Auction Helps Keep Auburn Museums Open

By Stephanie Parkinson

September 2, 2012 Updated Sep 3, 2012 at 8:46 AM EDT

Auburn, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - An auction sale helps the struggling Dean V. Kruse Foundation pay down its debt. Sunday a new building this has been sitting empty on the foundation’s museum complex was sold for $995,000.

The buyer of the former Granatelli Hall of Fame building is a man from South Dakota. He plans to turn the building into a place to display his classic car and memorabilia collection. He also plans to sell cars at the same location to generate revenue.

"Right now we've got about 17, 18 cars that we've got, we call collector cars. We've got a lot of memorabilia and so we're really looking for a place to hang the memorabilia, like pictures and things like that. And then having cars on display, people like to be able to see, come take a look at them, appreciate. So the museum is kind of the theme there but also have them for sale so we can generate some revenue that way," said Dewayne Keiper, buyer.

Keiper says he’s considered a lot of different areas but was drawn to Auburn for many reasons.

"The location, it's really got a car feel that carries the whole theme with what I'm doing. There's a lot of synergies I think can be created with the museum, there's 9 museums in the area so I think that will work out really well," said Keiper.

The sale brings The Dean Kruse Foundation’s debt down from $2.9 million to just under $2 million. The sale is part of an agreement with Farmers State Bank of LaGrange to keep the Kruse Foundation’s museums open, including the National Military History Center in Auburn.

The Kruse Foundation still has to come up with another 2 million dollars. They plan to have another auction November 24 where they will sell WWII memorabilia from the military center.

The man behind the foundation is former auctioneer Dean Kruse. Kruse is still trying to recover after numerous lawsuits were filed against him in recent years and legal troubles shut down his business in 2010.

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