Ladies and Gentleman, Start You Museum!
The idea of creating an automotive museum in Balboa Park came from Briggs Cunningham, a renowned automobile collector and racer. The idea circulated for many years until an inspired group of local automotive enthusiasts propelled the idea forward. In 1979, the San Diego City Council first considered the issue and in 1980 they gave unanimous approval to the museum and granted a long term lease for one of the historic buildings in the “Jewel of San Diego” – Balboa Park.
After undergoing approximately $1 million in renovations and upgrades, the San Diego Automotive Museum opened in December of 1988. Since then, millions of local auto enthusiasts and tourists from all over the world have visited their world-class collection. Today the museum stands as a living tribute to the automobile and its impact on our culture. At the San Diego Automotive Museum, they strive to be as diverse and inclusive as the vehicles they display. Every race, gender, age, religion, identity, and experience is valued and celebrated there. Everyone is welcome, accepted, and respected. For over thirty years, they have stayed true to their mission; “To tell the story of the social and technological past, present and future of motorized vehicles throughout their collections, exhibitions, and educational programs, and to share our love for vehicles with millions of people.
This past January the San Diego Automotive Museum named Lenny Leszczynski as Executive Director. Lenny brings more than 25 years of non-profit professional experience to the Automotive Museum. His experience also includes more than 15 years of developing, managing and reporting budgets for community programs and over 10 years of fundraising experience. He prides himself on having advanced skills in organizational leadership, program development, fiscal management, fundraising and forging community collaborations.
Lenny has fond childhood memories of playing in Balboa Park and visiting the museums, particularly the Automotive Museum. His love for cars first started when his uncle took him to the Peterson Museum, and he fell in love with a 1964 Chevy Impala; five years later he bought one for himself as his first car. When he is not at the museum in Balboa Park, Lenny can be found at the softball field with his wife and four daughters.
One of Lenny’s goals and a commitment to San Diego is to enhance the guest experience and make the San Diego Automotive Museum the home of all car and motorcycle enthusiasts, particularly the San Diego locals. “I am excited to have the opportunity to build collaborations with fellow San Diegans and maximize the museums fullest potential”, Lenny shared with GB Magazine. “The museum is thrilled to have a new leader and bold vision for expansion,” said Sally Hansen, Executive Assistant at the Automotive Museum. “The staff and board are rallying around Lenny and the promise of a very bright future.”