Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Antique Automobile Museum (Elkhorn, RM of Wallace-Woodworth)
As a child, Isaac Clarkson marvelled at the 1909 Hupmobile owned by Matthew Black of Two Creeks. Year later, Clarkson, now a farmer living near Elkhorn, purchased the remains of that very automobile and began its restoration, completing the job in 1946. This was the genesis of an idea for the preservation of a part of Manitoba’s past that would have otherwise ended up on the scrap heap. He collected vehicles and parts, often travelling hundreds of miles to do so, and meticulously restored a growing collection of vehicles to running condition.
Clarkson’s collection would eventually culminate in the province’s first automobile museum. Originally stored at the farm of Marguerite Ablett, he later offered it to the Village of Elkhorn and, in March 1961, the Manitoba Automobile Museum Foundation was established. The museum opened in 1967 and, after Clarkson’s death in 1971, Ablett turned over his entire collection on the condition that it remain in Elkhorn.
The museum collection comprises over 100 vehicles, many from the early period of automobiling around the First World War. Some special features of the museum include:
The museum also has other collections, including license plates, antique weapons, telephones, farm equipment, the Robert Clarke Aboriginal artifacts collection, a pioneer homestead collection, and a one-room schoolhouse for Archie School No. 744, which operated from 1893 to 1969.
A cairn in front of the museum, unveiled for the 100th anniversary of the Rural Municipality of Wallace in July 1984, commemorates the roles of Clarkson and Ablett in preserving some of the automotive history of Manitoba.
The museum is open seasonally, from 1 May to 30 September, daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
For more information, contact the museum at:
Photos & Coordinates
Steel and Grass Roots, 1882-1982: History of Elkhorn by Elkhorn and District Historical Society, 1982, pages 141-142.
We thank George Penner for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 31 August 2020