Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
By Meg Brunson
The Harley-Davidson Museum is located in the heart of Milwaukee – not far from the river walk. After our family walked a bit of the river and checked out some of the amazing public art locally we were excited to visit the home of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle and learn about the history of the Harley!
We visited in August, 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic: attendance was limited to 25%, masks were required, and the museum implemented a “one-way” journey through the exhibits which helped maintain social distancing). During our visit we noticed staff cleaning interactive exhibits frequently, and once he even jumped in quickly before one of my kids could hop on a video game after another child!
We began our visit on the second floor where the chronological tour of the Harley-Davidson history begins with Serial Number One, the oldest known Harley-Davidson motorcycle. This exhibit was cool for many reasons. The kids got to look for similarities between Serial Number One and their bicycles at home to see how an idea can turn into an invention. On the floor, surrounding the encased Serial Number One was a lighted box. This box represents the exact size of the shed where the bike was built, again, providing a teachable moment that even the coolest of inventions can begin with modest resources.
Walking through the exhibits we were able to see the progression of how the Harley-Davidson went from the bicycle like Serial Number One to the modern motorcycles we see on the road today. We loved the variety of styles – from bright colors to classic black, and from stone studded red, white, and blue patriotic to camouflaged for battle.
Most of the interactive exhibits were on the lower level (with the exception of the engine room, which we loved learning about). The kids enjoyed designing their own motorcycles, and playing a video game where they were Evel Knievel jumping over semi-trucks or shark tanks, plus having the opportunity to sit on a real Harley-Davidson and pretend they were cruising down the road.
This is another museum where you cannot miss their gift shop – they have all the traditional souvenirs and tons of Harley-Davidson merchandise that make perfect gifts for the Harley-lover in your life (even if it’s yourself!).
Tips for a Terrific Visit:
- If you want the best pic of the Evel Knievel motorcycle – snap it from the second floor (it’s suspended from the ceiling) – from the first floor (where the exhibit is) the angles aren’t as good.
- The museum is located on a 20-acre campus and we had no problem finding parking. If we had more time we would have enjoyed exploring more and dining at the on-site restaurant, MOTOR® Bar & Restaurant.
- I also recommend the nearby Purple Door Ice Cream – it was a short drive away and they had a lot of unique flavors with ingredients sourced locally.
Whether you’re a biker or not, the Harley-Davidson Museum is an experience unique to Milwaukee and one that should not be overlooked. The collection of Harleys was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before and the whole family enjoyed learning the history of the motorcycles. Start planning your trip at https://www.harley-davidson.com/us/en/museum/explore/exhibits.html.
Read about some of the other adventures we're having on our Indefinite Road Trip!
© 2020 Meg Brunson
Thanks to the Harley-Davidson Museum for sponsoring this review! All opinions expressed are my own. See more on Instagram!
Meg is a mommy blogger, Facebook marketer, and much more. She is a mom to four kids who live full-time in an RV exploring the US! As a former Facebook employee, Meg remains a Facebook addict and handles KidsOutAndAbout.com's Social Media Marketing in addition to providing freelance services for other small businesses on how to best leverage Facebook as a part of their marketing strategy. Meg also hosts the FamilyPreneur Podcast, a podcast for parent entrepreneurs raising entrepreneurial children. Learn more about Meg at MegBrunson.com!