The industrial heritage attraction known as AutoWorld, which opened in downtown Flint in July 1984, was intended to lure businesses and tourists to a struggling city. Yet just six months after opening, AutoWorld closed. This essay explores AutoWorld’s creation, its exhibits, and why audiences rejected it. I argue that this “half museum” and “half theme park” prioritized the auto industry’s agenda and white suburbanites over the needs of Flint residents. In doing so, I trace the connections between AutoWorld and the Flint Water Crisis, the origins of which are partially rooted in the subsidization of the auto industry’s expansion to the Flint suburbs. Because of misguided planning initiatives like AutoWorld, as well as the criminal enabling of the water crisis, the foundation of trust between Flint residents and those who operate the city’s institutions has been severely weakened.

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