Located in Williams is The Hemken Collection, a non-profit museum with more than 60 automobiles from the teens to the 1960’s on display and with an emphasis on postwar convertibles from the late 1940’s. Emphasis is also on “Orphan cars” – those no longer manufactured – such as Studebaker, Hudson, Packard, Nash, and Playboy. Also on display are a wide variety of auto-related memorabilia, toys, models, bicycles and a 1940’s kitchen. The Collection focuses on conservation rather than restoration. Most of the automobiles are preserved in good condition maintaining their originality for future generations.
The car collection was assembled by Daryl Hemken over a period of nearly 50 years, beginning in the 1950’s. Daryl especially liked to collect convertibles, phaetons and touring cars; generally any cars in which the top goes down. The first old car that Daryl purchased is the 1914 Ford Model T roadster with very low mileage that sat on blocks in a railroad shed for more than 30 years before Daryl purchased it. Unrestored and totally original, today this car still has been driven less than 1000 miles.
The museum is nearly 20 years old, although Daryl was showing his cars to visitors in the 1960’s and 1970’s when they were scattered all over town and in farm sheds and barns. The museum is housed in a historic 1901 building, originally built by JP Talcott to serve as a carriage and implement dealership, and a modern steel and concrete addition that was built in 2001. It’s nice to have the museum-worthy cars now all in one place.