By Nick Dekker
Posted On: Nov 7, 2022
Who knew that Ohio had such a strong connection to one of the most iconic cars in the country? In Tipp City you can reserve a time to tour the Gale Halderman Mustang Museum, a space dedicated to the history of the Ford Mustang and the culture that's grown up around it.
The museum bears the name of its founder, Gale Halderman, who in 1964 drafted the first design for the now-legendary look of the Mustang. Halderman worked for Ford for 40 years, having a hand in many of its vehicles in the late 20th century.
Over the years, Halderman collected cars and memorabilia, and dedicated a barn on his family's long-time Tipp City farm to storing and showcasing everything. The museum has since grown to multiple modern barns all connected together, and while Halderman passed in 2020, his daughter Karen has taken the reins.
The museum is open by reservation only, so to book a tour you need to reach out through their website. But the museum also hosts a number of public events featuring Mustangs and other vehicles; enthusiasts travel from all across the region to show off their classic cars. Keep an eye on the museum's Facebook page to learn more about these gatherings.
Vehicles in the museum itself sometimes rotate, as a few are on loan from different owners, but at any given time you'll find cars that span the years, so you get a good sense of how the Mustang has changed since its inception in 1964. On our last visit, we spotted 1965 and 1966 Mustangs, plus new models from the late 70s, the 90s, and the 2010s. They even have Model T and Model A Fords!
In addition to the cars, every square inch of wall space is dedicated to memorabilia, from model cars to posters, historic photographs to toys, vintage signs to some of Halderman's pieces from his career at Ford. You could spend hours browsing through it all. Karen also helpfully talks you through important pieces as she takes you through the museum.
On top of that, Halderman was an avid collector of cameras, and one long room near the front of the barn features glass cases filled to overflowing with vintage cameras, recorders, and other equipment. You could spend a day-long visit just in that room!
The nondescript white museum barn is a must-visit for any car aficionado. It offers a fascinating look at automotive history, and how one Ohioan contributed some of the century's most iconic designs.