New exhibits unveiled

WILLIAMS – With summer hours now in effect, the Hemken Collection in Williams is introducing two new displays for the season.

Summer hours are Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 5 p.m. or by appointment.

The two new displays include an estate collection of Danbury Mint Classic Cars and a collection of books authored by current and former Hamilton County residents.

The Danbury Mint Classic Cars were donated to the Hemken Collection by JoAnn Gidel and the late Rich Gidel from a collection assembled by George E. Fairweather, Jr.

The Fairweather/Gidel collection includes replicas of cars from the 1950’s and 1960’s. The cars are 1:24 scale and feature factory paint colors, doors and hoods that open as well as wheels that rotate.

The collection of books by Hamilton County and Williams authors features tomes written by Al McCoy, Arvid Huismann, Hal Burton and Mitch Yeager all graduates of the schools of Northeast Hamilton County.

The Williams museum is proud to feature local writers, said Ann Hemken, Hemken Foundation member and trustee of the Hemken Collection. Many of the authors have a direct connection to Williams or the Hemken Collection, she said.

Al McCoy was a fellow classmate at Williams High School, explained Hemken. Now residing in Phoenix, Arizona, he is the renowned “Voice of the Phoenix Suns.”

Arvid Huismann is a Northeast Hamilton County High School graduate, columnist and newspaper veteran. He is the author of two books on Iowa and her people.

Author and scientist Hal Burton worked with the NASA aircraft, missile and space program. He was named to the Apollo Saturn V Roll of Honor.

Mitch Yeager, author of “Alice’s Road”, is a graduate of Northeast Hamilton High School and a former student of Ann Hemken, who taught schools in Kamrar and Blairsburg for 25 years.

The Hemken Collection is located at 202 Main Street in Williams and celebrates its 11th season at its permanent home.

The Hemken Collection is an assortment of unique and antique cars collected by Ann Hemken’s late husband, Daryl.

The car that started it all was a 1914 Model T Roadster, purchased by Daryl Hemken in 1957. While the collection features some older vehicles, the time frame includes cars dating from the 1940 – 1960 era.

Hemken had two criteria in acquiring vehicles for his collection – they had to be unique and they had to be in original condition. So visitors to the Hemken Collection won’t see many Chevrolets, but they will see cars by Nash, Packard, Studebaker and Hudson.

Purchased in 2000, the museum features a 1948 Playboy with a convertible retractable hardtop. Only 97 vehicles were made and the Hemken Collection’s was the 74th model made at the Buffalo, NY factory.

Visitors to the Hemken Collection can experience a user-friendly, self-guided tour of over 60 cars kept in road-worthy condition. Also on display are collections of business signs, petroleum memorabilia, toys, bicycles, a 1940’s era kitchen and a John Deere pedal tractor collection.

The Hemken Collection will also host special events throughout the summer, said Ann Hemken. For Father’s Day, dads can experience a ride in an antique car on June 16.

The museum will also be open following the Williams’ Fourth of July parade until 5 p.m.

In August, the Hemken Collection will host an antique auto road tour. Taking back roads, antique car enthusiasts can enjoy the seldom seen sites of Hamilton County, culminating with a stop at the Sweet Treat homemade ice cream shop in Jewell.

The annual Hemken Collection Antique Fair returns on Sept. 14. The popular event features auctioneer and antique specialist Mike Ryerson who evaluates and provides free appraisals of household items, dishes, furniture and toys from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the musuem at 202 Main in Williams.

In October, the Hemken Collection will conduct classes for auto enthusiasts, said Hemken. The program is currently in development with subject matter and instructors to be announced when the itinerary is complete, she said.