America’s love affair with the automobile began in the early 1900s. But it took inexpensive, plentiful gasoline to transform desire into reality. Enter petroleum pioneers such as Louis and Jacob Blaustein and Henry Rosenberg Sr., who brought Crown Central Petroleum to
Baltimore, where it became one of the nation’s largest independent integrated oil companies. This past year Crown celebrated its 100th anniversary.
Known as an innovator in the petroleum industry, Crown has been credited with introducing the first licensee program designed to give jobbers and their dealers a wide range of custom alternatives that successfully compete with conventional branding programs. The Crown name is an iconic brand with locations serving thousands of people each day.
Opening on Friday, February 23, Fueling the Automobile Age is an original exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Industry that explores how the products and innovations of these two local oil companies helped fuel America’s automobile age – and encourages visitors to consider what technologies and innovations will fuel the next transportation age.
“As a museum exploring the industries of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, we’re excited to show how one Baltimore family made an historic impact on car culture, while we also consider how the current demand for electric cars, ride-share services, and public transit shapes a new era in transportation,” says Anita Kassof, the museum’s executive director. Inspired by the exhibition, the museum is planning a variety of public programs that will encourage visitors to consider these issues.
The exhibition explores America’s dependence on cars, growing from just 8,000 registered vehicles in 1900, to 26 million in 1930, to more than 270 million today. Plenty of hands-on opportunities for visitors are integrated into the gallery, exploring a 1953 Packard sedan (both inside and out), playing the part of gas station attendants, and envisioning what cars of the future will look like.
This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of the Henry and Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation, American Trading and Production Corporation, and Lord Baltimore Capital, with additional support from Clark Brands, LLC and McGuireWoods LLP.
ABOUT THE BMI:
The Baltimore Museum of Industry celebrates Maryland’s industrial legacy and shows how innovation fuels ongoing progress. Our exhibitions, educational programs, and collections engage visitors in the stories of the people who built Baltimore and those who shape the region’s future.
The Baltimore Museum of Industry is located at 1415 Key Highway, Baltimore, MD 21230. The BMI is open Tuesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and closed Mondays and some holidays. Free on-site parking is available. Admission prices, general museum information and directions can be found at www.thebmi.org. Follow us on Facebook at BaltimoreMuseumofIndustry and on Twitter at @BMIatWork.
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