“It is with heavy hearts that we report Larry Fisher, Executive Director of the NHRA Motorsports Museum, passed away last evening at Loma Linda Medical Center. Fisher began his work with the museum in 2012 and made a host of improvements during his tenure. NHRA, the NHRA Motorsports Museum and the entire racing community extend their deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
A native of Pasadena, Fisher began his working life as a model maker and fabricator of large-scale, steam-powered railroads, including complete restorations of full-scale locomotives. He later moved to the high-performance auto industry, working as a contract designer and fabricator of custom hot rods and professional sportscar racing machines. Intriguingly, he spent six years working as a fabricator and project manager for Walt Disney Imagineering, where he led a develop team in creating environmental graphics for Disneyland’s “Toontown” and Muppet Studios.
In 1992, his career transitioned to the museum and historical sector, as he was first named Director of Exhibitions at the Maritime Museum in Connecticut, then consulted with the Henry Ford Museum and Mystic Seaport, was President & Executive Director of the Barnum Museum, President & CEO of the Circus World Museum, and Executive Director at the Herreshoff Marine Museum.
In September of 2012, he joined the NHRA Motorsports Museum staff, where he was responsible for administrative operations, planning, and fundraising efforts for the museum located on the grounds of the LA County Fairplex complex. Fisher also led the management of the museum’s outreach and fundraising events, including the Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Ky., the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., and the defunct NHRA New England Hot Rod Reunion in Epping, New Hampshire.
Fisher described himself by stating: “I bring an unbounded enthusiasm for the museum profession and the capacity to engage the visitor through stories and experiences that capture the imagination and spark the quest for new knowledge. My goal is to continue to focus my efforts on what I have found to be the most rewarding elements of my career, to utilize my diverse skills and life experience for the creation and operation of places that have the capacity to not only entertain and educate but to change people’s lives.”
Fisher was 59.