Though large motorcycle collections have existed in America for decades, few are open to the public daily year around. The National Motorcycle Museum was one of the first, but now we have over ten great motorcycle museums in America,
many accessible daily. As one might expect, these museums work together, supporting each other’s needs for special projects and research, and each promotes the other museums as well.
Originally located in Sturgis, South Dakota, the National Motorcycle Museums horizons expanded when it was moved to Anamosa, Iowa. There it re-opened in a downtown location with two floors totaling about 15,000 square feet. However, the Board of Directors and staff understood there were many great motorcycles in private collections that could be loaned for exhibitions, so set their sites on an even larger facility. In 2010 the National Motorcycle Museum opened in a repurposed building of around 35,000 square feet. With an interior essentially designed from scratch with all new interior partitions, cutting edge HVAC, lighting and visitor amenities, not only was there now space for over 400 motorcycles, but facilities for events indoors were created. Today bookings are frequent for three banquets halls with 200 person total capacity. This and a well designed Museum Store help to bring precious funds for operation, adding to the support from individual enthusiasts and the motorcycle industry. And though the topic is American motorcycle history, the Museum’s website and social media work to create awareness and tell the world “what’s new at the Museum” almost daily.
Today: The beauty of all of this is seeing the motorcycles, cars and trucks pull up and park out front bringing visitors to the Museum. All of the planning and hard work has brought great improvement over 25 years. Most important is that what’s here brings so much pleasure to our visitors. The photos, apparel, motorcycles, even motorcycle toys are part of every motorcyclist’s past, and this museum is a place where memories are rekindled through interpreted objects. The presentation of motorcycles and memorabilia help the history of motorcycling in America live on.