His3813 - Daigle - The Canadian Automobile Experience
The automobile was first invented in the late 19th century, one of many technical innovations that resulted from the Industrial Revolution of the preceding 150 years. This marks a dramatic shift from a dependence on horse or donkey-drawn carriages to motorized vehicles. Despite their increasing affordability and commonality over the next century, automobiles remained within the realm of the upper class as luxuries and collectors' items. As the rarity of antique and classic cars has increased over the years, so has their desirability for collectors and as artifacts for historians. Museum exhibits such as those available through the Musée McCord Online make these artifacts more accessible to a public that could not otherwise afford to own or view these vehicles. The images stored on the internet serve as a substitute for the physical artifacts they represent for those without the means to travel to a museum (such as the Henry Ford Museum) to view them, or who lack the financial ability to establish their own collection (there are many wealthy collectors such as comedian Jay Leno). The internet images thus become representative of the 20th century shift in the development of the museum, paralleling the change from closets of curiosity and private collections to museums and exhibits that are open for public access.