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!