In Pictures: National Motor Museum’s anniversary exhibition “The Story of Motoring in 50 Objects”

Date Posted 31st March 2022
Read Time 3 min read

The National Motor Museum’s landmark golden half-century, an anniversary exhibition telling The Story of Motoring in 50 Objects will be launched at Beaulieu on July 3.

The selection will be made from a wealth of more than 1.7 million items from the internationally acclaimed collection cared for by the National Motor Museum Trust. Curators have so far whittled the choice down to a shortlist of 150, and the final 50 objects will include the most historically important vehicles, motoring artefacts, film footage, images, documents, and books from its archives.

From record-breaking racing cars to crash test dummies, Edwardian motoring costumes to Mod parkas, Shell postcards to road signs, factory footage and motoring inventions, all the objects are in the pot for the final selection. Check out the gallery below to view some of the objects in the running.

National Motor Museum Trust Chief Executive Jon Murden said: “The history of motoring has had many twists and turns, but the mobility it provides has been central to our lives for over a century. Our final selection of 50 objects will tell this vitally important story in all its diversity.

“From illustrating motoring’s technology and progress, its achievement and endeavour, to transforming leisure activities and inspiring art, our final selection will be an exciting and important one to make.”

Inspiration for the National Motor Museum came from motoring pioneer and transport visionary John 2nd Baron Montagu. His son Edward, Lord Montagu first displayed five cars in the entrance of Palace Hall as a tribute to his father, before opening the museum on July 4, 1972. Together, their legacy resulted in the foundation of the first permanent national motor museum in the world.

To perform the original opening, trumpeters from the Royal Horse Artillery heralded the entrance of HRH The Duke of Kent – whose great-grandfather King Edward VII had been introduced to motoring by John Montagu. Historic cars and their owners gathered outside to take part in a cavalcade through the grounds of the attraction.

Fifty years on – to celebrate the golden anniversary and opening of The Story of Motoring in 50 Objects – owners are being invited to join a special display of vehicles from the 1970s at Beaulieu on July 3. More details about how to register interest in taking part will be shared soon.

Visitors will be able to use the Smartify app to scan the objects in the exhibition and uncover additional content and stories from the museum’s collections.

For tickets and details see or call 01590 612345.

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