.....

BOTCON  -  SORTA  NEAR  CHICAGO
(griffin's 2015 BotCon adventure)


- SUNDAY 14th JUNE - Milwaukee  Harley  Davidson  Museum - Part 1 -


The Harley Davidson museum was bigger and better than I had expected, and so it ended up being 3 pages here.  It doesn't cover everything, as I proiritised the oldest things over the more recent items, as it is more fascinating and less likely to be something I would ever come across ever again.
I am not a motorcycle enthusiast or fan of H-D, so there is very little written here to explain things. I am relying on the labels and signage from the Museum to explain most of what is in my photos.
As a Transformers fan I was a little disappointed to learn that there are only two Transformers toys that are based on Harley Davidson motorcycles, and I have pointed out the ones in the Museum that look closest like them.

It was about 11.45am when I got to the Museum, and it really stood out from its surroundings by looking new and having well maintained green gardens.  It was like an oasis in this part of Milwaukee.  I think it was probably given grey and black colours just to try to blend back in a little with the old, run-down, bleak location.

There is certainly no need to wonder if you are at the right location for the Harley Davidson museum.  The "1903" is the year they started.

As part of the steel and stone industrial era theme of the museum, seating around the outside of the museum were steel girders.

.

From what I remember from reading on the plaque (which I could be mistake), this sculpture wasn't of anyone important, but was a sculpture that was gifted to the museum.

It cost $20, which is probably very cheap by today's standards, considering all it has inside, and how long it takes to go through everything (if you are a fan).
I was in there for over 2 hours and would have been there longer, but I cut down my time by taking photos of things I wanted to read, so that I can read them later and spend more of the day doing other things (I didn't want to be there all day).

It was also lucky timing to be there just a day after the start of a new exhibition, detailing the life of one of the current generation of Davidson's who has been at the core of the business for the last 40-50 years.
So it was well worth the $20. (just a bit out of the way to come all the way to Milwaukee if you only want to see the Museum and can't find anything else worth doing here)

The main part of the museum is two floors, and you start on the second floor for the early motorcycles, and then down to the first floor for the more recent ones.  Then the special exhibit is in a separate building, which the one admission fee covers, but you need a wristband to prove you've paid. (I guess if it ever floods, the more valuable older bikes were better protected by being upstairs)
 

As noted at the top of the page, I will only add commentary if something needs to be explained that doesn't have signage... so scroll through the images, as it's info-sign might be below the item being photographed.

This first page is the early history of Harley Davidson, focussing on their first 20 years, and a sampling of the motorcycles up until 1947.

Harley Davidson didn't invent the motorcycle, or the first to build them.

.

18 years later, three Davidsons and a Harley came together to build their first motorcycle.

 


.

.
.

In the photo below, the white square on the floor was the size of the shed they built their first motorcycles in... which didn't leave much room for a couple of people to work on it.

The following year they tripled the size of the shed, but it was still pretty small.

.

.

.

.

.

Early promotional signs and artwork.

Within 15 years they were in countries all around the world, and not just Western or English speaking countries.

.

Within two years (1905) their motorcycles were winning races, and that was how they were able to best promote their product.

They went backwards by going backwards (producing regular bicycles for 6 years before realising that they were best just being a motorcycle company).

As unpopular as they were back then, it would probably be pretty rare to find a Harley Davidson bicycle now, so could be more sought after now than they were almost 100 years ago.

But bicycles weren't their business... motorcylces are... and now we will have a look at the early models of their motorcycles.
There looked to be three types of motorcycles on display - unrestored (the same as it was when built), restored (replacement parts to bring it back from the dead), replica (built later from similar parts to resemble a particular bike).

This is noted as a "restored" bike from circa (around) 1903, but only some of the components are from 1903, as the frame and motor would appear to be from a variety of sources... but since some of the parts are believed to be from 1903, this "frankenstein" bike noted as being patially the oldest bike in the museum.

.

.

Model 2 (1906) and 5 (1909).

.

.

Model 3 (1907).

.

Model 7-A (1911).

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

Part two continues with a look at the iconic Harley Davidson motors, the brand's success in racing, some HD bikes used in movies, and some custom bikes.


Continue to Part Two here
 

Or - Return to Sunday

Or - Return to main index page



***All pictures in this convention report are mine unless noted. Any that are borrowed, have the source credited/noted.  If you want to use/borrow any of my photos, please credit the source as well. I try to take as many of my own photos as possible, and usually only resort to using others if I failed to get something, or my photo wasn't clear enough.

OZFORMERS - The Australian (and Asia) Transformers Fansite for News and Interaction (started way back in 1996)
-
BotCon website - The official Collector Club and Convention website
-
To contact me --> griffin @ otca.com.au