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MotorCities National Heritage Area is an affiliate of the National Park Service dedicated to preserving, interpreting and promoting the automotive and labor heritage of the State of Michigan. There are hundreds of auto- and labor-related sites and events within the heritage area. They include museums, historic homes and factories, archives, restaurants, shopping, arts and entertainment venues, and car shows and clubs.


  • MotorCities National Heritage Area
  • "Find Your Road Trip" auto-tourism guide
  • One of the 230 wayside signs within the heritage area
  • Educational wayside sign
  • Car at an Autopalooza event, a statewide summer auto-tourism initiative

The National Park Service has designated 49 National Heritage Areas, which are unique areas that tell a story about a significant point in the U.S.’s history. The MotorCities National Heritage Area (MNHA) was established on November 6, 1998. MNHA links historic sites affiliated with the development of the automobile and the auto industry in Michigan. It spans across 10,000 square miles and 16 counties in Southeastern and Central Michigan. MNHA contains 1,200 sites, the largest concentration of auto-related sites in the world. It generates more than $410 million in economic impacts and supports over 4,500 jobs.1

Various education, tourism, and preservation programs are put on by MNHA and its affiliates. 230 wayside exhibit panels with information and photos mark sites of historical significance. There are self-guided driving tours published in the annual booklet "Find Your Road Trip," as well as online tours along the Detroit River and Rouge River. The MNHA webpage has interactive maps and resources to point visitors to historic sites and events going on in their area. Events include a lecture series, Michigan Auto Heritage Day, and Autopalooza, an auto heritage tourism initiative to collaborate and cross-promote auto events around Michigan in the summer months. The “Forward Gear Yesteryear” program encourages young people to go into engineering fields of study while providing tours of auto factories. “Making Tracks” is a project aimed at telling the story of African-Americans who playing an important role in the auto industry. The MotorCities Ambassador program recruits volunteers inform the public about the mission of MNHA and organize events in their local areas such as festivals and car cruises. Finally, MNHA also has a grant program for projects to revitalize or preserve sites that are important to the auto or labor history of the area.2


1. Kreipke, Robert. "Resolution by the Board of Directors, MotorCities National Heritage Area Partnership, Inc." Michigan Historic Preservation Network. Published February 18, 2016. Accessed June 8, 2016. http://www.mhpn.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/MotorCities_Preservation_Resolution_02.18.2016.pdf 2. MotorCities National Heritage Area Official Website. Accessed June 8, 2016. http://www.motorcities.org/index.html
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