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Char Lautzenheiser, director of Canton Classic Car Museum, began working in her ideal location more than 26 years ago; however, that wasn't the first time she stepped inside the doors.
The Canton Classic Car Museum was established by the late Marshall Belden, Sr. in 1978. The museum currently exhibits forty-five rare and unusual classic and special interest automobiles. The gorgeous vehicles are complemented by the thousands of pieces of historical memorabilia displayed throughout the museum.
The Canton Classic Car Museum has something for everyone: automobilia, vintage toys, steam engines, movie posters, historic photography, oriental rugs, Meyer's Lake Park and Canton historical displays. The list goes on and on.
As an only child, Lautzenheiser's father was a car guy and she often describes her childhood as the best of both worlds, "I learned about cars from my dad and cooking from my mom."
Cars in general have never not been a part of her life, Lautzenheiser explained. Even when Lautzenheiser took notice to how it affected her relationship with other women, finding that it wasn't normal to have a fascination for such machinery; still, Lautzenheiser can't help it. She just loves cars.
In recent years, the economy issues has placed a decline in traveling. Lautzenheiser has noticed that local tourism is increasing along with larger groups by motor coach.
"Because of all of the economy issues, people are vacationing in their own backyards," Lautzenheiser said. "It's been a blessing to us in the long run, because our local community is noticing us when they didn't as much before."
Above all, she wants people to understand that Canton Classic Car Museum is so much more than great cars.
"There have been times when wives have come with their husbands and waited in the car because they thought all we have is cars," Lautzenheiser said. "I've gone out and brought them in to prove that we are so much more than that. We have history. We have nostalgia. We have antiques, and I think they need to experience that."
When a visitor steps into Canton Classic Car Museum, they have stepped into a collision of different eras. Lautzenheiser said that there is something for everyone, and it's true.
"My favorite aspect of the business is seeing the surprise of people," she said. "You watch them and see them recognize something that brings back a piece of their childhood."
One of her goals for the future is to make the museum more of a hands-on visit, where guests can interact and experience the history in a new aspect.
"It's all in what you make it," Lautzenheiser said. "I have kids that come in here and tell me museums are boring. I tell them that they're boring."
One of the most important fragments of our personalities has been lost over time - Lautzenheiser describes that as our imaginations. In an age where everything is handed to us at our convenience, the next generation isn't challenged to imagine a different time, a different place other than their own.
"There are stories to be told here," Lautzenheiser said. "How incredible is that?"
Canton Classic Car Museum is located at 612 Market Ave. South in Canton. Standard business hours are Sunday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission rates: Adults/$7.50 (18 and up); Seniors (60 and up)/$6; Youth (5-17)/$5; Children (4 and under)/$3. Discount group rates are available. Closed New Years, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The extensive gift shop also has something for everyone including model cars, T-shirts, jackets, puzzles, ties, jewelry and more. The gift shop is open during museum hours. For additional information visit www.cantonclassiccar.org or call 330-455-3603.