The current April 2002 issue of Collectible Automobile contains an
8-page feature report on Jack Nethercutt's collection of beautifully
restored vintage automobiles. Jack also has a marvellous collection
of equally restored mechanical musical instruments, although these are
not specifically featured in the report.
I've had the privilege and pleasure of visiting his collection in
Sylmar, California, on two occasions following AMICA Conventions in
the area. Both were memorable visits then, which I recollect at the
time was only by appointment. On both visits, his display of
restored automobiles was stunning, but his Stairway to the Stars,
opening out onto his Cloud 99 display of automatic musical
instruments, was breathtaking.
This current story reports that in June, 2000, Jack opened a new
70,000 square foot Nethercutt Museum of Fine Functional Art across
the street from the original Tower of Beauty, which is the building
I visited in the early 1970's. A 40- to 50,000 square foot addition
is due to be opened in the fall of 2002.
The report indicates that this new museum is now open to the public,
admission and parking free, on Tuesday to Saturday from 9:00 AM to
4:30 PM. The separate Nethercutt Collection housed in the original
Tower of Beauty offers free guided tours on Tuesday to Saturday at
10:00 AM and 1:30 PM. The Museum and Collection are located at 15200
Bledsoe St., Sylmar, California 91342. Tour reservations are
required, tel.: 818-367-2251.
The photos in this report are outstanding, illustrating the collection
in both buildings. It appears that the music machine collection is
housed only in the original building where I visited. The new
buildings appear to house only his automobile collection, numbering up
Jack Nethercutt is the owner of Merle Norman Cosmetics, and he has
willed the company to a not-for-profit foundation he established to
maintain and nourish the museum and collection into perpetuity.
When I visited the original collection back in the early 1970's I was
fortunate to acquire a signed copy of his book, "San Sylmar", yet
another wonderful coffee table book that should be in the home of every
collector of automatic musical instruments. I would expect an updated
edition of this book is still available, if not from the museum itself,
possibly through any Merle Norman Cosmetics retail store.
Within the report, there is no mention of a web site specifically for
the Nethercutt Museum and Collection, although a web search under
"Nethercutt museum" turned up numerous links from other fine sites.
This issue of Collectible Automobile just hit my local newsstand today.
I imagine likewise throughout most of North America, with copies
available elsewhere in the world through selected newsstands.
Winnipeg, MB, Canada