The Harley-Davidson Museum is an American museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, celebrating the more than 100-year history of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The 12,000-square-meter (130,000 sq ft) three-building complex on 81,000 square meters (20 acres) along the Menomonee River bank contains more than 450 Harley-Davidson motorcycles and hundreds of thousands of artifacts from the Harley-Davidson Motor Company’s 118-year history.
The museum opened on July 12, 2008, on an 8.1-hectare (20-acre) site in the Menomonee Valley. The museum was built in a historically industrial area of Milwaukee, WI. Before Harley-Davidson purchased the land from the city, the site was formerly used by the Milwaukee Department of Public Works, Lakeshore Sand Company, and Morton Salt. A 1.2-meter (4 ft) layer of imported soil was added to combat the contaminated soil. In addition, new vegetation was planted to restore the landscape to its riparian state.
The museum’s galleries have permanent exhibitions across two floors, including temporary exhibits and the motor company’s archives. The complex also includes a restaurant, café, retail shop, and special event spaces.
Also displayed are historic Harley-Davidson items that tell the company’s story and history, such as photographs, posters, advertisements, clothes, trophies, video footage of vintage and contemporary motorcycling, and interactive exhibits, including ten motorcycles that visitors can sit on.
The Motorcycle Gallery
On the museum’s upper level, a procession of motorcycles is displayed down the center of the main hall, running the length of the building, with galleries on either side.
The Harley Davidson Journey
A series of interconnected galleries exhibit Harley-Davidson’s chronological history along the east side of the upstairs galleries. The galleries relate the company’s history from its origins in a 3.0-by-4.6-meter (10 ft × 15 ft) wooden shack to its current status as the top U.S. motorcycle manufacturer, producing more than 330,000 bikes yearly. The gallery’s centerpiece is “Serial Number One,” the oldest known Harley-Davidson, encased in glass. The glass enclosure sits within a floor-embedded, illuminated outline of the backyard shed the motor company was founded. Bed Bug Exterminator Milwaukee
The Engine Room
The museum’s second-floor galleries begin with the Engine Room. A Knucklehead engine is displayed, disassembled into several pieces. The Engine Room also features several interactive touchscreen elements showing how Harley motors work, including Panhead and Shovelhead motors.
Clubs and Competition
The Clubs and Competition gallery includes displays and information about Harley-Davidson’s racing history. The gallery includes a section of a replica wooden board track suspended in the air at a 45-degree incline. The wooden track featured vintage video footage of actual board track races and attached 1920s-era Harley-Davidson racing motorcycles; the bikes raced on board tracks at 160 kilometers per hour (100 mph). Unfortunately, fatalities were common, leading to the banning wooden board tracks for motorcycle racing.
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