Harley-Davidson Museum – The Perfect Museum Experience

(Courtesy Harley-Davidson Museum)

Sometimes the name says it all, other times it does not say quite enough. That is the case with the Harley-Davidson Museum. Harley-Davidson is know worldwide and while you might think you know this motorcycle, you likely have a lot to learn. The Harley-Davidson Museum will give you not only a lesson about the motorcycle, but also of the world it helped change.

Harley-Davidson Museum ,Interior, June 16, 2008, M building, Harley-Davidson Journey, Serial Number One, 1

The name Harley-Davidson simply means motorcycle and it continues to resonate with new and old motorcyclists alike. Even if you own a Harley-Davidson, chances are you only know a small portion of the story and the history of the motorcycle itself is worth diving into even if you have never ridden a motorcycle. The Harley-Davidson Museum takes you through this history starting from the humble beginnings that began in a wooden shed in 1903. This museum is so detailed, they have that actual shed on their property.

Harley-Davidson Museum Site Construction April 28, 2008, M building, exhibit installation, Tank Wall

The most striking thing about the Harley-Davidson Museum is that it is just done to perfection. From the moment you drive up, it screams Harley-Davidson and as you make your way through the museum itself, you just find your head spinning as you try to take in everything. Just walking the museum is entertaining and very much a history lesson, but the most important thing that will increase your experience tenfold is by adding the audio tour portion to your tour. The museum has done an amazing job of placing audio information throughout the museum and you simply punch in the number of what is posted and you will get detailed and interesting commentary that takes the experience to a different level.

Tsunami bike, Museum, display, HOG magazine, backstage, 131089

The museum offers so many layers to the history of Harley-Davidson and that is because there is so much more than a motorcycle. You are going to see how it was developed and how it changed over the years and the number of unique and amazing motorcycles on display is almost too much to consume in one day. You are going to get the history of how Harley-Davidson took part in the military, the lengthy racing history as well as how women took a role in the motorcycle experience.

The Original Harley-Davidson Building

Some of the other noteworthy items that make this experience one-of-a-kind are the historical documents and designs that are on display and really take you back in time to how it all began and kept going. Beyond motorcycles, you will see how Harley-Davidson ventured into boats and other areas. You will get a look at how the love affair with Hollywood. And you can end you day by snapping some pictures sitting on some beautiful Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Early Harley-Davidson on Display

In addition to the museum experience, there are some other great offerings which include:

Engines 101
Thu, Fri, Sat and Sun – 11:30 a.m., 1:30 and 3 p.m.
What is a powertrain? What makes the Milwaukee-Eight engine different? The Engines 101 class takes you inside the Milwaukee Eight engine and transmission. In a classroom setting, we break down the components and their functions while describing the performance of a 4-stroke engine. Engines 101 shows how an engine and transmission come together to make a powertrain. Advance tickets and more information can be found here.

H-D Museum Campus Walking Tour
Explore the campus of the world’s only Harley-Davidson Museum and enjoy the great outdoors. This 20-acre site is the place to see and experience Harley-Davidson® history and culture. Download the PDF to your phone or mobile device and follow the path around the H-D Museum campus.

Google Arts & Culture
Google recently announced its partnership with 16 world-class Milwaukee institutions, including the Harley-Davidson Museum, bringing the city’s culture, people and stories, online on its Google Arts & Culture platform and app at g.co/Milwaukee. For the first time, anyone in the world can engage with organizations across the city and experience its celebratory culture (Milwaukee hosts more than 60 festivals in the summer alone). With summer festivals and vacations on pause, people can discover public art with Sculpture Milwaukee, student performances from the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, fine art tours from the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University, production shots from the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, murals from Imagine MKE, Harley-Davidson history from the H-D Museum and more in one digital location.

Saturday H-D Museum Demo Rides
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. through Sept. 26
Visit the Museum campus Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and throw a leg over a 2020 motorcycle to experience the fun and freedom of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Visitors with their motorcycle endorsement will be able to choose from a dozen of the latest and greatest #FreedomMachines from Harley-Davidson, including Touring, Softail and Sportster models. A pre-determined scenic route through the Menomonee Valley will give riders the chance to explore the Museum’s surrounding neighborhoods.
• Demo Rides will run 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. weather-dependent.
• Sign-up is on a first come first service basis.
• Riders and passengers must be at least 18 years of age.
• Riders must hold a valid license with a motorcycle endorsement.
• All riders and passengers must wear a helmet, eye protection, shirt, long pants and close toe shoes with heel strap.
• All riders and passengers must bring their own riding gear.

Finally, a great way to end your day is at the MOTOR Bar & Restaurant’s waterfront patio. This is a beautiful restaurant that fits in perfectly with museum itself and has a number of great Wisconsin favorites such as, brats, cheese curds and of course the Friday Fish Fry. Having lunch outside on the patio is just a fantastic way to take in some of the beauty that Milwaukee has to offer.

The Harley-Davidson Museum is really everything you would ever want in a museum. From the smallest toy to the historical history lineup of motorcycles that take you through time as well as leaving with a memorable experience.

For more information, visit: Harley-Davidson Museum

For ticket information, visit: Tickets

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