VOLO – As a venue that displays an eclectic mix of historical, celebrity-connected and film-famous cars, the Volo Auto Museum is no stranger to the occasional controversial exhibit.
But plans to host a Presidents Day event featuring a rare limousine formerly owned by – and, in fact, bearing the ubiquitous brand of – the current president is drawing unprecedented heat.
The museum is set to offer half-price admission and eight free tokens good toward vintage games and kiddie rides for children ages 5 to 12 on Feb. 19. That’s this year’s federal holiday known as Presidents Day, originally an homage to George Washington that was celebrated Feb. 22, but later changed to the third Monday in February and now viewed as a celebration of all U.S. presidents, past and present.
Some fans of Volo Auto Museum’s Facebook page became hot under the collar, however, when museum Director Brian Grams posted about the upcoming event.
Published this week, the social media post includes a photo of a younger Donald Trump in the back seat of one of two Trump limousines ever made, along with an invitation: “This Presidents Day do something unique with the kids! See President Trump’s former limousine. Each child will get two free souvenir postcards featuring the limo. Keep one postcard, write a letter to the president on the other one and we’ll mail it to the White House.”
The post quickly drew dozens of vitriolic comments from those who adamantly oppose the administration as well as Trump fans. Grams said he deleted between 35 and 40 offensive comments by Wednesday afternoon, and he added a statement calling for civility.
“All of this anger is off topic,” he said. “This is no more a political endorsement than our display of one of Democrat Oprah Winfrey’s former cars.”
Grams said the intent is to offer a fun, educational experience – and to encourage children to get involved by writing the president a note.
“We’re not telling anyone what to write,” Grams said. “They could be letters of praise or they could be letters of concern or question – but we would encourage the kids to use more tact than some of their elders.”
Located at 27582 Volo Village Road, the Volo Auto Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. It features about 400 classic, muscle and Hollywood cars and more. Regular admission is $15 for adults, $9 for children ages 5 to 12 and free for children 4 and younger. For information, call 815-385-3644, find Volo Auto Museum on Facebook or visit www.volocars.com.