Dave Reid

The Harley-Davidson Museum Celebrates an American Icon

By - Jul 12th, 2008 09:15 pm

Today’s opening of the Harley-Davidson Museum is a truly great day for the City of Milwaukee. The $75 million, 130,000 square foot complex, which was designed by James Biber of Pentagram Architects, celebrates the 105 year history of Harley-Davidson. The complex references both Milwaukee’s industrial past and Harley-Davidson’s motorcycle style by mixing modern elements and simple lines with an exposed I-Beam skeleton.

The grounds consist of three buildings situated on a urban street grid which allows the facility to support bike rallys and outdoor entertainment. The streets include a strip of orange concrete running down the middle which draws a direct connection to the rallys of Sturgis, South Dakota by indicating this area is for motorcycle parking. The riverwalk has two green pathways that act as an oasis among the heavy iron and roaring engines. The final section of the riverwalk gives you access to view along Canal St. that takes your vision past the bronze statue of a hill climbing motorcyclist through the museum complex into the Menomonee Valley. The years of planning and working towards the opening of this museum show through in its success at showcasing the history of an American icon and Milwaukee institution.

For more information on the Harley-Davidson Museum, Pentagram Architects has a good article on it here.


6 thoughts on “The Harley-Davidson Museum Celebrates an American Icon”

  1. Potchi says:

    Love the building, but I still can’t respect Harley until they make their motorcycles less noisy. I can’t frigging stand that obnoxious sound deliberately tuned up to annoy people!!! Why is it legal?? If my car made that much noise, I’d be arrested…

  2. mike blaser says:

    my dad was Steve Blaser. he was the hmfic building the museum. he died in a car accident in december 2007. he put his heart and soul into this building being a lifetime harley rider. he loved what he did and we all knew that he was there in spirit that day when the chain was cut and the doors finally opened. rest in peace dad and i love what you did with the place and i know that millions will feel the same way that we do!

  3. mike blaser says:

    oh and potchi, go hide in a hole somewhere with ear plugs cause its only gonna get louder with future generations of riders growing up.

  4. Dave Reid says:

    @mike blaser I’m sorry to hear about your dad. I am glad to agree that the new Harley-Davidson Museum is an impressive complex and I do believe that anyone who visits the museum will have the same feeling.

    As far as the noise well I’m sure we’ll be hearing Harley’s loud rumble here in Milwaukee forever as to some extent it is part of our history. That said I do hope we can keep the comments friendly:)

  5. Gina says:

    to Mike Blaser and the Blaser Family –

    I knew your Dad very well, I worked with him at Mortenson in Milwaukee. He was a great man and a superb builder. Lots of us at Mortenson miss him dearly. I talk to your Mom often and I know why your Dad always had such great things to say about her! I hope that your family is healing. You all are in my thoughts and prayers. I too was at the Harley Museum on July 12th and I’m sure your Dad was smiling looking down at how well everything turned out. Take Care.

  6. Shelly Shefveland says:

    Steve B. is my brother, and he is missed each and every day. Thanks for the kind comments about him.

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