Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 144 years

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Antique Automobile Museum (Elkhorn, RM of Wallace-Woodworth)

Link to:
Photos & Coordinates | Sources

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:

  • 1908 Reo, the oldest car in the museum, features a two-cylinder opposed engine with chain drive.
  • 1909 Metz, one of the museum’s rarer models, has a two-cylinder opposed engine with a friction drive, running on three-by-twenty-four inch tires.
  • 1909 Hupmobile, the first automobile restored by Isaac Clarkson
  • 1911 Model T Ford is completed with brass trim and carbide lamps
  • 1913 Case Model 30 is maintained in its original battleship grey colour with peculiar left-hand steering
  • 1913 Russell Knight was originally priced at a princely $5,000
  • 1914 Briscoe has a single headlamp mounted in the centre of the radiator
  • 1916 Overland Hearse Model 83B has an elaborately carved wooden cabin
  • 1916 Saxon Roadster has a four-cylinder engine
  • 1918 Master Truck has a four-cylinder Buda engine setup on solid rubber tires
  • 1921 Oldsmobile has a flathead engine putting out 26 horsepower

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:

Manitoba Automobile Museum
Box 477
Elkhorn, Manitoba R0M 0N0
Telephone: 204-845-2604
Web site:

Photos & Coordinates

Entrance to the Manitoba Antique Auto Museum

Entrance to the Manitoba Antique Auto Museum (July 2019)
Source: George Penner

Manitoba Antique Auto Museum

Manitoba Antique Auto Museum (2010)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Archie School

Archie School (no date) by W. R. Beveridge
Source: Archives of Manitoba, School Inspectors Photographs,
GR8461, A0233, C131-1, page 118.

The former Archie School building, now at the Manitoba Antique Auto Museum

The former Archie School building, now at the Manitoba Antique Auto Museum (May 2013)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

The former St. John’s Anglican Church from Kirkella

The former St. John’s Anglican Church from Kirkella (May 2022)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

A pioneer home moved to the Manitoba Agricultural Museum

A pioneer home moved to the Manitoba Agricultural Museum (May 2022)
Source: Rose Kuzina

A former service station moved to the Manitoba Agricultural Museum

A former service station moved to the Manitoba Agricultural Museum (May 2022)
Source: Rose Kuzina

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.97202, W101.22686
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: St. John’s Anglican Church (Kirkella, RM of Wallace-Woodworth)


A Study of Public School Buildings in Manitoba by David Butterfield, Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 1994, 230 pages.

Steel and Grass Roots, 1882-1982: History of Elkhorn by Elkhorn and District Historical Society, 1982, pages 141-142.

We thank George Penner and Rose Kuzina for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 29 October 2022

Historic Sites of Manitoba

This is a collection of historic sites in Manitoba compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. The information is offered for historical interest only.

Browse lists of:
Museums/Archives | Buildings | Monuments | Cemeteries | Locations | Other

Inclusion in this collection does not confer special status or protection. Official heritage designation may only come from municipal, provincial, or federal governments. Some sites are on private property and permission to visit must be secured from the owner.

Site information is provided by the Manitoba Historical Society as a free public service only for non-commercial purposes.

Send corrections and additions to this page
to the MHS Webmaster at

Search Tips | Suggest an Historic Site | FAQ

Help us keep history alive!

MHS YouTube Channel

Back to top of page

For queries on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

Home  |  Terms & Conditions  |  FAQ  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Donations

© 1998-2023 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.