August 8

The Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar, California with Brigitte and her best friend's daughter Maricarmen and the daughter's boyfriend Michael visiting from Belgium.

I have been intending to come here ever since I saw Brigitte's pictures ages ago. Thanks Brigitte for inviting me to join you - and it's free too gang, but be sure to make a reservation!
You don't need a reservation to see this section but you wouldn't want to drive all the way out here and miss the best parts, so call for that reservation.

According to the literature and the guides, all the cars are restored to their exact original design including the colors, and they are all gassed up and ready to run. They say you can turn the key, and drive them out the big door and down the street.
The cars are really cool...
...and coolest of all are the hood ornaments. Wow.
The cars are aged from 1898 through 1982 and there are many familiar historical icons to enjoy.
Oh yeah. Wings are prominently featured in hood ornaments.
There are actually two buildings, the new single story building they are calling The Museum, and the original five story building called The Collection where the tour takes place.

This is a section of the tour group reflected in a giant mirror in the Grand Salon.
One of my favorites.
The collection was begun by J. B. Nethercutt, the co-founder of Merle Norman Cosmetics. I couldn't find on the website how this whole thing is funded - a foundation probably.
This room is 'designed in the style of an opulent automotive showroom of the 1920's and 30's.'
Up here on the fourth floor are unexpected and quite marvelous musical extravaganzas. They've got all kinds of 'automated mechanical instruments' along the lines of a player piano but this thing will make you gasp.

It's called an Orchestian which are amazing machines made in Germany and Belgium during the early 1900s...'through their electro-pneumatic systems and paper roll arrangements, replicate entire orchestras.'
They kept the doors open only very briefly and there was a crowd jostling to see the bits that could produce such fantastic sounds. Here you can see the accordion where the bellows moved, the buttons pressed. It was a wowzer.

Brigitte remembers from Europe when she was young her grandparents would take her to dance halls and cafes that featured these fabulous instruments.

They all but disappeared with the arrival of the Juke Box.
We also heard a blow-out display of the 'Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Piped Organ' with more than 5,000 pipes.

They have concerts here a few times a year, also free, and I'm hoping to go!
They have also restored a big steam engine and a private Pulman car. This guy was giving the rap - more for another visit!
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