DeMOTTE — No time to travel around and see the automotive history of Indiana? Well, don’t worry, the newest participant at the annual Touch of Dutch Festival will bring some of Indiana’s history to you. On Aug. 9 and 10, the Auto Indiana exhibition known as History on Wheels will be set up in Spencer Park.
Admission is free and visitors can experience an exhibit dedicated to Indiana’s automotive and racing heritage. The exhibit touches on the history of the more than 100 Indiana automakers and manufacturers, such as Cord, Duesenberg and Studebaker. It also showcases Hoosier innovators and inventors, such as Carl Fisher, Elwood Haynes and Ralph Teetor.
In one section of the exhibit, guests of all ages can explore under the hood of a car modeled after a 1914 Marmon Touring Car. Children can climb into the driver’s seat of a mini Indy Race Car and imagine what it would be like to cross the famed Yard of Bricks.
The exhibit is housed inside a custom-built 53-foot double-expandable semi-trailer that expands to nearly 1,000 square feet of indoor space when opened. The trailer was custom designed and built by Featherlite Trailers. In addition to the more standard displays, the exhibit features interactive touchscreen monitors to help tell the tale of Hoosier ingenuity. The trailer is ADA accessible and is also climate-controlled.
“We think the addition of History on Wheels at the Touch of Dutch will bring a nice layer of fun and education to festival visitors of any age,” said Chamber Executive Director Diva Rish. “We hope everyone attending the Touch will join us for this free exhibit showcasing the rich Indiana history of automobiles.”
The vehicle was conceived as a way to bring Indiana history to festivals, fairs, schools and other special events. It was conceived by the Indiana Historical Society and first hit the road in 2017 with the goal of reaching all 92 counties in Indiana at some point. The exhibit is presented by Jiffy Lube and supported by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Fuel is provided by Country Mark and the intiial costs were made possible by a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment. Locally, Jasper County REMC has provided funding to bring the exhibit to the Touch of Dutch.
It will be in the parking lot just east of the tennis courts. The exhibit will be open on Friday, August 9, from 5 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, August 10, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.