Cranbrook and the Car, Part 4: On the Road Again

A Driving Force: Cranbrook and the Car may have closed to the public, but we’re not done with it yet here at the Center for Collections and Research. As Cranbrook Art Museum switches out exhibitions (and gets ready to install the yearly Graduate Degree Exhibition, a show everyone must check out), staff of both the Center and the Museum are busy dismantling cases, assessing the condition of objects as they come down from the display, and preparing spaces to hold new and exciting displays of art and design.

While A Driving Force: Cranbrook and the Car was not a huge show, it did have one very sizable object: the 1914 Scripps-Booth Rocket Cyclecar. In the collection of the Detroit Historical Museum, the Rocket came to us from the Owls Head Transportation Museum where it had been on loan for a number of years (if you missed it, read more about the move here). Now, nine months after going on view, it was time to return it home. This morning our registrar Roberta Frey Gilboe and associate registrar Gretchen Sawatzki helped to wheel the Rocket out onto Cranbrook Art Museum’s loading dock and send it back to the Detroit Historical Museum.

Museum objects need to be preserved in as best condition as possible, which means that driving the Rocket is pretty much out of the question. Even if we wanted to drive it out the building, though, that would be impossible – the car is not in working condition. Instead, we hired a car transporter to pick up the Rocket and drive it the twenty-something miles down to DHM. The following videos (filmed by Gretchen) give a sense of what is involved in moving a vehicle of this size and age. In the first video, Roberta and our truck driver roll the Rocket out into the dock and onto a lift. In the second, the three of them (Roberta, driver, and Rocket) ride the lift up to meet the bed of the truck. In the final video, they roll the Rocket onto the truck. As you can see, moving objects (especially ones as large and as complicated as antique cars) is a complex task. With a team of talented professionals, though, and given enough time, we can safely transport objects from space to space and make room for the new and exciting exhibitions to come.

<p><a href=”″>Video 1: The Rocket Starts Rolling</a> from <a href=”″>Cranbrook Kitchen Sink</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

<p><a href=”″>Video 2:The Rocket Rises</a> from <a href=”″>Cranbrook Kitchen Sink</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

<p><a href=”″>Video 3: The Rocket Rolls into Place</a> from <a href=”″>Cranbrook Kitchen Sink</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>


– Shoshana Resnikoff, Collections Fellow

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