The Crawford Auto Aviation Museum

Located in the heart of University Circle, the cultural epicenter of Cleveland, Ohio, is the Cleveland History Center, headquarters for the Western Reserve Historical Society and home of the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum.  With 171 automobiles, as well as aircraft and countless transportation history materials, the Crawford represents one of the finest collections of pre-World War I cars in the world and one-of-a-kind vehicles manufactured in the 20th century.   Generously supported by the Cleveland Foundation, the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, is a must see destination for students, auto-aviation enthusiasts and tourists visiting Cleveland and northeast Ohio.

Discover and explore the history of Northeast Ohio’s auto and aviation industries and the ever changing American experience with transportation. Setting the World in Motion explores the impact of Northeast Ohio on the auto and aviation industries during the first half of the 20th Century. Also open, REVolution, traces the history of automobile design and technological changes in America from the 1890s to the 21st Century.

These cars and aircraft are accompanied by the fascinating stories of their creation, manufacture, use, and ownership. It is through these stories guests discover how the auto industry shaped, and continues to shape, Cleveland and American history.

At one time, Cleveland was home to 115 car manufacturers and a leader of transportation innovation in the United States. Industrialist and entrepreneur Frederick C. Crawford saw the importance of preserving that legacy and began the Thompson Auto Album at his corporate headquarters of Thompson Products, Inc. (later TRW). Crawford gifted the collection on November 22, 1963 to the Western Reserve Historical Society, thereby establishing the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum built in 1965.

A visit to the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum begins with Cleveland Starts Here® sponsored by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation.  This core Cleveland history exhibition captures the stories of people and place, the legacy of Cleveland and northeast Ohio, and how this city on the lake continues to shape the American experience. From here, visitors are sent on a journey to discover the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation that fueled the auto industry in Cleveland and how that industry catapulted Cleveland to the forefront of national manufacturing in the early 20th century.

From an 1897 Panhard Levassor to a 1967 365 California Ferrari, the Crawford Collection is as diverse as the stories it represents.  Among two floors of gallery space dedicated to automotive and aviation marvels, guests will explore the world’s largest display of stainless steel vehicles including the first production DeLorean, an all-aluminum 1932 Peerless prototype, a 1964 Avanti – the last Studebaker produced, and the first car to travel around the world – the 1911 Hupmobile.  Nestled throughout are other surprises like the 1944 P-51K Mustang, a National Air Race winning Wedell Williams, and Tinkerbell, a small craft that sailed the across the Atlantic. Motorcycle fans will also appreciate a pair of early Harley-Davidsons, an Indian, a Zundapp, and the crown jewel of the Crawford’s motorcycle collection, a Vincent Black Shadow.

Each admission to the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum takes guests on a journey through Cleveland from 1796 to today with the extensive collections of the Western Reserve Historical Society.  Visits also include rides on the restored 1910 Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel, two historic mansions, and the evolution of fashion in the Chisholm Halle Costume Wing.  Discounted admission is available for groups of 12 or more.  Guided tours are also available upon request for an additional fee.

Consider any of the galleries to host a private event, corporate function or a fundraiser.  WRHS offers expert content, unique spaces, and engaging experiences for diverse audiences and multiple event needs.  Program experiences are also delivered offsite through Speaking of Cleveland.

Find out more at or engage more stories on social media @clestartshere.

Thinking of planning a trip? Get in touch with an AAA travel agent to learn about available discounts, flight options, and hotel reservations to make your getaway one to remember.

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