Harley-Davidson Museum displays new exhibits, celebrates 120 years

The Harley-Davidson Museum has opened new exhibits and attractions on its campus as it celebrates being a top tourist destination in Milwaukee for 15 years.

The H-D Museum is proud to partner with VISIT Milwaukee and nearly 30 other cultural institutions that make the area unique for Milwaukee Museum Days. From Jan. 19 – 29, curious explorers can enjoy discounted admission, special events and more. The H-D Museum will have special deals available for those who purchase tickets in advance from Jan. 19 – 23 and 26 – 29.

The H-D Museum’s first-ever bilingual exhibit, “My Papi Has a Motorcycle” / “Mi papi tiene una moto,” opened last month. Isabel Quintero’s beloved children’s book jumps off the page and into the Bridge Gallery to share stories of family bonds that grow stronger on the back of a bike.

Please note the H-D Museum campus has rolled out seasonal hours for January and February. The H-D Museum will be open Thursday – Monday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and the Harley-Davidson Shop and Factory Shop will be open Thursday – Monday, 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Please see below to learn about closures to each shop this month.) MOTOR Bar & Restaurant will be open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sundays and Mondays, and 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Thursday – Saturday. Beginning March 1, the campus will resume seven days a week operation.

On Jan. 18, Harley-Davidson will reveal both its 2023 motorcycle line-up and details of the first annual Harley-Davidson Homecoming, a celebration 120 years in the making. All the news will stream live at 10 a.m. CST at Harley-Davidson.com.

Programming / Events

Milwaukee Museum Days, Jan 19 – 23 & 26 – 29

Milwaukee Museum Days are Jan. 19 – 29. (Please note seasonal hours above for H-D Museum.) For this special event, many of the city’s most fantastic museums will offer admission at rates ranging from FREE to just $15. Just mention "Milwaukee Museum Days" when purchasing tickets in person January 19 – 23 and 26 – 29 or visit the H-D Museum tickets page to redeem the Museum Days admission offer.

Annual Pass

The Harley-Davidson Museum’s Annual Pass offers individual, family and VIP level passes. Some of the perks of the new Annual Pass include virtual access to the H-D Museum with various Harley history topics covered in the Virtual Gallery Talk series, admission discounts, free admission for children under age 18, merchandise discounts at The Shop, dining discounts at MOTOR Bar & Restaurant and more.

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Guided Tours

The H-D Museum’s guided-tour portfolio has been updated with new experiences and content. Tours include the Spotlight Tour, the Beyond the Gate Tour and the VIP Tour. Spotlight Tours are available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Spanish Spotlight Tours are available most weekends. Guests are invited to check out the calendar when planning their visit to sign-up in advance. To book a private group tour, call 414-287-2799 for more information. Reservations and prepayment required at least 2-weeks prior to tour date. Please note: Tour fee does not include General Admission.

Tours for Teachers – Thursdays

Beginning Thursday, January 19th, a guided tour for teachers will be offered to connect local educators with the H-D Museum story and exhibit content. The tour topics will change each week to highlight different tours and activities to match learning objectives for future field trips. Tours are scheduled for each Thursday (Jan. 19 – Mar. 30) at 4 p.m. and there is no fee to attend. Capacity is limited; advance registration (H-D Museum Offers & Promotions) and teacher credentials required. Call 414-287-2789 for more information.

Engineering Merit Badge (Saturdays at 10:15 a.m. and 2 p.m.)

All scouts are welcome to earn their Engineering Merit Badge at the Harley-Davidson Museum. This experience will be launched by the merit badge counselor. Scouts will explore the history of Harley-Davidson as well as the engineering of motorcycles as they complete the nine merit badge requirements. Advance registration is required. Program registration closes one week prior to the scheduled program date. The ticket includes a downloadable activity booklet used for the program, welcome and orientation by the program facilitator, a blue card signed by the facilitator and an exclusive H-D Museum patch.

An Engineering Program for Cub Scouts is now available for Pack booking. The program content will help Cub Scouts complete requirements for the engineering activity. Call 414-287-2755 for more information and reservations.

Scout Virtual Engineering Merit Badge (Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. and Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.)

The new 90-minute online program is open to scouts from all over the country. The program facilitator will guide the troops and explore the role an engineer plays while creating a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle. Nine requirements for the Engineering Merit Badge will be discussed during this virtual, interactive program. Advance registration is required. Program Fee: $20 per Scout, which includes an activity booklet used during the program and a special H-D® patch upon completion of the program.

Exhibits and Installations

“My Papi Has a Motorcycle” / “Mi papi tiene una moto” (on display now)

From award-winning children and YA author Isabel Quintero and illustrator Zeke Peña comes the Harley-Davidson Museum’s first-ever bilingual exhibit, “My Papi has a Motorcycle” / “Mi papi tiene una moto.” Based on the beloved children’s book of the same name, “My Papi has a Motorcycle” shares a story of family bonds strengthened by the simple act of taking a joy ride on a two-wheeled machine. With brilliant, colorful art from Peña paired with heart-warming stories from Southern Californian riding families, “My Papi has a Motorcycle” will draw smiles from kids of all ages. It’s an exhibit that focuses not only on where you can take a motorcycle, but where a two-up motorcycle ride with a loved one can take you.

