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Chrysler Museum closing

The Walter P. Chrysler Museum will merge with The Chrysler Foundation on December 31, 2012; its collection of 67 vehicles and displays will be purchased by Chrysler Group LLC, which will preserve them. The gains from this sale and the Museum Foundation’s remaining funds will be transferred to The Chrysler Foundation, which supports charitable community activities and organizations.

The Museum opened to the public on October 5, 1999, around a year after Chrysler Corporation ceased to exist. Many Chrysler retirees have donated their time to the museum, acting as guides, restoring vehicles, and raising funds.

The museum lost money in 2010 and 2011; cumulative losses on the museum total nearly $2 million over the past three years. Museum Foundation president Brian Glowiak wrote, “Chrysler will continue to share its automobile heritage housed at the Museum with the public during special exhibitions.”

In a conversation with Allpar, Doreen Wright, the museum’s executive director, said the the Cars, Trees and Traditions exhibition will go on as planned, and the museum will operate relatively normally until the end of the year. However, programs like Adopt-A-Car, which allowed museum supporters to sponsor the maintenance and upkeep of the vehicles on display, will have to be discontinued because of the change in the museum’s status.

The fate of other programs, like the summer movie nights and cruise nights, hasn’t been settled, but if they continue, there will likely be changes based on the need to use the actual facilities. The CEMA show has already been relocated from the parking lot to another area on the Chrysler campus.

Ms. Wright also said there will be some jobs lost with the end of the museum’s operations as a year-round operation. She noted that a decision has not been made on which positions will be eliminated or the potential of placement elsewhere in Chrysler.

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