One in all America’s Greatest Motorbike Museums Closes


Between its vast collection of motorcycles, vintage signs, artwork, collectibles, and memorabilia, a trip to the National Motorcycle Museum was sensory overload.

Between its huge assortment of bikes, classic indicators, paintings, collectibles, and memorabilia, a visit to the Nationwide Motorbike Museum was sensory overload. (The Nationwide Motorbike Museum/)

After a stoic 34-year run, the Nationwide Motorbike Museum is closing down for good September 5, 2023. As soon as one of many preeminent bike museums within the nation, its board of administrators lastly determined to close its doorways after years of economic struggles. Based by J&P Cycles’ dynamic husband-wife duo John and Jill Parham in 1989, the museum first opened in Sturgis, South Dakota, with a modest 40 bikes on show. In 2001, it moved to Anamosa, Iowa, and at one level housed greater than 500 uncommon and collectible bikes and memorabilia.

Among the nostalgic motorcycles in the museum’s collection was John Parham’s beloved yellow 1955 FL Hydra-Glide.

Among the many nostalgic bikes within the museum’s assortment was John Parham’s beloved yellow 1955 FL Hydra-Glide. (The Nationwide Motorbike Museum/)

“It was a really arduous choice and it was an emotional choice as a result of my husband and I began this collectively,” Jill Parham stated. “We now have struggled for years to cowl wages and utilities, partly because of low visitation.”

The National Motorcycle Museum housed many iconic motorcycles over the years, including Rollie Free’s 1948 Vincent HRD.

The Nationwide Motorbike Museum housed many iconic bikes through the years, together with Rollie Free’s 1948 Vincent HRD. (The Nationwide Motorbike Museum/)

The pandemic additionally hit the nonprofit museum arduous because it needed to shut its doorways for a number of months. Harsh Iowa winters didn’t assist attendance both. Losing founder and driving force John Parham to pulmonary fibrosis in 2017 dealt the museum one other merciless blow.

The museum featured many trinkets from “Kustom Kulture” king, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth.

The museum featured many trinkets from “Kustom Kulture” king, Ed “Large Daddy” Roth. (The Nationwide Motorbike Museum/)

Through the years, the museum has showcased a number of the most iconic bikes round.

It was the primary to show Rollie Free’s 1948 Vincent HRD, aka the “Bathing Swimsuit Bike.” The image of Free stretched out like Superman on the Vincent’s tank carrying solely swimming trunks whereas he’s setting a land velocity report on the Bonneville Salt Flats is well some of the immediately recognizable bike photographs. The 1911 Flying Merkel boardtrack racer it had on show, a prized possession from the E.J. Cole assortment, is alleged to be essentially the most authentic 1911 Merkel in existence.

It honored legends just like the “King of CoolSteve McQueen together with his personal exhibit, together with McQueen’s 1947 Indian Chief chopper, one among his favourite bikes to trip when he needed to flee from the world. The museum paid homage to Southern California’s “Kustom Kulture” with work by Ed “Large Daddy” Roth and Von Dutch. It even constructed its personal 50-foot-long boardtrack exhibit contained in the museum itself, a dozen classic boardtrackers adorning its banked flip.

Frank Fritz and Dave Ohrt of <i>American Pickers</i> were known to pop into the museum every now and again.

Frank Fritz and Dave Ohrt of <i>American Pickers</i> had been recognized to pop into the museum each every now and then. (The Nationwide Motorbike Museum/)

In its heyday, the museum attracted loads of celebrities and was frequented by a veritable who’s who of the bike trade. American Picker Frank Fritz, an excellent good friend of museum director Jill Parham, was recognized to pop in anytime. The museum even constructed a “Barn Discover” exhibit full with a hodgepodge of rusty relics as one among its star points of interest.

The National Motorcycle Museum even built its own boardtrack for authenticity.

The Nationwide Motorbike Museum even constructed its personal boardtrack for authenticity. (The Nationwide Motorbike Museum/)

Whereas most of the museum’s bikes had been on mortgage from non-public collectors, others had been a part of the Parham’s private assortment. A lot of that’s going up on the public sale block as a part of the liquidation course of. Greater than 300 bikes and 1,000 street artwork heaps can be on the market in Mecum Auctions on September 6–9, 2023, as a part of the John Parham Property Assortment. A preview day is scheduled September 5. There are some unbelievable bikes and memorabilia up for grabs, from a 1915 Flying Merkel Twin to a 1937 Brough Superior SS80.

The museum had a wonderful collection of Von Dutch artwork, tools, and motorcycles on display.

The museum had a beautiful assortment of Von Dutch paintings, instruments, and bikes on show. (The Nationwide Motorbike Museum/)

Parham’s ardour for the bike trade was unparalleled. Though it’s unhappy to see one of many best bike museums within the nation closing down, it additionally presents an unbelievable alternative to increase your personal assortment and personal a chunk of its legacy. It’s also possible to sneak in a single final go to as a result of its doorways don’t shut till September 5.

Finding a vintage bike in an old barn is every motorcyclist’s dream, so the National Motorcycle Museum constructed a “Barn Find” area.

Discovering a classic bike in an outdated barn is each motorcyclist’s dream, so the Nationwide Motorbike Museum constructed a “Barn Discover” space. (The Nationwide Motorbike Museum/)


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