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The Nethercutt Museum & Collection Tour 4/15

Peter Roses | Published on 4/15/2023

The Nethercutt Museum & Collection Tour 4/15

Our day began at the UA Theater for the monthly Healey Meet before heading over to the Nethercutt Museum for the tour. Our Club had not been back to the Nethercutt in 12 years and for many this was their first time to see the Collection of Automobiles, Automobilia, Musical Instruments and the fabulous facility that houses the Collection Our group of over 50+ members and guest were checked-in and headed across the street to the museum. Once there, we were gathered at the Lower Salon. Our tour guide and Curator, Kyle, spoke of the origins of the museum collection by JB and Dorothy Nethercutt and their business which enabled them to assemble the collection. The museum was constructed and opened some 52 years ago in 1971, all financed by the Merle Norman Cosmetic Company which was owned by the Nethercutt’s.


We started at the Lower-Level Salon where numerous classic cars are displayed along with a red 1960 Austin Healey BT7. After 15 minutes of at the Lower Salon’s collection of cars, dolls, engines and automobilia, Kyle lead us up the stairs to the Grand Salon.


In the Grand Salon were Duesenbergs, Cadillacs, Isotta- Fraschini's, Delahayes, Minverass, Renault, Maybachs, and many other American and European built automobiles, including a million-dollar Bugatti. All fine examples of cars from the 1910’s, 1920’s & 1930’s, and all in literally Pebble Beach Concours condition.


From the Grand Salon we were escorted up the stairs to the Mezzanine level which displays metal and crystal hood ornament, known as Mascots, unique brass head lamps, manual phonographs and photos of early Hollywood actresses. At the far end of the floor was a solid silver boat about 5-6 feet in length. Kyle spoke of the origins of the silver art piece, sculpted to depict the origins of California from the Mission era to the present day, at that time1900. The piece was displayed at the Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915.


From the Mezzanine we were led up to the final floor, the Music Room for demonstrations of European and American orchestral music machines, in addition to a Louis XV Style Dining Room with an endless-mirror special effect. This floor displays a world-class collection of automated mechanical instruments including Reproducing Pianos, Nickelodeons, Cylinder & Disc Music Boxes, Orchestrions and the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ.


Kyle operated at least a half dozen orchestral machines combining violins, percussion instruments, piano, brass instruments and pipe organs. The finale was a demonstration of the Wurlitzer Pipe Organ with some 5000 pipes playing the opening score to Star Wars. The volume and sound were overwhelming.


Some of our group ended the day by walking across the street to the Nethercutt Collection Building where another 150 Antique, Vintage, Classic, Brass and Post War automobiles including an Austin Healey 100 M were housed.


If all of this isn’t enough in the back of the Collection Building is a 1937 Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson Locomotive #2839 and is resplendent in its Royal maroon, gold leaf, gloss black and brushed stainless steel livery. Attached to the locomotive is a 1912 Pullman Private Car built for Clara Baldwin Stocker, the eldest Daughter of local Pioneer "Lucky" Baldwin.


A great day and thanks to the staff at the teve Gerow Nethercutt, and to Kyle for his help in making this a day to remember.


Attendees: Greg Aden, Dick Ames, Lon Bender, Mike Biss, Dan Burrola, Larry Bryant, Phil and Nancy Caliva, Amanda Cole and Art Perez, Joe Cristerna, Ron Fine, Don Fisher, Steve Gerow, Charlie Hart, Joerg and Marina Hubl and Alex, John Hummer and Alice Johnson, Chris and Jerry Lockwood, Steve Magoffin, Tim and Joyce McNiff, George and Teresa Merino, Jay and Katie Miller, Larry Netherton, Kirk Preston, Frank Powell, Hema Ratnayake, Peter and Alexandra Roses, Russ Thompson and Joyce Maeda, Paul and Allison VanWig, and 16 other guests.