme. Shinall says one value of the rotating galleries is their ability to provide guests with a plethora of automotive themes, eras, and designs. Gallery D exclusively showcases select vehicles from the museum’s permanent collection.
High-Tech Alongside Curated Art
The museum’s three huge DVLED displays utilize direct-view technology from LG Business Solutions USA, presenting automobile-related content. The museum’s Presentation Theatre boasts a large 18-foot-by-31-foot curved display and a turntable stage. Its Great Hall features a 10-foot-by-24-foot curved and tilted screen, and a third 4-foot-by-24-foot marquee display above the theater entrance promotes films and exhibits.
In addition to its array of classic cars, the Savoy Automobile Museum showcases a curated collection of original automotive-themed works of art throughout the institution. How do the high-tech DVLED displays fit in with the classic automobiles and artwork?
“The DVLED displays do not hinder the beauty of each vehicle, artwork, and automobilia displayed at Savoy,” Shinall answers. “As an attraction, we understand there’s a fine line between displays being a distraction or enhancement, and we are proud to see how our digital displays have enhanced our visitor’s experience.”
Something for Everyone
Another challenge for almost any museum is ensuring that its collection appeals to a wide range of visitor demographics. Classic autos from decades in the past may appeal to senior visitors, race cars to guests in their 20s and 30s, and machines loaded with the latest digital technology to those in their teens.
“The car-culture world is all encompassing and multigenerational,” Shinall says. “Children, kids, teens, adults, and seniors alike relate to automobiles, from pop culture to cherished memories. We see families throughout the museum on a daily basis sharing stories and pointing out the details that make each automobile special to that family.”
The immense global success of the “Fast & Furious” street racing movie series and the 2019 motion picture “Ford v Ferrari” centered on the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race demonstrate the appeal of auto racing, and the Savoy Automobile Museum certainly understands this.
“Our opening exhibitions included ‘American Racing,’ highlighted with cars from IndyCar, NASCAR, sprint, Salt Flats, and drag racing,” Shinall says. “Currently, ‘FrontRunners’ showcases victory‑claiming, record‑breaking, front‑engine Indy 500 roadsters from the 1950s and 1960s, and the Pirelli 150th anniversary exhibition includes Formula 1 and Trans Am Series cars. Looking ahead, we are working on a ‘Brass Era Race Car’ exhibition.”
Though the Savoy Automotive Museum is a membership-based institution, anyone can visit during operating hours. Further, the museum makes itself available for lease even to nonmembers, as Shinall explains: “Savoy is a cultural resource, and anyone has the opportunity to rent select rental spaces for events. Later this year, we are hosting a TEDx event, and we haven’t even touched car shows, cruise‑ins, meetups, and more on the showgrounds. We are just getting started, and it is going to be a fun ride!”
The museum also includes a café and retail store and comprises three structures—the museum, the vehicle storage building, and the outdoor pavilion, including showgrounds. Savoy Automobile Museum is open year-round, every Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $15, and $5 for youth ages 3 to 12. Complimentary admission is provided to kids under age 3, active military, and museum members.