Disclosure: I received assistance with accommodations and attractions during my stay in Milwaukee in exchange for writing about my experience there. This assistance in no way affects the opinions expressed in my posts about the city. All opinions are my own. My admission to the Harley Davidson Museum was covered as part of this exchange.
Can anyone take a guess as to where the oldest Harley Davidson in the world is? You might know this if you’re into motorcycles. But as someone who isn’t, I was surprised to find that it’s located in Milwaukee, fittingly, at the Harley Davidson Museum.
There are more than 450 motorcycles and artifacts at this museum, so it’s really easy to lose track of time just browsing through the large collection. (That’s what I ended up doing.)
The floor with all the motorcycles is located on the second floor, where you can request for a free audio tour. It’s very helpful to have the audio tour device while wandering through all the exhibits, so you can choose to get more information on bikes or artifacts that interest you.
In addition to the motorcycles, an intriguing exhibit is the Harley Davidson tank wall, which features a colorful assortment of 100 tanks!
Another quick stop to make while in the museum is the archives viewing area. You can take an elevator up to the third floor see where the museum stores other bikes and artifacts. It’s mostly a closed area, but you can peek through a mesh door to see more bikes. Harley Davidson uses the archives to do research used for product development, marketing etc.
You won’t be limited to simply looking at the exhibits and artifacts, though. On site there are some digital screens you can play with to virtually customize your own motorcycle. What’s neat about this is that once you finish your creation, it’s added to the museum’s permanent collection database, and you can see it on the Virtual Road animation screen.
And while you can’t really hop on most of the motorcycles on display, there are some that you can sit on in the experience gallery. At the same time, you’ll be able to watch a video that kind of simulates you actually riding through some roads.
Depending on your level of interest in motorcycles, the museum suggests expecting to spend 1 to 4 hours. I spent close to 2 hours and felt like that was a good amount of time.
Despite not being a motorcycle aficionado, I enjoyed seeing the evolution of Harley Davidsons throughout the years, and most especially being up close and personal with the world’s oldest HD!
Admission to the museum is $20 for adults; $14 for seniors; US military and students with IDs; $10 for children ages 5-17; and if you’re under 5 years old, you get in for free!