Northern Indiana is home to more than 60% of the world’s top RV manufacturers, so it makes perfect sense that this is where you would find the RV/MH Hall of Fame! Rich in RV manufacturing and history, the area is home to Coachmen Industries, Jayco Inc., Keystone RV Company, Forest River Inc., Dynamax Corporation, and many others. It’s also the home of the beautiful RV/MH Hall of Fame, where you can tour historical RVs that date back over a century and learn about the history of the RV industry. Voted a TripAdvisor Top Attraction in Elkhart, IN, in 2014, and winning a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2016, the RV/MH Hall of Fame is a great way to spend half of a day. Let’s check out the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN, for a peek inside the fun and ever-evolving world of RVing!
History of the Hall of Fame
This non-profit attraction strives to preserve the history and honor of the individuals who have made contributions to the RV and manufactured housing industry. In an effort to create “affordable housing,” they designed a wide variety of comfortable, accommodating homes that have changed and evolved over time. The volunteer-run RV/MH Hall of Fame, which began in 1972 as the RV/MH Heritage Foundation, now houses the Northern Indiana Event Center as well, which helps to fund the Hall of Fame. With over 400 members who are industry leaders proudly displayed on the “Wall of Fame,” it’s obvious that there’s a solid, unwavering interest in seeing that this industry continues to strive. Over the past four years, the Foundation has been able to greatly reduce its debt and make strides in improving its financial stability thanks to donations by generous companies and individuals, possibly paving the way for expansion on a 40-acre site.
The main attraction at the RV/MH Hall of Fame is undoubtedly the museum. Step back in time and tour RV models that date back into the early 1900s! As you meander down the curving roadway inside the museum, you’ll see what RVs from around the turn of the century looked like. Each one is complemented with an informational plaque so you can learn about the history of each one as well. Did you know that RV slide outs were invented in 1915? You’ll see a 1915 vintage RV built on the back of a Model T Ford roadster that includes multiple slide outs. Or feast your eyes on an aerodynamic Airstream-like “Housecar” built by Hollywood cinematographer Roy Hunt in 1937. Taking a cue from 19th century settlers who ventured west across the plains, there’s a Conestoga covered wagon-style trailer from 1929. Or see the only 10’-long, fully equipped Airstream ever made! Almost every RV manufacturer is represented with a throwback RV that showcases their design of earlier days. The museum allows you to immerse yourself in the roots of the RV industry, and you’ll get a kick out of seeing how our much-loved travel trailers got their start.
Also onsite at the RV/MH Hall of Fame is a large library that is often used by industry writers and historians when researching the history of RVing or a certain model. Owners of vintage RVs can also use the resources in the library to learn more about their prized trailers. With periodicals that date back to the 1930s to present, there’s a wealth of information here for anyone interested in learning more about this ever-changing industry. The RV/MH Hall of Fame library is the only library that is dedicated to the archives of the RV industry.
Hall of Fame
Take a walk through the Hall of Fame and surround yourself with the people who made the RV industry what it is today. This elite group includes over 400 people who have helped shape and grow an industry that continues to gain popularity and see sales increase with younger generations.
Take home a souvenir of your trip to the RV/MH Hall of Fame! Visit the Gift Shop in the museum to find fun T-shirts, hats, beverage tumblers, small-scale model RV toys, and much more. Gift shop sales help support the museum.
The RV/MH Hall of Fame is open Monday-Saturday during the winter and 7 days a week during the summer. There is overnight RV parking available at the facility for the night before and after your visit to the museum, but there aren’t any hookups. If you desire hookups or need to stay for longer, there are plenty of campgrounds in the area. The facility also now allows visitors to bring their pets in to enjoy the museum as well, but they must be contained in a pet stroller, bag, or be carried. The cost to visit the RV/MH Hall of Fame is as follows:
- Regular Admission: $10
- Groups of 14 or more: $7
- Seniors: $8
- Family Special: $28 (parents with dependents under 18)
- Kids (6-16 years old): $7
A visit to Elkhart’s RV/MH Hall of Fame is fun for the whole family, and you’ll be helping to support an industry that puts outdoor adventure right at our fingertips! Have you been here before? If so, tell us about your experience in our comments!