The Museum has one of the most important collections of racing and passenger vehicles in the world.
We are pleased to share them with you.
Our vision is that motor racing will be a revered aspect of our American heritage and a valued part of family culture for generations to come.
Our mission is to celebrate more than a century of the innovation, thrill, and adventure of motor racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway®.
We are working hard to fulfill our vision and mission. If you’d like to know how you can help, just ask our staff for more information about careers, volunteering, and donations.
The Museum’s origin is generally attributed to an idea conceived by Anton Hulman Jr. (the Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner) as early as 1947, which likely was refined over the next eight years in discussions among Karl Kizer (owner of Century Tire Co. and the Museum’s first curator), Hulman, and Wilbur Shaw (three-time winning driver) on their various hunting trips in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Reportedly, Kizer offered to donate Fred Frame’s 1932 winning car, which had come into his possession. He also reported that the winning cars from 1911 and 1912, plus Shaw’s victorious Maserati of 1939 and 1940, were readily available. Shaw’s death in October 1954 is often cited as the instigating factor in getting the plans for the museum under way.
Another reporting of the Museum’s origins recounts that an increase in the public stature of the Indianapolis 500 mile race and a series of major improvements made at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Speedway) in the late 1940s and early 1950s led the press and members of the racing fraternity to urge Hulman to create a museum for automobile racing. While this industry pressure may have occurred, it is clear that the idea for a museum preceded such pressure by a number of years.
In 1955, Hulman started construction on a new office building at the main entrance of the Speedway grounds. Located in the building’s east wing, the museum opened in 1956.
Initially, the Museum was referred to as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, the Speedway Museum, or often simply as the Museum. In the mid-1960s, it was renamed the Hall of Fame Museum and it is also referred to as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.
The Auto Racing Hall of Fame
In 1952, members of the Contest Board of the American Automobile Association (AAA) established the Auto Racing Hall of Fame (“Hall of Fame”) in cooperation with officials of The Henry Ford (then known as the Henry Ford Museum). Operations were suspended after the 1954 class was inducted with AAA’s withdrawal from racing. Dormant for the next eight years, the Hall of Fame was relocated to Indianapolis in 1962, under the administration of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation Inc. (“Foundation”). A report prepared in 1963 (author unknown) recounted that the relocation was spurred by the inquiries of visitors to the Museum, who expressed regret that the Hall of Fame had ceased to operate. Members of the racing fraternity and media from across the United States urged aggressive action to revive the Hall of Fame. The task fell to the Foundation, which agreed in 1961 to explore the possibilities. The AAA quickly cleared the way for the Foundation to negotiate directly with officials from the Henry Ford Museum, who held the official records of the Hall of Fame. Within a reasonably short time period the Henry Ford Museum sent all records to the Foundation.
The Foundation developed a plan of operation for the Hall of Fame, appointing a selection committee of 100 people from among the Foundation’s Board of Directors; all living members of the Hall of Fame; drivers, mechanics, and race officials from all eras of racing; media representatives; race historians; and representatives of accessory companies.
To date, 150 individuals have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation, Inc. (the Foundation) was organized in 1957 as a private foundation to administer the business of the Museum. Its initial Board of Directors consisted of J.R. Cloutier, Mrs. August Duesenberg, Anton Hulman, Jr., Karl Kizer, and Louis Schwitzer, Sr..
In 2006, the Foundation applied to the Internal Revenue Service to become a publicly supported charity. After meeting the public support test for the mandatory five years, the Foundation was notified that it had become a publicly supported charity as of January 1, 2006. The Foundation is a nonprofit organization recognized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended. Donations to the Foundation qualify for charitable deductions to the extent permitted by law and by the donor’s personal income tax circumstances.
The Foundation is required to file a Form 990 Tax Return for Charitable Organization.