Volo Auto Museum delays reopening

  • Volo Auto Museum Director Brian Grams talks about the work that went into fully restoring this century-old Allan Herschell Co. carousel. The merry-go-round and surrounding building is among projects crews are completing while the museum is closed.

    Volo Auto Museum Director Brian Grams talks about the work that went into fully restoring this century-old Allan Herschell Co. carousel. The merry-go-round and surrounding building is among projects crews are completing while the museum is closed. Courtesy of Cynthia Wolf

 
Submitted by Cynthia Wolf
Updated 7/15/2020 1:59 PM

Volo Auto Museum owners have chosen to focus on ongoing improvements rather than reopening amid restrictions that they feel would diminish the guest experience.

Brian Grams, director of the museum at 27582 Volo Village Road, noted that several fans have reminded him that Phase 4 of Illinois' pandemic-prompted Restore Illinois plan, which started late last month, allows museums to reopen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Some folks have let us know they are pretty unhappy that we're not reopened," Grams said. "It's not because we don't miss everyone."

The owners feel that the restrictions Phase 4 entails would prohibit some of the key experiences of the Volo Auto Museum, such as train tours, visitors congregating around an ever-expanding array of animatronics shows, children boarding vintage kiddie rides, or kids crowding around princesses and superheroes during special events.

Although the museum's reopening is, at this point, unlikely until Illinois enters Phase 5, patience will be rewarded, Grams said.

Since the museum closed in March, crews have been hard at work making sweeping improvements.

A Jurassic Gardens indoor dinosaur park is under construction in the old Mercantile Mall building just south of what used to be the main museum entrance.

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New movie car exhibits have been added, including the "Ford v Ferrari" GT and the family truckster from "National Lampoon's Vacation." A renovated entryway will reduce ticketing line wait times on busier days. An improved traffic flow is in place throughout the complex. Bathroom facilities have been renovated.

Monster truck rides and a train tour through an outdoor Ice Age exhibit are planned. The museum's century-old Herschell carousel, fully restored, will carry happy horseback riders as it twirls, its organ music pumping.

The Grams family has also added 60 acres to the property, which now extends north to the intersection of Route 12 and Fox Lake Road.

"We'll have more options to add future car shows and other events," Grams said. "Those who love us for our amazing classic and muscle car collection; that's not going away by any means. In fact, that's expanding too."

By reopening day, there's sure to be even more.

"Please be patient," Grams said. "The wait will be worth it."

For other information, call (815) 385-3644, visit volocars.com or find Volo Auto Museum on Facebook.

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