Visiting the Nethercutt Collection
The Nethercutt Collection had been on my “must visit” list for years. Sure it’s a world class collection and admission is free but it’s in Sylmar which is quite a distance from my home base. So it remained on my list year after year. But this past weekend I found myself in the valley and decided it was time to cross the Nethercutt off my list.
The Nethercutt Collection was founded by J.B. and Dorothy Nethercutt who rose to prominence with the success of their cosmetics company, Merle Norman. Both had a passion for collecting and accrued an enormous variety of antique vehicles and mechanical musical instruments among other things. They decided to open their collection to the public and the museum and collection were born.
If you want to visit the Nethercutt Museum you can stop by anytime during visiting hours. But if you want to view the collection you need to book a tour in advance. Tours are offered several times a week and can accommodate a large group of people. I would estimate my group at about 100.
The Museum consists solely of classic cars and you’ll find some beauties on display. Here’s a few of my favorites.
The Collection also has large variety of classic cars but the presentation is much more impressive. You see, they’re displayed in a replica of an early car showroom and all I can say is – wow! I had no idea that much effort was put into car dealerships of the past. Seriously, we’re getting gipped now.
The cars are just as impressive as their surroundings. Each one has been perfectly restored to its original condition and is in running order. They are stunning pieces of work.
In addition to the cars there are several mechanical musical instruments. These instruments play at the push of the button…an incredible fact as they date to the turn of the last century! Each instrument is in complete working condition and we were serenaded by several of them.
As impressive as they were they were not my favorite part of the collection. That distinction belongs to the amazing specimen hidden behind the museum – a 1937 Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson Locomotive and a 1912 Pullman Private Car.
The 1912 Pullman Private car was owned by Clara Baldwin Stocker, the daughter of “Lucky” Baldwin. Like all other pieces in the collection it’s completely restored to it’s original glory. At certain times it’s open for viewing and I was lucky enough to take a look inside.
Isn’t it incredible? If I had a private car like this I’d be riding the rails all the time!
Now that I’ve finally visited the Nethercutt Collection I can honestly say it’s one of the best excursions in Southern California. I’ve been to many museums and seen many historic objects but never have I been to a place quite like this. The vastness of the collection, the high quality of the pieces, and the fact that there is no entrance fee make it a must visit place for natives and visitors alike.
Nethercutt Museum and Collection
15151 and 15200 Bledsoe Street
Sylmar, CA 91342