Podcast Episodes

Ryan Szklarek describes RV/MH Hall of Fame in Episode 271

Today I am interviewing the vice president of one of the most popular museums in Elkhart, Indiana. It’s a place RVers should visit whenever they pass through the area.

Ryan Szklarek is the executive vice president of the RV/MH Hall of Fame, which chronicles the history of the recreation vehicle and manufactured housing industries, both of which have roots deep in the Elkhart area.

There are a number of top-quality displays at the museum, a library of industry archives, and the Hall of Fame itself, which memorializes the 485 – and counting – men and women who built and transformed both thriving industries.

There have been quite a few changes to the complex itself, especially in terms of expanding the adjacent event center to host rallies and industry meetings.

I’ve been to the Hall of Fame and its adjacent event center multiple times over my career in the RV industry. For an RVer, it certainly is a fun place to visit. You can see how RVs have evolved from very basic trailers hauling equipment and supplies to the multi-slide juggernauts they are today.

More than 40,000 people toured the facility in 2023, which was an all-time record for the museum and 10,000 more visitors than the year before.

The museum is home to more than 60 modern and antique recreation vehicles, including a 1913 Ford Model T travel trailer, which is recognized as the world’s oldest RV. To view them, people walk along a pathway to see how RVs progressed over the years.

People can also walk through the museum to view photos of the nearly 500 people who have been inducted into the hall of fame for their contributions to advancing their respective companies and the industry in general.

The library has close to 35,000 books, magazines and other publications about the RV and manufactured housing industries, including those I had the privilege of editing for several years.

The gift shop offers fun knickknacks, clothing and gift items, as well as some equipment that can help make the RV lifestyle even more fun.

Best of all, as a Harvest Host site, people can spend the night for free by dry camping on 1.1 million square feet of asphalt. All the museum asks is that, if possible, people pay to tour the museum or pick up something from the gift shop.

For more information about the museum and what it contains, visit www.rvmhhalloffame.org. Visiting is truly worth the time.

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That’s all for this week’s show. Next time, I will be speaking with a couple of financial planners who have found rather unique ways to give back to the communities they visit. I’ll have that interview on the next episode of The Workamper Show. Thanks for listening!

Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is a former journalist who covered the recreation vehicle industry since 2009. He started podcasting in 2014 and enjoys interviewing people about ways to live, work and play in their RVs.

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