1941: Parade of Progress. GM takes its story to small-town America.

1936: Parade of Progress. GM Takes its Story to Small-Town America.
In 1936, General Motors took its story of continuous automotive innovation on the road.
The Parade of Progress began as the idea of GM Research Director Charles Kettering. He wanted a way to show industrial research and innovation to the people across the country.
In 1941, General Motors took its story of continuous automotive innovation on the road.
The Parade was originally built around eight streamlined vans, accompanied by all of GM's latest new cars.
A second version of the Parade launched from the 1939 New York World’s Fair.
One of the many innovations included was a huge silver exoskeleton Aerodome tent.
The second version of the Parade featured 26 major exhibits and over 44 vehicles.
Souvenir Program from the Parade of Progress
This program from the Parade of Progress shows the variety of exhibits.
This program from the Parade of Progress shows the variety of exhibits.
With the outbreak of World War II the tour ended: It had visited 251 towns and small cities in North America, reaching more than 12 million people.
This program from the Parade of Progress shows the variety of exhibits.
  • Traveling exhibit showcasing automotive innovation
  • Diorama tracks progress from horses to horsepower
  • Still viewable at Heritage Center
In 1941, General Motors took its story of continuous automotive innovation on the road. The traveling exhibit was appropriately titled Parade of Progress. Its imaginative displays were as creative and timely as the GM cars themselves. The program gave the nation an exciting first-hand glimpse into the automotive industry’s past, present and future.

Featured here is an irresistible crowd favorite from that show. The mechanically animated diorama depicts life in small-town America before and after the advent of the automobile.

The exhibit eventually found its way back to the GM Heritage Center, which it has called home since 2001.