Trucking Museum prays for a miracle

The Golden Age of Trucking Museum, a hidden gem chronicling the history of trucking in the U.S., will be shutting its doors on July 20. The reason, like everything these days, is financial.

1916_signal_flatbed_truck1.jpg1953_fageol.jpgThe museum, tucked away in the small town of Middlebury, CT, has been fighting what has proved to be a losing battle for years now. A source of pride for the family of founders Richard and Frances Guerrera, the museum has been running a deficit since its opening in 2002, according to a story in the Waterbury (CT) Republican-American.

1954_diamond_t_9515.jpgThe brainchild of Richard, who owned his own business, R.J. Guerrera, the museum came out of his love for trucks of all types. After his liquid transportation company grew to greater than 120 vehicles with terminals in five states, Richard Guerrera started collecting and restoring antique trucks. His hobby grew and soon he had nearly 20 vehicles stored in garages throughout Connecticut.

In 1998, the idea of buying land and building a museum dedicated to the history of trucks became a reality when the Guerreras broke ground in Middlebury – the Golden Age of Trucking Museum was born.

1963_mack_truck_b61.jpgUnfortunately, Richard Guerrera passed away shortly after the official groundbreaking ceremony in 1999. His widow Frances and family continued to pursue his dream, eventually opening the doors to the museum in 2002. But as with any non-profit organization, donations and visitors are what kept it running, and in the small town of Middlebury, with businesses few and far between, and tourists even fewer, the museum just couldn’t make it.

The staff kicked off a $100,000 fundraising effort last year, but has been able to raise only $20,000 to date. The museum sought federal and state grants and other means to bring in revenue, but have had no luck. Richard Guerrera’s dream, which has been kept alive by Frances and the Guerrera family, now appears to be coming to an end.

1974_autocar.jpgThe museum included more than 30 vehicles at any given time.

I had occasion to visit the museum last year with my children, ages 6 and 2, and the looks on their eyes were priceless. Barring a last-minute miracle, it’s a shame that other children will not have the chance to learn about the history of trucking as we say goodbye to the Golden Age of Trucking Museum.

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