MotorCities National Heritage Area

MotorCities 20th logoTwenty years ago, Congress and the National Park Service recognized the significance of the American automobile and the people and places that shaped its history by creating the MotorCities National Heritage Area Partnership. Throughout a region of 10,000 square miles in 16 Michigan counties with a population of more than six million people, we tell the stories of how this area put the world on wheels. These stories are our stories: the stories of a region where people grew up with the automobile; where its heritage lives in our neighborhoods to this day; and where an industry begun by a few hundred changed the world for millions. For a complete history, please click here.


Enjoy this brief video looking back on our first 20 years:


1996 American automobile industry celebrates its centennial anniversary and a coalition rallies for designation of various automotive heritage landmarks.

1997 Feasibility study conducted by Wayne Counts Parks and Rec for National Park Service Heritage Area consideration.

1998 Signing of Automobile National Heritage Area Act by President Clinton; MotorCities becomes the 28th National Heritage Area in the country

2001 The General Management Plan is submitted to the Secretary of the Interior and the boundaries of the National Heritage Area are drawn.

2002-2018 Implementation of the General Management Plan and its mission ”to preserve, interpret and promote the automotive and labor heritage of Michigan by encouraging revitalization through conservation, increasing auto-related tourism, and developing and deploying educational and informational programs”.
     Sub-grants totaling $1.5 million.
     Number of grants awarded: 295.
     Investments in programs:  $1.1 million.

2013 Evaluation conducted by U of M Dearborn

2014 Inauguration of Michigan Auto Heritage Day & Awards of Excellence

2014 MotorCities National Heritage Area is reauthorized by Congress

2015 Evaluation by Weststat completed and presented to Congress

2016 Economic Impact Report concludes a $410 million impact annually and support of over 4,000 jobs by the MotorCities National Heritage Area

2018 20th Anniversary

2018 Revamped website launched

2019 First of 14 Highway Signs Installed
MCNHA Highway sign 400

2019 Ground broken for Fort Street Bridge Park 

2020 Fort Street Bridge Park opens to the public 

2021 MotorCities launches "Many Voices, One Story" webpage as part of its DEI efforts 

2022 Reauthorization Due!

Explore and Record your MotorCities Adventure!

MotorCities National Heritage Area encourages you to explore our region with our annual Passport book. Stand in the footprints of automotive pioneers and legends of the labor movement. Learn the stories of the people, place, ideas and innovations that shaped America’s history and put the world on wheels. Explore and Enjoy!

Watch a video featuring many of our Michigan passport sites.

Passport 2020 coverOur Michigan passport books (click on the picture at left to page through!) are available at the following sites in these cities:

Belleville: Yankee Air Museum

Brooklyn:  Cambridge Junction Historic State Park

Chesterfield: Stahls Automotive Foundation

Dearborn: Automotive Hall of Fame
Greenfield Village
The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

Detroit: Detroit Historical Museum
Detroit Institute of Arts
Ford Piquette Avenue Plant
Historic Fort Wayne

Dundee: Old Mill Museum

Eastpointe: Michigan Military Technical & Historical Society

Flint: Durant-Dort Carriage Company/GM Factory One
Sloan Museum

Grosse Pointe Shores: Edsel & Eleanor Ford House

Hickory Corners: Gilmore Car Museum

Lansing: Michigan History Museum
R.E. Olds Transportation Museum

Livonia: Roush Automotive Collection

Plymouth: Plymouth Historical Museum

Rochester: Meadow Brook Hall

Shelby Township: Packard Proving Grounds

Westland: Nankin Mills

Ypsilanti: Michigan Firehouse Museum
Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum 

OR email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to have a copy mailed to you.

image 20110131153453 nps passportThe National Passport Stamp Program was created in 1986. It is designed to serve as a log of the unique experiences that a visitor encounters as they visit national parks, landmarks and heritage areas across the country. The National Park Stamps can be found and acquired at no cost at National Parks participating in the Passport program.

The passport book can also be purchased from the National Park Service's store website ($9.95 plus S&H) or can be purchased at local National Parks and/or Heritage Areas' visitor centers/gift shops.  

file 20170214190918 Building the Enginefile 20170213194403 Building the EngineIn 2017, a unique confluence of organized labor milestones will be recognized through a public awareness effort called, “Building the Engine: Auto and Labor, 1932-1937.”

With informative programs, publications and events, regional partners including the MotorCities National Heritage Area and the Michigan Labor History Society will present the story of how these events laid the foundation for organized labor in the auto industry and beyond.

To navigate labor anniversaries being commemorated as part of this effort, click on the links below.

80th anniversary, 1936 Kelsey Hayes Sit-Down Strike – Dec. 14, 2016

80th anniversary, 1936-37 Flint Sit-Down Strike

and first UAW-GM contract – Dec. 30, 2016-Feb. 11, 2017

85th anniversary, 1932 Ford Hunger March – March 7, 2017

80th anniversary, 1937 Battle of the Overpass – May 26, 2017

80th anniversary, 1937 Lansing Labor Holiday – June 7, 2017

Special publications, events, educational programming and more will be presented under the identity of “Building the Engine,” including a series of blog posts featured on the MotorCities website. Other information about the program will be listed on as well as the Michigan Labor History Society website at

MotorCities Support Button Membership

Become a member today using our secure online system. We value your membership and thank you for your support! 

Your 2023 Membership entitles you to...

1. Member-only exclusive discounts on admission and/or gift shop at many of our partner sites:

Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn: 20% off admission
Detroit Historical Museum: 20% off general admission and 10% off in the Museum Store
Detroit Institute of Arts: 20% off admission for guests from outside Wayne, Oakland & Macomb counties & 20% off purchase of any membership
Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores: buy one, get one free house tour and grounds pass ($15 savings)
Ford Piquette Avenue Plant 
in Detroit: 20% off admission for up to 4 people
Gilmore Car Museum
in Hickory Corners: 10% off in the gift shop
The Henry Ford
in Dearborn: 10% off the purchase of any membership
Meadow Brook Hall
in Rochester: 10% off admission for up to two guests
Michigan Firehouse Museum in Ypsilanti: 10% off admission
Michigan History Museum in Lansing: buy one, get one free adult admission + a 10% discount in the store
Michigan Military Technical & Historical Society in Eastpointe: $2 off admission per person
R. E. Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing: $5 off adult admission (50% off) 
Roush Automotive Collection in Livonia: 10% off in the gift shop
Sloan Museum of Discovery 
in Flint: 10% off in the store
Yankee Air Museum
in Belleville: 50% off admission 

2. MotorCities Membership Card

Membership card

3. Your very own MotorCities decal 

Membership sticker RESIZED

4. Recognition on the MotorCities website

2023 Membership List

Click here to sign up for or renew your MotorCities individual membership.

Choose this option for yourself, your family and your friends. This annual membership reflects your personal support for safeguarding our automotive heritage.  


The Internal Revenue Service recognizes MotorCities National Heritage Area Partnership, Inc. as a Section 501(c)(3) public charity. Gifts tax deductible in the U.S.A. Our Federal Tax ID # is 13-1635294