Collections Management

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is operated by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation – a public 501 (c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization governed by a board of directors. The Foundation owns and is the steward of the Museum’s vast collection of rare, often one-of-a-kind vehicles and artifacts. Along with the IMS Museum staff, the Foundation board assures the Museum’s collection and activities fulfill its mission statement: “To Celebrate More Than 100 Years of The Innovation, Thrill, and Adventure of Motor Racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

To adhere to our mission, the IMS Foundation board and museum staff work diligently to preserve and protect the collection and to see that its scope is consistent with our goal to share the rich history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and its world-class events – particularly the Indianapolis 500 – as well as Indiana’s fascinating automotive history, which is directly tied to IMS. Given IMS’s standing as “The Racing Capital of the World,” our collection also includes vehicles and items which reflect the history of motor racing on a global scale, so our collection also includes historically-significant items with international appeal.

Scope of Collection

Learn more about our collection policies by reading our “Statement of Scope of General Collection.”

In order to remain healthy and successful as an organization, museums must not only carefully catalog, but also periodically evaluate the content of their collections. They must also establish strategic plans for future acquisitions so that the organization’s limited resources are used wisely to enhance and care for the collection.

The IMS Foundation Board of Directors and IMS Museum staff have worked diligently to establish the necessary protocols for effective management of our collection, in order to fulfill our mission. Our policies are in place to ensure our collection best reflects our mission and to maintain sound fiscal practices to keep the museum poised for further growth. When undertaking the deaccessioning of items that do not further our mission, these policies encourage transparency and adherence to best-practices.

The IMS Foundation board approved the Museum’s “Statement of Scope of General Collection” in 2018, and amended it in October 2019. To better understand the Museum’s practices for evaluating future donations and acquisitions, feel free to download this document by clicking here.

Press Release: IMS Museum Strategic Deaccessioning of Select Vehicles

After a multi-year evaluation of the IMS Museum’s vehicle collection, the IMS Foundation, which is the public nonprofit, 501(c)(3) entity that owns the collection and operates the Museum, has elected to deaccession and sell, via public auction, a select group of vehicles that do not reflect the Museum’s purpose nor help us tell the story of IMS, the Indy 500 or Indiana’s automotive heritage. A press release, which can be read by clicking here, further explains the process. As a reminder, no Indianapolis 500-winning cars or high-value, historically-significant cars from the global motorsports stage are part of the sale.

Questions & Answers: Learn more about the IMS Foundation’s deaccession and public sale of select vehicles

We understand that the term ‘deaccession’ can raise concerns among museum supporters and the general public. To help you better understand the purpose and strategic, limited scope of the IMS Foundation’s deaccession and public sale of select vehicles in the IMS Museum collection, we’ve prepared a Q&A document that can be read by clicking here. We thank you for your ongoing support of the IMS Museum and our mission to preserve and share the rich history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and its events, particularly the Indianapolis 500, as well as Indiana’s automotive heritage.