National Motorcycle Museum Update

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July 2, 2010 | By: Angi Kearney

After nearly a year of planning and preparation, the National Motorcycle Museum has finally relocated from its cramped quarters in downtown Anamosa, Iowa, to a larger, well-designed facility near the edge of town. The museum opened without fanfare on Friday, June 25 — a day before J&P Cycles’ successful Open House weekend.

And while construction isn’t quite completed at the museum (where are those “Pardon our Dust!” signs?), here’s a quick overview of what you’d see if you were to visit today:

Bursting with approximately 36,000-square-feet of interior space, the museum has ample room to expand the existing exhibits and add many new ones. Among the new displays is the Awesome-Ness exhibit — featuring 11 of famed motorcycle builder Arlen Ness’ best-known motorcycles. This display was a real crowd-pleaser at last weekend’s debut.

When you first walk into the new museum, you see a life-size Petrali bronze displayed on a marble case. The Jeff Decker sculpture portrays motorcycle great Joe Petrali who broke the land speed record at more than 136.183 mph in Daytona Beach, Fla., back in 1937. That record held for the next 11 years.

The museum features a board track racing exhibit and a great Harley-Davidson display that includes the original Schaber Harley-Davidson billboard. Found in the basement of Schaber’s dealership, it is one of only four or five made back in 1928.

The museum also features an Evel Knievel display, Brough-Superior and Vincent motorcycle displays, plus the famed “Easy Rider” bike from the movie by the same name. Authenticated and signed by Peter Fonda, the bike was the one crashed in the final scene of the 1969 cult classic. It was saved and restored by actor Dan Hagerty and sold to the museum a couple of years ago.

There’s tons more to see at the museum and we hope to have the construction completed and all the exhibits in place by next spring. If you want to wait that long, that is fine.  But a trip to Anamosa this summer wouldn’t be a disappointment.

Pull out your Motorcycle GPS and map a course. We’ll see you here!

Comments: 5 Comments | Categorized Under: Announcements

Comments (5)

I went to the museum on the Saturday of the J&P anniversary weekend. The new facility is absolutely great! The displays have plenty of room to see most of these classic bikes from all angles.
The “awesomeNess” section is just that!
I spent an hour and a half in there on one of their busiest days, and could have stayed much longer.
I’ll be bringing more of my friends back to see this tremendous attraction. So like others said if your in the area don’t miss it.

I was recently up in Wisconsin seeing some family and decided that since I made the trip from Hawaii to Wisconsin I would make the drive to Anamosa and check out J&P Cycles as well as the museum. The original plan was to go pick up a bunch of parts for my Street Glide and take them home with me so I wouldn’t have to pay shipping charges to Hawaii. If time permitted, we were going to check out the museum. Unfortunately, we went there the weekend after the anniversary open house so most of the stuff I intended to get was sold out. We proceeded to the old museum location not knowing that they had just moved and found out the hard way that they had moved. By this time I was getting pissed. I drove 3+ hours to get parts and they didn’t have them. Then I went to a museum that wasn’t there. We found the new location and was impressed at the selection of bikes. I took a ton of pictures. It made the whole road trip worth while. In fact, the only thing better than the museum during my vacation was getting to meet my 1 week old niece. If you are ever in the midwest, this is a definate stop.

If you’ve never been to the museum you have to make the trip. We went in January, I was mesmerized by all the different stuff they had. It is not just Harleys and not just totally restored pieces but a very interesting mix of brands, years, styles and tastes. The vintage machines both restored and all original untouched were fascinating. Tons of old board track racers, road racing and drag bikes. A variety of customs as well as European and Japanese products, even some mini-bikes like we rode in the seventies. It was one of the best experiences I can remember. Thanks to all involved with the museum, especially John Parham and family.

Had a chance to visit the museum a few weeks before it moved… It was great…. NOW I have an excuse to come back and see the new digs… Cannot wait.

We were at the “Old” building the first week of June, Too bad we missed the New building Opening! The Older one was cramped and we were wishing to have had more room to see the bikes and take more pictures. But all in all, the bikes in the collection were AWESOME!! Hubby got some ideas for the finishing touches on the restoring of his 1948 Panhead

Jodie – from Northern WI

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