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The Lookout | July 13, 2020

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Olds Museum a Lansing treasure

Olds Museum a Lansing treasure
The Lookout

Aaron Wilton
Staff Writer

From REO Town and Lansing’s baseball stadium, to several city streets and roads across mid-Michigan and the name of a 1980s rock group, the name of Ransom Eli Olds is everywhere.

His memory has lived on in the R. E. Olds Transportation Museum (REOTM) since 1981. REOTM is located at 240 Museum Drive in downtown Lansing.

Executive Director Bill Adcock has been working with REOTM for 16 years.

“35 years ago, when we opened the doors, there were very few cars in here,” Adcock said. “Maybe eight, and the museum didn’t even own them. We now have over 70 cars that we own and display.”

Adcock explained there are still a few extremely historic cars the museum has on display that it doesn’t own.

“We happen to have here, on display, the very first of four 1897 motor wagons that were built right here in Lansing, Mich. on River Street,” he said.

“That (car) belongs to the Smithsonian. Olds Motorworks gave it to the Smithsonian in 1915. (The Smithsonian) won’t give it to us, but it’s been on loan for 20-some years.”

Another of the loaner cars is an 1899 electric car made by Olds himself. This is most likely the only one in existence in the world.

“It’s quite an interesting museum,” Adcock said. “It’s all Lansing built transportation, whether it was an Oldsmobile, a Reo or a Durant. We even have an airplane; the Driggs aircraft.”

Adcock gave his thoughts on the museum.

“It’s a great, great museum,” he said. “It’s an absolute Lansing treasure. There have been people that come in here every day that said, ‘I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve never been here,’ which is sad.”

The REOTM is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

Admission is $7 for adults; $5 for students (college students must have a valid I.D.); $5 for seniors (age 65 and up); and $15 for a family (two parents and three children under 18).

For more information on REOTM go online to or call (517) 372-0529.

Kristi Schwartzly is the office manager at REOTM.

“People keep calling us a ‘hidden gem,’” Schwartzly said. “But we don’t want to be hidden!”


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