A must visit for any RVer is the RV Hall of Fame in the RV Capital of the World, Elkhart, IN.
We're in Elkhart this week hosting a rally we called the Elkhart Encounter and are camping right on the grounds of the museum. Our group of about 150 are touring the museum, attending RV maintenance seminars, enjoying food trucks, pot luck dinners, a catered meal, private tours of the production lines of our main sponsor, Keystone RV, and an RV driving school taught by Cortney Armstrong, aka the Flipping Nomad.
We decided to do this Episode 405 of the RV podcast from the RV Hall of Fame and to interview Darryl Searer, the president.
To watch the video version of the podcast featuring shots of some of the main exhibits, click the player below.
You can listen to an audio-only version of the podcast via your favorite podcast app or by clicking the player below.
The RV/MH Hall of Fame
The museum's official name is the RV/MH Hall of Fame. Most people think the MH in the name means Motor Home. But it really means Manufactured Housing.
The two industries are intertwined and both are headquartered in Elkhart. They started together and eventually devised into two distinct branches.
“Our mission is to recognize, preserve, and honor the history, pioneers, and individuals who have been instrumental in making the Recreational Vehicle and Manufactured Housing industries what they are today,” explained Searer as we sat down in his office for the interview.
“In the 1940s, when soldiers were coming home from WWII, they were in need of immediate housing. The RV industry saw this as a business opportunity and started building larger units that were to be used as stationary housing rather than travel trailers,” he explained.
“Mobile home parks and campgrounds were soon set up to accommodate the housing needs. Trailers such as the 1939 Schult Nomad Travel Trailer featured in our museum were lined up in rows similar to currently manufactured housing communities. After that, the RV industry advanced in two directions – one branching into fancier RVs for travel such as units with an interior kitchen and restroom, and the other becoming the manufactured housing industry we know today.”
Jennifer and I have visited the RV Hall of Fame museum several times now, and we find it takes about an hour and a half to go through,
BONUS: Click below to see a complete guided tour we did with Darryl Searer on a previous visit:
We also did a more detailed blog post on that tour of the RV/MH Hall of Fame museum.
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RV Hall of Fame Hours
The RV/MH Hall of Fame & Museum has varying hours depending on the season. Summer hours (April 1 – October 31) are Monday – Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Winter hours (November 1 – March 31) are Monday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. All times are referring to Eastern Time.
Tickets can be purchased in the gift shop at the front desk.
Adults – $15
Children (6-16) – $10
Children (5 and under) – Free
Some of our favorite exhibits at the RV Hall of Fame
Most units are open and available for you to have an immersible experience. However, there are a number of units that are blocked off with yellow rope. Due to the age, rarity, and fragility of certain units, we ask that you do not enter the units that are roped off.
Our favorite is the 1916 Model T Ford and camping trailer that Henry Ford and Thomas Edison used. The Ford was the first motorhome and actually has three slideouts.
The bed area in the back pulls out for length, a slide-out kitchen on the driver's side and a storage box with drawers is on the passenger's side.
Jennifer likes the 1946 teardrop pull-behind trailer.
And then there's the Mae West dressingroom/portable RV that Hollywood built for the fabled female movie star.
Have you visited the RV Hall of Fame?
What were your favorite exhibits? Let us know in the comments or on our social posts.