“Serial Number 1″ thought to be the first Harley-Davidson from 1903

[Milwaukee, WI] — A visit to the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee is a pilgrimage every Harley enthusiast should make.

On a recent trip to the city, I spent a couple of hours browsing the museum’s exhibits, but could easily have stayed all day. The motorcycles and memorabilia tell the history of the Motor Company from its beginnings in a shed in 1903, up through the present day.

The 130,000-square foot, three-building facility opened in 2008 and includes over 450 motorcycles on display, starting with the legendary “serial number one” bike from 1903 as well as examples of Harley’s military, civilian, business, and racing machines, including board track racers, hill climb, and dirt track bikes. There are even examples from Harley’s dalliances in the snowmobile, boat, golf cart, and minibike fields, as well as mountains of fascinating motorcycle memorabilia. I also toured a special exhibit of watercolor paintings by Willie G. Davidson (known throughout the motorcycle world as “Willie G.”), a talented artist and Harley’s longtime Chief Styling Officer who recently announced his retirement after 48 years with the Motor Company.

An upcoming exhibit will feature the black leather jacket’s place in motorcycle and pop-culture history: Worn to Be Wild runs from June 16 through September 3.

My adrenaline raced as I toured the museum; there is so much to see and I only had a couple of hours before I had to return to the airport for my flight home.

The Harley-Davidson Museum is truly a don’t-miss experience for any Harley enthusiast, and anyone interested in learning more about one of America’s most iconic brands and its place in history and pop culture.


Harley-Davidson Museum website: www.h-dmuseum.com

400 West Canal St.

Milwaukee, WI 53201



Open 7 days 10 am to 6 pm (open until 8 pm on Thursdays)


Adults: $16

Children: $10

Seniors, Military, & Students: $12

Museum members: free (see website for membership details)

Photo Gallery:





About Glen Abbott
Glen Abbott is a Florida-based travel writer & photographer specializing in motorcycle touring and travel. He is a columnist for Harley-Davidson's HOG and American Iron's Motorcycle Bagger, and his travel features appear regularly in those and other publications.

View all posts by Glen Abbott »

  1. what an interesting museum. you’re definitely right, every harley enthusiast should make it as point to go here. great photos!

  2. Lane

    April 30, 2012

    Great photography!

  3. inka

    April 29, 2012

    I wonder if you could see your way ‘donating’ this fabulous piece as a guest post for my The Museum Blog..
    inka recently posted..Bemelmans’ Bar in New York

    • Travelin' Gringo

      April 29, 2012

      Hey Inka, we’re on the same page here! Right after I posted this, I sent you a message on Facebook to ask you if you wanted this for your museum blog. (here is the link for anyone interested in checking out your great blog: http://diapoll.com/)

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