While LeMay - America's Car Museum has gotten a bulk of the press, there is a hidden treasure in Tacoma with even more cars, trucks, and vintage automobiles on display! This treasure is the LeMay Family Collection, located at the Marymount Event Center in Spanaway (about 30 minutes from downtown Tacoma).
This museum is tucked away and lacks a flashy entrance (actually, it can be hard to spot the facility unless you know it's there), but holds up to 500 vehicles spread throughout three buildings, which were at one time part of Marymount Military Academy, a boys' military school. This museum displays and stores vehicles from America's Car Museum as both locations will feature pieces from the LeMay car collection. Visitors can join a tour with a trained docent and not only view the cars, but learn why they're significant.
Even for non-car buffs, this collection is simply impressive and the docents will give it context.
LeMay Car Collection
The LeMay auto collection is the biggest private car collection in the world! In 1997, the collection was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records with a whopping total of 2,700 vehicles, and has gotten as large as 3,500! At the Marymount location, you can expect to see car history illustrated by everything from horse carriages of the 1800s to muscle cars and more. Buses, tanks, fire engines, and more complement the collection of vintage cars.
Today, the collection has over 1,500 vehicles and also includes a great deal of Americana such as dolls and old farm equipment, all of which is on display at Marymount.
Join a Tour
One of the best things about the LeMay museum located in Spanaway is that tours come free with the cost of admission. Especially if you know little or nothing about car history, the tours will take your appreciation and understanding to new levels. These are led by docents who can offer bits of information that can help you notice and appreciate things you likely would not figure out on your own, for instance that windshields once featured rounded edges, what it was like to own a Model-T, or why Harold LeMay loved cars so much.
Tours usually last about two hours and often include a bit of history about the Marymount Academy as well as the cars.
Cool Facts about the Marymount Location
The vehicles on display are housed in three buildings: the Green, White, and Red Buildings. The Green Building is 24,000 square feet and houses about 150 vehicles, mostly cars, with a little bit of everything from turn-of-the-century cars up to the 1990s. The White Building is 32,000 square feet is the newest building at Marymount and showcases over 200 cars, trucks, and unique vehicles such as fire engines. The Red Building was formerly a gymnasium and assembly hall at Marymount Military Academy and holds about 100 vintage cars.
325 152nd Street East
Tacoma, WA 98445