MotorCities National Heritage Area logo

The annual MotorCities National Heritage Area Awards of Excellence recognize organizations and individuals who have delivered oustanding projects in the areas of auto or labor heritage tourism, education/interpretation and revitalization. In our 25th year, the organization is calling for nomination from all projects from 1998-present. Past receipients are eligible to receive this special anniversary edition of the award.  

The finalists for our 25th Anniversary Awards of Excellence are: 

In the Heritage Tourism category, the finalists are:

  • Lloyd & Judy Ganton, the operators of Ye Ole Carriage Shop in Spring Arbor;
  • Russell Brothers City Tours for their interactive tours of Detroit;
  • and Wheelhouse Detroit for their Detroit Auto Heritage Bicycle Tour. 

In the Interpretation/Education category, the finalists are:

  • The Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn for their Achievement series of exhibits about African Americans in the automotive industry.
  • Russ Dore’ of Dore’ Productions in Northville for his interactive historical presentations that bring early automotive pioneers to life;
  • and the Historical Society of Greater Lansing for the I-496 Pave the Way Project. 

In the Revitalization category, the finalists are:

  • The Ford Piquette Plant Museum in Detroit for their first floor restoration;
  • M1 Concourse in Pontiac for their work transforming a former General Motors industrial site into a road racing course and event space for auto enthusiasts;
  • and the Packard Proving Grounds in Shelby Township for their work preserving the site.       

The winners in each of these three categories will be announced at MotorCities' 25th Anniversary Gala on Wednesday, November 8 at Ford House. 


Bill ChapinAlso, the recipient of MotorCities Milestone Award, which will also be presented at the Gala, is William R. "Bill" Chapin (pictured). Some Michigan natives can say that the auto industry is in their blood, but for Bill Chapin there is no denying the lineage from his Grandfather Roy Chapin Sr. (a co-founder of the Hudson Motor Co.), his father Roy Chapin Jr. (past CEO of American Motors) to forgin g his own legacy, mostly in automotive marketing. Bill was just finishing up work on the launch of the "Motor City" exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum in the mid-1990s when he realized that the stories told there were relevant to today. Namely, the stories of industry leaders and rank and file workers were all there to inspire generations to come. Around the same time, he became aware of the efforts to create a National Heritage Area centered on the automotive and labor history of the region. Chapin was there when the bill was signed by President Clinton in 1998. He signed the articles of incorporation, served as board chair and continues as a member of MotorCities' Leadership Council. Finally, between 2010 and 2017, Chapin served as President of the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn.





The annual Milesone Award recipient for 2021 is Congresswoman Debbie Dingell.
The winners of MotorCities 8th annual Awards of Excellence are the following:
In the Heritage Tourism category -
  • Edsel and Eleanor Ford House for the recently opened Ford House Visitors Center (pictured below).
Ford House new visitors center
In the Interpretation/Education category -
  • Detroit Historical Museum for their "Body By Fisher" exhibit (pictured below).
Detroit Historical Museum Body by Fisher exhibit RESIZED 
In the Revitalization category -
  • Fort-Rouge Gateway Partnership for the Fort Street Bridge Interpretive Park.
 Ribbon Cutting RESIZEDThe ribbon cutting at the Fort Street Bridge Interpretive Park in October 2020
The winners were announced during MotorCities' 8th annual Michigan Auto Heritage Day on November 17 at the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing.

 Awards of Excellence Winners 2021 RESIZEDRepresentatives from the Winners of the MotorCities 2021 Awards of Excellence: from left to right, Bill Pringle, Assistant Curator, Detroit Historical Society, who accepted the award in the education & interpretation category for the Detroit Historical Museum’s recently opened “Body by Fisher” exhibit; the R.E. Olds “Big Head,” since the event was hosted at the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing; Clare Pfeiffer, Director of Communications & Engagement, Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, who accepted the award in the heritage tourism category for the attraction’s new visitors center; and Dr. Paul Draus, Professor Sociology, University of Michigan-Dearborn and a member of Fort-Rouge Gateway (FRoG) Partnership, who accepted the award in the revitalization category for the building and opening of the Fort Street Bridge Interpretive Park in southwest Detroit.