RE Olds Transportation Museum & Impression 5 Science Center

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Olds Museum Logo

Olds Museum Logo


The RE Olds Transportation Museum features artifacts and documents tracing the history of area transportation from 1883 to the present. Antique vehicles and automotive memorabilia as well as aircraft, bicycles and carriages are displayed. Automobiles exhibited range from the first Oldsmobile, built in 1897 to the first 1966 Toronado off the line. Oldsmobile’s history is highlighted from 1880 to present day, with displays including vintage vehicles, engines, awards, photographs and artifacts. This collection of cars and memorabilia is a tribute to the auto industry.

Impression 5 Science Center is a dynamic, interactive space for families to play, create, and challenge their understanding of science. Our mission is to facilitate learners in scientific exploration through hands-on exhibits and participatory educational programming.

Impression 5 Logo

Impression 5 Logo

The hands-on learning environment of Impression 5 opened in 1972 and has served nearly 3 million visitors over the past 40 years! Since 1982, Impression 5 has been located on Museum Drive in downtown Lansing.

“Impression 5” still refers to the five senses and the way that each sense is engaged during a visit to the Science Center!

The building was originally used as a lumber mill.



Olds' Internal Combustion Engine - 1896

Olds’ Internal Combustion Engine – 1896

Olds Motor Vehicle Co Stock - 1897

Olds Motor Vehicle Co Stock – 1897

Ransom E. Olds was one of the most important American pioneers in the automobile industry. He first produced automobiles in 1897 with the formation of the Olds Motor Company in Lansing. He moved his manufacturing operations to Detroit in 1899, then sold the Olds Motor Company (and the name “Oldsmobile”) in 1904 and returned to Lansing. On September 27, 1904, he formed the Reo Motor Car Company in Lansing and opened up the first building in the area now known as “REO Town” in 1905. He produced the “Reo” (formed from his initials) in the plant from 1905 to 1936. He also produced Reo trucks. In 1957, the firm was purchased by the White Motor Corporation, which then purchased the Diamond T Company, a Chicago truck manufacturer. The two firms were then merged in 1967 to form Diamond Reo Trucks, Inc. The factory eventually became a complex of about fifty buildings with a combined floor space of slightly over two million square feet and covering over 38 acres.


First Assembly Line - 1902

First Assembly Line – 1902


The first production automobile to be built in quantity was the famous Curved Dash Runabout. Olds Motor Works employed 416 employees during 1902 and produced 2,500 automobiles.





Oldsmobile Advertisement - 1903

Oldsmobile Advertisement – 1903


“Nothing to watch but the road” and “The Best Thing on Wheels” were the early advertising slogans of the Olds Motor Works.





Oldsmobile Limousine - 1908

Oldsmobile Limousine – 1908


The 1908 Oldsmobile catalog noted “For winter use or special functions, limousines are rapidly gaining favor among the exclusive set and no expense has been spared to make them acceptable to the most fastidious.” Weather protection was provided by roll-up side curtains. the Lansing Post Office, located on the southwest corner of Capitol and Michigan, is in the background.





REO Advertisement - 1909

REO Advertisement – 1909


This ad features historic milestones and moments in the career of R.E. Olds. In 1909, three reliable REOs were available including a Five-Passenger Touring Car priced at $1,000.  REO automobiles were produced through 1936.





Oldsmobile Special Roadster - 1910

Oldsmobile Special Roadster – 1910


The two-door roadster had a four-cylinder engine, a four-speed transmission, and cost $3,000.





Men Of Olds Truck Dept - 1923

Men Of Olds Truck Dept – 1923







REO Flying Cloud - 1929

REO Flying Cloud – 1929


The REO Flying Cloud was promoted as “the Master” with the 1929 sales catalog featuring ten models for the buyer to consider.  The Standard Coupe was described as “The young business man, the professional man, the woman who shops and can’t wait for her packages to be delivered – these are candidates for a car that keeps the snappy roadster feeling even in a closed model.  Speed – smartness – and comfort against all weather – are combined.”



REO Speed Wagon - 1931

REO Speed Wagon – 1931


REO was not only known for its automobiles but also for its truck production.  This art deco cover features a “ton and a half” platform stake body truck powered wit the famous 6-cylinder Gold Crown engine cast of chrome nickel alloy.