Have you ever considered going through the Harley-Davidson Museum? Did you even know that such a museum exists? If you are really into motorcycles, especially those manufactured by Harley-Davidson, you're probably well aware of the fact that there is a museum to celebrate all things Harley-Davidson. If you have only ridden a motorcycle a couple of times in your life and you're very much a casual rider, it may not be so important to you. That said, it really is one of the best museums out there, even for those who don't have such an expressed interest in motorcycles. As a matter of fact, there is plenty to see and do when you visit this museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Below are just 10 of the things that you need to check out while you're there.
1. The Harley-Davidson Journey
This is essentially where it all started. This is a permanent exhibit that takes you through the history of Harley-Davidson, beginning with the very first motorcycle that was ever built by the company. From there, you have the opportunity to enjoy five entire floors of history that progress through the decades, starting with the very first projects that the company ever decided to undertake all the way up to the present day. It's an exhibit that even casual Harley-Davidson fans can enjoy, but it's also one that the most dedicated individuals will genuinely appreciate.
2. Engine Room
If you love everything about the way an engine runs, you're sure to be impressed by this permanent exhibit. There is plenty to take in throughout this exhibit, which is at least in part why the museum itself takes up more than 20 acres of space. That said, there are very few exhibits in this or any other museum that bring the kind of detail that is required to create a powerful engine and bring it to life. Here, you can see every minute part, even down to the smallest bolt. It gives you an opportunity to see everything that goes into making a Harley-Davidson engine from start to finish. The truth is, some people could practically spend all day in this exhibit alone.
3. Imagination Station
This is a great opportunity for the kids to get involved. The entire permanent exhibit is kid friendly and it gives kids an opportunity to ride a miniature Harley-Davidson and learn more about the history and culture of the company itself. If you love Harleys and you have children, this is an exhibit that you simply can't miss.
4. Experience Gallery
Most museums tell you that you're not allowed to touch anything. How many times have you been to a museum that had the coolest exhibit and all you wanted to do was lightly touch it just so you could feel like you were a little bit closer to it, yet the entire exhibit was closed off with signs posted everywhere, telling you that you weren't allowed to do anything but look? This can be frustrating in the extreme, especially when you're looking at a genuine piece of history. The good thing here is that you don't have to worry about that because when you're in the Experience Gallery, a permanent exhibit at the museum, you can touch every single motorcycle they have. They even let you get on them and pretend like you're riding. The truth is, it'll probably be one of the few museums you ever go to that encourages you to touch the motorcycles you're looking at.
5. Custom Culture
This is another permanent exhibit that talks about the culture of Harley-Davidson, but also the larger culture of motorcycle riding in general. If you consider yourself someone who really gets into the lifestyle, then this is probably an exhibit that you will enjoy immensely.
6. Special Exhibits
Of course, the museum routinely has a number of special exhibits that are going on at any one given time. These exhibits are not permanent, but stay only for a limited amount of time. As such, they're always changing. The number of special exhibits that are on display at any one time may go up and down, depending on exactly what is happening at the museum at that particular moment. Therefore, you might spend as little as an hour and a half going through the museum or it could be as much as four hours. The time you spend there will depend on the amount of time you want to spend walking through all of the exhibits and looking at everything the museum has to offer in addition to any special exhibits that might be going on at the time.
7. Special Tours
The museum also offers special tours. Similar to the special exhibits, these tours are constantly changing and may not always be available. Therefore, it's a good idea to contact the museum and see which tours they have available on the date that you're considering visiting.
From time to time, the museum holds special events. If you're fortunate enough to catch one of these events while you're visiting, it can be an experience in and of itself. You might even consider the event you're attending and the visit to the museum itself two completely different things, because they are very much their own unique experiences. If you're going to an event, it's also best that you reserve enough time to fully immerse yourself in the experience without feeling rushed.
9. Make a Rivet
You can even make a rivet with your name on it. If there's something special that you want to include on that rivet, you can do that while you're making it and then display it permanently at the Harley-Davidson Museum. This gives you a chance to leave a little part of yourself in a place that you might consider very special.
10. MOTOR Bar & Restaurant
Of course, good food and drink is always important. The restaurant and bar located on the museum grounds is one of the best, so you might as well enjoy a few drinks and a delicious meal while you have the opportunity.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson