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story.lead_photo.caption Helen Wilbers/FULTON SUN Tom Jones, general manager of Auto World Museum in Fulton, stands in front of the "sun car," a solar-powered vehicle created at the University of Missouri. Photo by Helen Wilbers / Fulton Sun.

Seeing a total solar eclipse from one's own backyard can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

That's why local attractions such as Auto World Museum are scrambling to plan special exhibits and events to take advantage of the Aug. 21 eclipse — even if they're not typically astronomy-focused.

"This is the best we could come up with," general manager Tom Jones said with a laugh.
His idea is to focus on two special cars in the collection — a solar-powered vehicle and a car from the long-gone Moon Motor Car Company.

In other words, a sun car and a moon car.

"I tried to pull in local history along with the cars," Jones said.

The "moon car" was manufactured in St. Louis, and the "sun car" was built by a team of engineers at the University of Missouri.

"It's actually Mizzou's second go at it," Jones said.

According to Jones, the Suntiger II was in danger of being thrown away when he snatched it up. It turned out to still have a little life in it, which came as a literal shock to Jones.

He was working on preparing the car for its new home at Auto World when he felt a jolt.

"The (darn) leads hit me in the back of the neck," he said.

The Suntiger now hangs vertically near the entrance of Auto World. Jones said informational videos about both cars will be set up to play at the museum.

The rest of Callaway County is making plans as well, according to Tourism Director Renee Graham.

There will be events at the Art House, Serenity Valley Winery, both colleges in Fulton and more.

"We have the eclipse guides ready," Graham said.

On Aug. 21, the museum will livestream NASA's feed of the big event. Jones is hoping for big crowds.

That is, "if it doesn't rain," he added.

No one knows for sure how many people will come to Callaway County, ground zero for the total eclipse, but thousands could appear.

"I used to date an eclipse chaser," Jones said. "If they even see a hint of rain two or three days out, they skip."

Visit for more about Auto World, and go to to preview other events planned in Callaway County.

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