On March 16, 2020, the World of Speed Museum in Wilsonville, Oregon, temporarily closed as coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders from local and federal governments were set into motion. Unfortunately, the “temporarily” qualifier has now been removed. A statement posted to the World of Speed website notified fans that the museum is permanently closed.
Just south of Portland, Dave and Sally Bany opened the World of Speed facility in the spring of 2015. Focused on everything surrounding racing and motorsport culture, the museum featured cars, boats, and motorcycles from drag racing, road racing, land-speed racing, open-wheel racing, NASCAR and hydroplane racing. It is self-described as an educational motorsports museum, and the entire purpose was to provide people with a fun, interactive, and wholesome place to learn about what it means and what it takes to go fast. The museum also coordinated school visits and offered both a curriculum library, as well as a technical automotive learning center where high school students could learn the craft of cars.
From now on, those students will have to look elsewhere to feed their gasoline curiosities. For the museum, it was simply not financially viable to wait possibly until next year to reopen.
“Under the Oregon Health Authority’s current guidelines, the museum would fall into Phase Two or Phase Three of the state’s reopening plan, potentially pushing reopening into 2021,” the museum’s statement said. “Many of our guests, volunteers, students and docents fall into the category of most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, which means efforts to keep everyone safe could push reopening further, even after OHA restrictions are lifted. After much deliberation, our board determined it would be unable to maintain the facility during such an extended closure.”
The assets within the museum will find good homes. The historic vehicles will be “distributed to 501(c)(3) museums and schools during the next 3-8 months.
“We are forever grateful to our dedicated employees, volunteers, donors, members and visitors who helped make World of Speed such a success during the past five years,” the statement said. “It was an incredible run.”