Harley-Davidson Museum. What To Expect

Expected to draw 350,000 visitors a year, the museum will be one of Milwaukee’s biggest tourist attractions, much like Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Atlanta’s Coca-Cola Museum. For years, Harley-Davidson’s archives were kept fairly secret and shrouded in mystery company. That will change dramatically next summer when the motorcycle maker opens its 130,000-square-foot museum complex. Harley’s vast archives include motorcycles, clothing, photos, posters, promotional materials and magazines. There’s a trading card featuring Elvis Presley on a Harley, 1931 Harley, watch fobs and a 1980s black-powder pistol with the Harley name emblazoned on the side of the barrel. The motorcycle collection includes one bike from each of Harley’s 105 years. It also includes some Harley bicycles, made from 1917 to 1923, as well as snowmobiles and golf carts the company made years ago. The clothing collection includes kidney belts, which riders wore to protect their lower backs and kidneys. A customized Harley named King Kong will be displayed. It’s more than 13 feet long, weighs more than 1,000 pounds, and has two Knucklehead engines. There will be a life-size replica of a 1920s board race track, complete with Harley race bikes "banking" on a corner. Back then, motorcycles raced on tracks made from wooden planks. Harley will display Art Deco motorcycles from the 1930s and machine-gun-toting military models. Other eye-catchers include a 1956 KH owned by Elvis. Harley purchased the Elvis bike in the 1990s from a private owner in Memphis described as the King’s "friend and riding companion." He obtained it from Elvis in 1958 as repayment on a loan. The museum’s admission fee hasn’t been set yet, but the 20-acre site will include a riverwalk and green space where the public can hang out for free. Aside from the museum exhibits, there will be a 150-seat restaurant, along with meeting and special event space for things like weddings.

3 Responses to “Harley-Davidson Museum. What To Expect”

  1. 1 Charlie Lecach Sep 3rd, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Hey Cyril, you forgot to mention that it will probably be impossible to get out of the museum without having to walk through the huge museum’s gift shop ! Well, it’s just a guess but I may be right…

  2. 2 Harrie Kubben Sep 3rd, 2007 at 8:55 am

    Gift shop?

    With free gifts?

    You are driving me mad!

  3. 3 Sep 4th, 2007 at 2:38 am

    History in the making.

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