MotorCities National Heritage Area
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Browse destinations, activities or interests to plan your automotive heritage trip! With arts and entertainment, parks, gardens, cemeteries, libraries, archives, museums, historic homes, motor sports and roadside auto culture, there is truly something for everyone. Pick your places, pack up the car, put the pedal to the metal and explore the MotorCities! Explore MotorCities Button


Auto Heritage Hunt art concept 2.0


For those looking for a fun way to social distance while exploring the amazing automotive attractions the region has to offer, MotorCities National Heritage Area presents its first-ever Automobile Heritage Hunt on Saturday, August 1 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., with additional "drive up" sites accessible until 8 p.m.

“This event is a great way to get out of the house and have a little fun, while learning about our state’s history as the automotive capital of the world,” said Shawn Pomaville-Size, Executive Director of MotorCities. “Proceeds will also help us continue to tell and preserve those important auto and labor history stories for generations to come.”

Put your team together and collect as many points as you can while driving around visiting sites around metro Detroit, Flint, Lansing and many other points in between. Teams will answer questions related to the sites and compete to win one of three prizes, including $500 cash for the overall point leader! Extra credit points will be available for driving a classic car, dressing your team in themed costumes, posting photos from certain stops on social media, and more!

Teams pay $50 per car to participate in the Automobile Heritage Hunt and must register by Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.


Please note that THIS EVENT IS NOT A RACE. Everyone is being given the same amount of time to collect points, and, due to state regulations for groups, there is no "finish line" or final gathering site. Winners will be announced on Sunday, August 2.

Click here for the complete rules:

Automotive Heritage Hunt Rules & Regulations

Use the form below to register: 

Event participants agree to hold harmless MotorCities National Heritage Area Partnership and any sites, personnel or agents connected to this event.

Since many of us are still at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, MotorCities is continuing its series of programs featuring members of our Speakers Bureau discussing interesting automotive history topics. Each program is FREE and presented as a live Zoom webinar.

"Rosie the Riveter" with Allison Beatty
Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 12 p.m. EDT
The iconic Rosie the Riveter poster US Army 8
This presentation covers the extraordinary role that women played in bringing victory to Allied forces in World War II. It chronicles the circumstances that led to rise of the mighty Willow Run bomber plant in Ypsilanti, where Ford Motor Company was able to produce thousands of four-engine B-24 Liberator bombers at the almost unfathomable rate of one airplane every 55 minutes. This previously unheard of industrial accomplishment would have been impossible without the help of tens of thousands of women who had never previously set foot on a factory floor. The presentation explores how women mastered factory skills and became known as the “Rosie the Riveters,” who would forevermore inspire passion and perseverance in men and women alike. It includes rare archival photographs of women working at Willow Run and details how women struggled, sacrificed, and ultimately triumphed in this labor of love to exceed production quotas, bring victory to the Allies, and earn respect in the workplace. The presentation ends with an insightful look at why Rosie the Riveter has become such a powerful symbol and how Yankee Air Museum is renovating the Willow Run bomber plant to be a permanent home to the Rosie the Riveter legacy, right here in the great state of Michigan.

Alison Beatty

Register for this program here.

"Southwest Detroit Auto Heritage Guide" Panel
Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 12 p.m. EDTTimken Detroit Axle Company 1919 cropped RESIZED
This program will highlight a new feature debuting on the MotorCities website, chronicling the auto legacy built by the entrepreneurs, workers, businesses and unions of Southwest Detroit over more than a century. The panel includes the following:
Janese Chapman of Detroit's Historic District Advisory Board;
Rob Dewaelsche, Director of the Southwest Detroit Business Association;
rian Yopp, Director of Programs & Operations for MotorCities;
and Ron Alpern & Dan Clark of the Guide's Coordinating Committee. 

Register for this program here.

Check out our past programs on YouTube at the links below. 

Past sessions:

"Mascots of Motion" with Steve Purdy
Friday, May 15, 2020 at 12 p.m. EDT
This presentation featured classic and collector car hood ornaments.
Click to watch this presentation on YouTube!
MotorCities At Home Steve Purdy RESIZED

"Billy Durant, Founder of General Motors" by Russ Dore
Friday, May 22, 2020 at 12 p.m. EDT
Click to watch this presentation on YouTube!
MotorCities At Home May 22 RESIZED
"Cool Cars: Unique Automobiles of the Detroit Historical Society Collection" by Jeremy Dimick
Friday, May 29, 2020 at 12 p.m. EDT
Click to watch this presentation on YouTube.
MotorCities At Home May 29 RESIZED

"R.E. Olds & the First Auto City" with Michael Rodriguez
Friday, June 5, 2020 at 12 p.m. EDT
Click to watch this presentation on YouTube.MotorCities At Home Word June 5 RESIZED
"Ford Motor Company & the Arsenal of Democracy" with Robert Kreipke
Thursday, July 9, 2020 at 12 p.m. EDT

During World War II, metro Detroit and the region encompassing our MotorCities National Heritage Area converted from the production of automobiles to the materials of war. Dubbed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as America's "Arsenal of Democracy," this region played a key role in helping the Allies win the war.

Now, in the midst of the national emergency caused by the spreading of COVID-19, many companies in Michigan are once again responding to the needs of the country and converting to production of ventilators, masks, hand sanitizer and other products necessary to win this new fight. Many have dubbed this new fight the "Arsenal of Health."

The production line at Willow Run Yankee Air Museum RESIZED 3The bomber production line at Willow Run (Photo courtesy of the Yankee Air Museum)

To bring some perspective to our history and its relevance in 2020, here are some resources from our MotorCities partners to help you learn more about our proud history as the Arsenal of Democracy.

Detroit Historical Society

Detroit: The Arsenal of Democracy Exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum

Encyclopedia of Detroit -- Arsenal of Democracy

Encyclopedia of Detroit -- Willow Run

Interactive Arsenal of Democracy Map

The Henry Ford

The Willow Run Bomber Plant

Historic Fort Wayne

10 Key Events from Historic Fort Wayne's History

Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society

Arsenal of Democracy Videos

Yankee Air Museum

Current Exhibits at the Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run

Ford making medical masks RESIZEDA Ford worker with a medical mask (Ford Motor Company) 

And now, here are some articles about how our auto industry is fighting the new war against COVID-19:

President Trump to Visit Ford Rawsonville Plant
Eastern Echo - May 20, 2020

How GM and Ford Switched from Building Vehicles to Making Medical Supplies
CBS News "60 Minutes" - April 26, 2020

Mary Barra GM CBS News 60 Minutes April 2020General Motors CEO Mary Barra

From Vehicles to Ventilators, Ford & GM Take On Coronavirus
CBS News "60 Minutes Overtime" - April 26, 2020

Ford Motor Company Making Face Shields with Help from Sinai Grace ER Doc
Fox 2 Detroit - April 22, 2020

The Big 3 Versus COVID-19 
DBusiness - April 21, 2020

Ford Making Masks to Protect Workers from COVID-19 
Reuters - April 13, 2020

What Fiat Chrysler Is Doing in Coronavirus Fight 
Detroit Free Press - April 11, 2020

GM Gets $490 Million Government Deal to Build Ventilators 
Detroit Free Press - April 8, 2020

Big 3 Automakers Could Enlist to Produce COVID-19 Medical Equipment 
Michigan Advance - March 20, 2020