Martin Betz has been named executive director of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by Automobile Club of Southern California at the Fairplex in Pomona, Calif., it was announced today by the museum’s board of directors.
Betz, a longtime automotive and motorsports enthusiast, has more than 35 years of experience working in the museum and exhibition fields, managing performing arts centers and art museums. Most recently, he was the Principal Consultant/Curator for Single Tree Arts in Redondo Beach, Calif., where he developed exhibitions and strategic partnerships focusing on diversity; oversaw strategic planning and fundraising programs; developed public art commissions and projects for arts organizations and architectural firms; and organized special events for arts and culture organizations.
In his new position, Betz will be responsible for administrative operations and fundraising efforts for the museum, which is located on the grounds of the LA County Fairplex complex, also home to historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. He will also be responsible for the overall management of the museum’s two biggest fundraising events: the Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Ky., and the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion presented by Automobile Club of Southern California at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif.
“The Board of Directors is pleased that the museum will gain the benefit of Martin’s wealth of experience in all facets of managing a successful museum," said Tom McKernan, board chairman. “Great changes are impacting museums and many challenges must be successfully managed. Martin’s leadership, along with a dedicated staff, will help move the museum forward toward a successful future.”
Betz also has served as Cultural Arts Manager for the city of Manhattan Beach, Calif., was the Director of Development and Administration at Heritage Square Museum in Los Angeles; President and CEO of the Hui No’ eau Visual Art Center, Makawao, Maui, Hawaii; Senior Curator/Head of Exhibitions Department at the Long Beach Museum of Art in Long Beach, Calif.
Betz received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art from California State University in Fullerton, Calif., a Master of Fine Arts in Experimental Media and Sculpture from Claremont Graduate University in California, and did post-graduate work in Fresco Painting at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine
“I am thrilled to join the team at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum,” said Betz. “Since my days at Claremont High School, within earshot of the Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, I have been involved in motorsports. I have many interests ranging from European sports cars to ‘70s muscle cars (the favorite being my Lemon Yellow 1971 Buick Skylark Custom), and, of course, drag racing! I look forward to putting my expertise in museums and my passion for motorsports to work and build upon the success of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum.”
Housed in a 28,500-square-foot building on the edge of the historic Los Angeles County Fairplex, the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum’s mission is to celebrate the impact of motorsports on the American culture. The museum collects, preserves, exhibits, and interprets the vehicles, stories, and artifacts that represent America’s affection for, and the influence of, automotive speed and style in all its forms. The museum is the place to view and learn about hot rods, customs, racecars and speed records, and the West Coast’s role as the historic center for the past and present development of hot rodding. Log on to http://nhramuseum.org for more information.