Experience Gallery (on display now)

The Experience Gallery displays inspiring stories from riders who have turned their dream of learning to ride into reality, provides a look at the epic journeys one can only experience behind the bars of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and the chance to throw a leg over a new Harley-Davidson #FreedomMachine.

Google Arts & Culture: Take a Trip through Time (on display now)

Lillian Hauerwas began riding in 1911 when she was 19 years old. In 1914, she and a friend took a sidecar rig on a week-long trip. Check out a photo album from their ride and find out more about this early advocate for women motorcyclists on the Museum’s Google Arts & Culture site.

Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (on display now)

The four founders of Harley-Davidson were recently inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Learn more about this prestigious honor now on view in the H-D Museum.

Linda "Jo" Giovannoni (on display now)

This year the world of motorcycling lost a prominent voice, Linda “Jo” Giovannoni. As a co-founder of Harley Women magazine, she shared her love of the sport through articles in newspapers and magazines, and in national television interviews and documentaries. Learn about how Giovannoni inspired riders for over 40 years.

1977 FLH “Blackula” (on display now)

Milwaukee man about town Freddie Franklin purchased his Electra Glide motorcycle from its original owner, 95-year-old Wallace Brzezinski, with only 4,500 miles on its odometer. And in short order, he completely re-envisioned the bike to reflect his timeless style. The motorcycle incorporates some hallmarks of Franklin’s disparate tastes. A dash of the Coney Island-style bikes – decked out with lights and reflectors – he adored mixed in with elements of Willie G.’s seminal Knucklehead and topped off with details that harken to the 1970s blaxploitation films Franklin watched back in the day. A clear statement of Black pride via the language of vintage motorcycles, this is a bike that must see in-person.

Keith Brammer (Die Kreuzen) leather jacket (on display now)

Perhaps no other genre of music is so closely associated with the classic black leather jacket than punk rock. Keith Brammer, of Milwaukee’s hardcore punk band Die Kreuzen, has graciously lent his well-worn leather to the H-D Museum. The jacket was purchased in New York City in the 1980s and was a constant companion for Brammer throughout his touring days. Check out the Custom Culture gallery to view this piece of Milwaukee music history.

Revolution Max Engine (on display now)

The brand-new Revolution Max 1250cc engine powers a new generation of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. See the liquid-cooled, 60-degree V-Twin that delivers for the Pan America adventure touring model and the performance cruiser Sportster S motorcycle. On view in the Museum lobby.

Clubs & Competition (on display now)

In the early part of the 20th century, motorcycle culture was a homegrown phenomenon. It grew out of the passion of riders for their evolving sport. The camaraderie that developed around riding and attending competitive events led to the formation of motorcycle clubs that hosted destination rides, family picnics with motorcycle games and other riding competitions. The newly reinstalled display case in the Clubs & Competition gallery highlights clothing from club members from primarily the 1930s and 1940s. The clothing selections on view include full dress uniforms, shirts, sweaters, jackets and caps, customized by the owners with their club’s name and logo, and pins or patches indicating membership in the American Motorcyclist Association. The H-D Archives collection includes Motorclothes apparel sold in H-D® product catalogs but also non-H-D produced clothing items that have been proudly customized by riders.

Harley Fox (on display now)

Gail Anderson’s 1986 Softail Custom motorcycle, “Harley Fox,” built by her partner Bob Burrows, took top prize at the first Ladies of Harley (LOH) ride-in show during Daytona Beach Bike Week in 1987. With her custom bike and themed riding gear, Anderson presented a striking image that fit the growing visibility and exciting new options for women riders in the 1980s.

Alfonso Sotomayor’s 1957 Model FL (on display now)

The Harley-Davidson Museum is proud to announce its collection has recently grown with the addition of a 1957 Model FL that was ridden by famed Mexican stunt rider and racer Alfonso Sotomayor Canales. Harley-Davidson’s history in Mexico dates to at least 1913. In the 1920s, the brand was more frequently spotted throughout Mexico City as the motorcycles proved popular with the local traffic police who would also perform stunts with their Harley-Davidson bikes. After racing from the 1930s into the 1960s, Sotomayor launched his own stunt riding career by performing the famed “Salto de la Muerte” or Jump of Death. Learn more about Sotomayor’s feats of derring-do and Harley-Davidson’s early entry into Mexico with this new display located in the Custom Culture area.

“Off-Road Harley-Davidson” (on display now)

In the decades before America paved its highways, early riders had to be prepared for all sorts of terrain: sand, clay or dirt – and wandering those makeshift byways were Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Today, it’s called off-road or adventure touring; back then it was just called riding. Since 1903, Harley-Davidson motorcycles proved their toughness by riding over wooded hills, through stone-choked creek beds and up mountain sides. “Off-Road Harley-Davidson” tells the history of motorcycles designed for rough roads, the people who rode them and the adventures they shared.

1903 Events

Let “Happily ever after” begin with the team at 1903 Events. The new special-event space provides the perfect backdrop for creating memories that will last a lifetime. All clients who book between now and Feb. 28, 2023, can receive customized lighting at no additional fee.

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