Mack Trucks Historical Museum Marks 40th Anniversary

Mack Trucks have been shaping the world for almost 125 years. For the last 40 years, the Mack Trucks Historical Museum has chronicled and curated the impact that Mack Trucks has had on society and the trucking industry.

The Mack Museum has undergone several incarnations since its incorporation in 1984.Today, the 15,000-square-foot museum located within the Mack Experience Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in what used to be Mack's Engineering, Design, Development and Test Center. Around 10,000 visitors come through its doors every year from all over the world. While visitors are drawn to the vintage trucks and motorized Mack history, there is a lot more to the museum than old-school engines and shiny chrome. The Mack Museum is a repository housing over 40 million pages of records that detail Mack's storied past and chronicle its journey as a leader in the development of the modern American truck.

Mike Werth leads a tour at the Mack Museum

Doug Maney is the museum curator and lead caretaker of the Mack legacy. He, his staff, and group of dedicated volunteers are responsible for not only the trucks and the thousands of other items which make up the collection, but also answering the 1500-plus Mack-themed requests that come to the museum each year. Maney says the museum gets requests for information from dealers servicing older trucks still in operation. Or perhaps a hobbyist is restoring a truck and has a question about some obscure parts long out of stock.

"We want to share our history and how important Mack trucks have been to the function of the world," Maney says. His job is the definition of variety, and his tasks go beyond the typical curation of collections.

"I meet curators from other museums, and they don't have a lot of the responsibilities that I have," Maney says, which include crank starting a 1909 vintage bus, checking valves in aging engines, and inspecting gaskets in trucks that mostly disappeared from the road 50 years ago.

There are 40 vehicles in the museum and all of them run. The oldest is a 1909 Mack bus that once took tourists on leisurely tours seasonally in Chicago and New Orleans. “It is very much like driving an early farm tractor,” Maney says of driving the vintage bus with foot and handle throttles and a chain drive.

While his role includes working on the trucks in the collection, he also performs typical curator duties, like "making sure we are preserving materials in the appropriate way," which includes cataloging and preserving photographs, drawings, and films that all capture the Mack mission. There are always boxes of microfilm, drawings, posters, or old emblems donated to the museum. Maney and his staff carefully go through them and determine what is kept, how to preserve the items, where to store them, and how to catalog them.


The museum is a magnet for school groups, where kids ooh and ahh over Megatron, the 2006 Mack Granite military truck that was converted to portray Megatron's vehicle form in the third installment of Transformers, Dark of the Moon, which was released in 2011. They also love the 20-foot-tall Bulldog mascot that used to keep watch over Mack's former headquarters in Allentown. The fabulously rich trove of Mack memorabilia and ephemera that makes up the rest of the collection entertains many other visitors of all ages.

Matt Landis keeps a vintage Mack fire truck in running trim


Maurice Oppe, formerly of Mack International and retired from Mack Defense (a subsidiary of Mack Trucks), is President of the museum. He has nearly half a century with Mack and Renault Trucks, both around the world and in Allentown. Oppe says the museum has three primary functions.

First, he says, are the trucks.

"You need the collection of trucks; that is what attracts people to visit the museum," Oppe says. Second, he says the museum has a less glamorous but equally important function: archiving. "We have a lot of documents, but if you don't know what you have and where it is, it has no value, so we have to preserve and organize."

The third function of the museum is to answer information requests from Mack fans and others, using that archive as the source material.

Oppe says that as the museum looks towards the future, it will continue its mission as a repository for all things Mack, for all those who need Mack-specific information. They also want to attract more visitors and grow, so that more trucks can be displayed, and exhibits can be rotated to keep things fresh.

"The more people who come, the more people you can enlighten," Oppe says. The museum is a non-profit organization, so donations are accepted and are indeed vital to keeping the museum functioning.

Stephen Robson looks up specs on microfiche to answer an inquiry.

Meanwhile, Maney will keep curating all things Mack. He says he doesn't have anything special planned for the big anniversary yet, but they'll tip the hat to 40 years at the Mack Trucktoberfest this October. The museum has also built its social media presence through Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Each month, a "Truck of the Month" is showcased in a posted video.

With 40 years in its rear-view mirror, not to mention 124 for Mack Trucks, there is a big future for the Mack Trucks Historical Museum as it celebrates the Mack brand's contribution to the world.



Where: 2402 Lehigh Parkway South, Allentown, PA 18103. Detailed directions are included on

Contact: 610-351-8999

Hours: Tours are by reservation, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Tours times are 9:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.

Book a tour at or make a donation to contribute to the efforts to preserve the history of Mack trucks and their impact on the world.

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