History of an American Icon


When the Harley-Davidson Museum opened in 2008, a lot of people thought it was well overdue. The city of Milwaukee takes great pride in its affiliation with one of America's best known icons, and the museum is a dedication to the history of that company. Harley-Davidson motorcycles, accessories, and apparel are popular in Wisconsin and throughout the United States and the world. The museum explores this popularity and gives fans a close up look at how the company has developed over the years and remains strong today.

The museum is filled with actual motorcycles throughout Harley's decade of existence, as well as artifacts, pictures, and videos. The museum is separated into galleries, each showcasing the bikes, people, and culture that have made Harley-Davidson a household name. The displays aso feature archives never before seen by the public, which includes over 450 motorcylces. Visitors also enjoy the architecture of the museum, industrial and suitable for the area of Milwaukee in which it was built. It brings together the blue collar feel of the city and the rough rider feel of Harley.

The museum offers group tours which provide a more personalized experience. There are discounted rates for groups, as well as field trip opportunities that are popular among area school children. Guided tours for individuals are also available for $4.00. You can take a self-guided audio tour, also for $4.00, or the Back Roads Tour, led by a member of the curatorial staff, that offers a behind the scenes look at the exhibits and the company. The cost of the Back Roads Tour is $25.00 per person. On Vintage Day, senior citizens are entitled to a tour discount that includes a food package.

The museum gift shop is great for finding the perfect souvenir to take home with you after touring the museum. There is Harley memorabilia in every shape and size, including t-shirts and other apparel, magnest, pencils, stuff animals, wallets, photos and posters, and traditional biking gear like Harley-Davidson brand leather jackets. The gift shop is a popular destination among visitors and locals, and is especially crowded during the holiday shopping season. Those who want to share the spirit of Harley with others, can purchase a gift card that is good for the shop or the museum.

Museum memberships are available and include discounted admission and access to special events. There are a variety of different memberships including family and individual. Some of these memberships come with perks for area events and destinations including the Kohler spa and resort and admission to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.

A variety of special events are held at the museum throughout the year. Their annual family day is during the Christmas holidays and includes fun for all ages. The museum is also visited by Santa Claus, or in this case, "Biker Claus'' during the holiday season. There is also event space at the museum, available for rental by patrons year-round. Large enough for fifteen thousant people, or intimate enough for fifteen, the museum will help you plan your business or personal event. There are six indoor and eight outdoor areas perfect for weddings, parties, rallies, and business events. Visitors love exposing their guests to the history of Harley-Davidson in an area that showcases the best Milwaukee has to offer.

After a tour you can grab a bite to eat at Motor restaurant or Cafy Racer. Motor features traditional American fare in large portions, designed to satisfy the appetites of hungry bikers. Lunch and dinner is served seven days a week. Cafy race offers grab-and-go options of fresh food. This is a great option if you want to have a picnic with friends near the lakefront following your visit to the museum.

Biker or not, the Harley-Davidson Museum is a popular destination for those traveling to and near Milwaukee. In a city that embraces their history, this company is a standout. The museum reflects the rich history of Harley and its role it has played in the growth of Milwaukee. This is perfect place to bring the kids or the bike lover in your family. Best of all, it is affordable fun for the entire family.

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