Museum History

Harold and Nancy LeMay amassed the largest privately owned collection of automobiles, motorcycles, trucks, other vehicles and related memorabilia in the world.

At its peak, the LeMay Collection numbered in excess of 3,000 vehicles and thousands of artifacts and was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest privately owned collection in the world; impressive if accomplished by a King, but jaw dropping, awesome when accomplished by a local businessman from Tacoma, Washington.

In 1998, Harold and Nancy LeMay formed the 501c3 charitable organization, The Harold E. LeMay Museum, now called LeMay - AMERICA'S CAR MUSEUM, and committed themselves to donating the vast LeMay Collection to the Museum for the benefit of the public. LeMay - AMERICA'S CAR MUSEUM was chartered to secure, preserve and interpret the valuable LeMay Collection, along with additional vehicles and artifacts that it may acquire, in order to explore the broad themes of American mobility and lifestyle in an instructive and entertaining manner.

The magnitude of the LeMay Collection, and its power to relate the story of the American experience with the automobile, demands a new paradigm in transportation museums.  The museum will be an inviting place, eliciting memories and stories from those who visit. It will provide a venue to explore history, design, technology and restoration. In short, the museum will create “America's Auto Experience” and become a world-class tourist destination in its own right.

The exciting design concepts for the future home of the LeMay - AMERICA'S CAR MUSEUM were approved by the Museum's Board of Directors at their meeting on November 4, 2003.  Please go to the New Museum section of this website to read about the vision for the new museum, view the stunning architect renderings of the building and to learn about the economic impact of the project.

Nancy LeMay is thrilled with the plans for the Museum's future home. “Harold would love the design, the way it suggests a car, and most importantly, that it is designed to become a gathering place for the community. I believe this is a great vision and that we can and will get it done”.

For more information about LeMay - AMERICA'S CAR MUSEUM or to schedule a tour of The LeMay collection, please email us at or call 253.779.8490.