The Studebaker car company made a huge impact on South Bend’s past and will forever be part of our city’s narrative. There’s no better way to learn about the company that catapulted South Bend to greatness in the early 20th century and then devastated the city’s economy in the decades after its closure in the 1960s, than visiting the Studebaker National Museum.
The Studebaker National Museum is top-notch. It’s not very big, but it has plenty of exhibits to help visitors and residents learn about the iconic car company as well as the city that it called home. The museum displays Studebakers from the company’s earliest days of only making wagons and carriages to its later years of making high-end cars and army vehicles. For me, some of the highlights of the museum include one of President Lincoln’s carriages and the Muppet Mobile that Fozzie Bear drives in the Muppet Movie. Admission to the museum is $8 for adults.
If you’d really like to learn more about South Bend, pay the extra four dollars and also tour the South Bend History Museum, which is connected to the Studebaker National Museum. The 1.5 hour guided tour of the Oliver Mansion is totally worth it. For a full day of South Bend history tour fun, grab brunch, lunch or dinner at Tippecanoe Place, located in the former Studebaker mansion, stroll the West Washington Neighborhood, and then head over to the Civil Rights Heritage Center.