The Garage



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The Garage is slated to open this Fall, and curiousity as to what makes this addition to Downtown Salina so unique is rising.

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Anyone driving by 108 S 4th St can tell something is going on.

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Decades ago, the 6 warehouses sitting in this space were loading and unloading docks, ideal for their close proximity to the parallel train tracks, just outside on 4th St.

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More recently, Images Recycling was housed in this location.

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Just a few short years ago, Downtown Salina began receiving a massive face-lift. What began in 2017 took well into 2020, while pieces of the massive construction project continue as new businesses move into the 18-block district.

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What is now known as the Downtown Project, was made possible by something called Star Bonds.

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To qualify for these special bonds to be put to good use in the Downtown Project, an educational experience was required to be added to the Downtown public space.

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Naturally, you can’t get more educational than a museum.

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After brainstorming, with thoughts, plans, and ideas being tossed around, the Salina Educational Automotive Museum of America was decided upon. While this is the official name of the museum, you might also hear it called The Garage.

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Even though Downtown Salina covers a massive 18 block span, the only logical place to build such a massive structure was by using these warehouses.

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And, what a massive structure it is.

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Over 40,000 square feet of space, according to the Museum’s executive director, Michelle Peck.

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Just what will this museum house?

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Cars. Over 50 of them, actually.

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And, not just any kind of car. More importantly, Classic Cars.

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The museum will display different kinds of Classic cars, on loan from their owners, for a period of 4-6 months.

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And, it’s not just cars. Trucks, semi’s, bicycles… just about anything on wheels used as a mode of transportation.

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In fact, one of the first vehicles rolling into the museum will be an incredible piece of work, built in 1882.

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That’s right. A car built 139 years ago.

But, it doesn’t stop there.

The Museum will be seperated into two halves. The first half will be a constant themed exhibit.

The second half will be an ever changing exhibit. Muscle cars might be the first. Next, cars of the early 20th century. With no set theme, the possibilities are endless.

What will join these two pieces of the Museum together, is the educational aspect. Kiosks will be set up throughout the facility, where kids and adults alike can learn about cars from the time when Henry Ford invented the assembly line, until today when nearly every family owns at least one automobile.

A road will be painted onto the floor, directing Museum traffic, so to speak, throughout the different exhibits.

The Salina Educational Automotive Museum of America will be an accredited museum. That means, that certain standards must be adhered to.

For instance, the temperature within the Museum must be a constant 65°. Because of the nature of the artifacts on display, too much humidity and too much cold can be damaging.

Another museum aspect will be lighting. Soft lights, incandescent bulbs, and garage-type lighting will be used.

Over the past century, the original windows have been bricked or boarded up. All of these will be opened to their original grandeur. However, the windows used will allow people to see out, but no light or visual in. This, too, will add to the accreditation stipulations of being a true museum.

Garage style doors, which are already visible, will be used as entries for the display vehicles. The main doors for entrance to the museum will be on 4th St.

The museum will be family friendly. However, that doesn’t mean that adults can’t have a little fun.

Alcohol will be served on the premises, as well as snacks. Food trucks will periodically be serving food on site. An indoor lounge and outdoor patio will be available for seating.

An awesome aspect of the Salina Educational Automotive Museum of America is that the museum will be affiliated with Safe Kids Kansas. This means that certain museum workers will be certified to install car seats.

There will be approximately 4-5 employed at the Museum.

Memerships will be available, with special perks and events available for membership holders.

On top of all this, a very special room is in the designs.

Leadsled Spectacular, held by KKOA (Kustum Kemps of America) has been an annual celebration in Salina for as long as any of us can remember. With the exception of last year being beyond KKOA’s control, the event brings countless vehicles into town for the last full weekend each July.

These vehicles are each Classic in their own unique right, and The Garage is giving a special nod to a Salina tradition.

That’s right. A room will be devoted to Leadsled.

If you’re like me, and the countless others who drive by the facility daily, you are very excited to hear an opening date.

While the only official time we’ve been given is this Fall, in the meantime you can follow the Museum on their Facebook page. You can also visit their website.

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