Kernersville Auto Museum

Community leaders welcomed completion of the new Kernersville Auto Museum on Old Winston Road with a special ribbon cutting on Thursday, April 28.
Kernersville Mayor Dawn Morgan, along with Alderman John Barrow and Town Manager Curtis Swisher, were joined by Forsyth County Board of Commissioners Chair Dave Plyler, Vice Chair Don Martin and Commissioner Ted Kaplan in celebrating the event. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education member Dana Caudill Jones, a lifelong native of Kernersville and former alderman, also attended, as did Kernersville Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Chris Comer and staff.
Built by Jim Taylor, another lifelong resident of Kernersville, the museum is the new home to more than two dozen antique and classic cars, with room for dozens more. Taylor shared the museum’s story with the Kernersville Board of Aldermen during the Board’s Wednesday night, April 27 meeting.
Taylor thanked the mayor and Board of Aldermen for the opportunity to speak about the new auto museum, calling it the “next tourist attraction for the great city of Kernersville.”
“My family moved to the Kernersville area when I was four-years-old to Hopkins Road,” Taylor told those who might not know him personally. “I grew up on a small tobacco farm, which is now known as Timber Trails subdivision, and I have lived here in the Kernersville area my entire life.”
After retiring in 2000 from Piedmont Aviation, which Taylor explained was the parent company of Piedmont Airlines, Taylor began to get involved with the local non-profits in town.
“One of the first things that I was involved with was helping create the Kernersville Foundation,” Taylor noted.
Taylor also said he served with the late Arnold King for 15 years on the EDAC Committee and spent three years as president of the Kernersville Museum. In addition, he has provided financial support to Kernersville non-profits for the last 20 years and established the local Kernersville Cruise-in held on the second Saturday of every month, starting in 2009.
Taylor told the Board that he decided four years ago that he needed to do something to establish an auto museum in Kernersville. For the next two years, Taylor said he tried to find a facility that would accommodate what he wanted to do.
“Unfortunately, I was not able to find a building, so, I did it the hard way,” Taylor said. “I started looking for some property to build a building. The good fortune was that I found property on Old Winston Road, which was an ideal location.”
Taylor said he placed the property under contract in October 2020 and then came before the Board not long after with a request to rezone the property for an auto museum.
“Thank you so kindly in your efforts in helping me do that,” Taylor said.
Taylor started construction on the building in June 2021 and then finished around February of this year, “which was quite a Herculean effort in view of the fact that we were having a lot of difficulty in getting materials,” Taylor noted.
Taylor recognized Town staff with planning and inspections, thanking them for their patience in working with him on what was essentially a “do-it-yourself” job, which allowed him to complete the project in about six months.
Taylor said the Kernersville Auto Museum was incorporated this past March as a non-profit institution and received its 501(c)3 status 30 days later, “which I understand is almost unheard of in this day and time,” he said.
“Presently, we have 17 vehicles in the museum on display, and we hope for many more to come soon,” Taylor said.
According to Taylor, the museum building is 11,000 square-feet, with hopes to be able to house approximately 50 automobiles.
“We plan to start opening the facility on May 6 on a limited schedule,” Taylor continued.
Taylor said the museum will be open two days a week, on Fridays and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“Our vision for the museum is to preserve the history of vintage and antique cars and to display them for the general public viewing. We hope we can educate and inspire a lot of young people with the history of these vehicles and what an important role they played in the development of our nation,” Taylor said. “Many of our young people have never had any exposure to these cars. I can also envision many of the schools taking advantage of coming to the museum and visiting with us on field trip days and things such as that.”
Taylor noted the recent Touch-A-Truck event, sponsored by the Kernersville Kiwanis Club at the John Deere facility on West Mountain Street, where attendees, young and old alike, could get up close and personal with large construction vehicles and more.
“I was there with one of the Model T’s that we have in the museum and I was told we had about 5,000 people, but I think we had about six thousand that came through the Model T,” Taylor joked. “I just about wore the hinges off the door letting them in and out. If they could get to that steering wheel and steer it a little bit and work the choke and levers, and get their picture made by their grandmother or the grandfather, or the mother and dad, they were happy. They were smiling. It thrilled me to be able to do that.”
Taylor said he hopes the museum brings back a lot of memories for seniors in the community.
“Just this past week, I had the pleasure and opportunity to bring a good friend of mine who just celebrated his 100th birthday into the museum, and I wished you could have seen his face light up when he looked at all those cars, and especially the 1921 Model T Depot Hack. He was thrilled with that and he was acquainted with them all. He really was,” Taylor said.
In addition, Taylor said he hopes the museum becomes a venue for displaying family cars in honor of loved ones, both living and those who have passed away.
“I trust these comments will give you a little better insight into what we’re trying to accomplish at the museum,” Taylor told the Board members.
Mayor Pro Tem Bill Apple asked Taylor if the museum would be involved in any joint activities with the classic car groups that display downtown.
“Oh yes. I’m involved very heavily and have been for 20 years with the Old Salem AACA (Antique Auto Club of America) chapter. We have almost 100 members in that chapter, and they’ll be supporting the museum in a very, very big way.”
In order to generate income, Taylor said the museum will charge $250 per month for storing and displaying vehicles. He also said they hope to host some charity events and secure grant funding along the way.
“That’s how we plan to keep it going,” Taylor said. “We have a beautiful facility. It’s paid for, but we need just a little kickstart to get it moving.”
The Kernersville Auto Museum is located at 204 Old Winston Road.

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