Can you believe there’s only one Harley-Davidson Museum in the world? A lifestyle brand that huge, and its history is contained inside this museum complex in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. If you’re a Harley enthusiast, this should be your mecca. In fact, perhaps you’ve already been here. They have motorcycle rallies and Bike Nights all the time. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration. Let’s say, they have them a lot.
The building is impressive even from the outside. Chrome shines in the large bike parking lot that goes right up to the Harley-Davidson Museum doors. Front and center. Those bikes belong there. They’re home.
For those of us who have never ridden a Harley, (or for everyone who can never get enough of the Harley experience) there is a motorcycle sitting right outside the entrance. You can line up to take a turn revving up the engine while you sit on the distinctive design of a Harley-Davidson and listen to the trademarked sound of its deep, rumbling purr of the engine.
And that’s just outside. Wait til you get inside the museum!
The history of this innovative motor-cycle and the motivation behind the men who invented it is captured with a replica of the cabin where they built their first model, the gradual renditions that built through the decades to magnificent machines that are as much about the prestige of the model as the experience riding it can provide.
There are models that were ridden by Evel Knievel, Elvis Presley, and the motorcycles from Easy Rider.
There is an archive room only accessible by people on certain tours, but all visitors to the museum are welcome to take a peek at this fenced off warehouse space where every Harley you can imagine is locked up on shelves with everything Harley. You just can’t go in. (And trust me, you’ll want to.)
I have so many friends that are bikers. Both women and men. I wonder what they’d make of the museum. It seems like a place that would reach them in a deep part of their soul. I enjoyed it for the aesthetics and the history of something I knew very little about. But…
I’d love to know how it feels to connect with the machines in this museum as someone who rides. If you’ve been there, please tell!