National Motorcycle Museum Closes After 34 Years

The National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa, said it will close its doors indefinitely on Sept. 5, 2023. The decision comes after an illustrious 34-year run, which earned acclaim when the museum wiped out its fascinating collection of motorcycle memorabilia . The closure of the museum is the result of ongoing financial difficulties, and marks the end of an era that has had a profound impact on motorcycling

Founded in 1989 by the visionary husband and wife team of John and Jill Parham, it originally opened its doors in the motorcycle mecca of Sturgis, South Dakota with an early showcase of 40 motorcycles thanks to its determination to preserve the rich history and culture therefore of motorcycling Quickly attracting attention, the Parham family’s dedication to the art and their unwavering passion for motorcycles led to the development and expansion of the museum, and ultimately moved to Anamosa, Iowa in 2001

Over the years, the museum has become a sanctuary for motorcycle enthusiasts, with an impressive collection of more than 500 rare and valuable motorcycles, as well as an extensive collection of memorabilia that teaches how motorcycles a the movement is reversed

But despite its undeniable success, the National Motorcycle Museum faced a series of challenges that ultimately led to the unfortunate decision to close its doors Jill Parham commented on the emotional story, “And it’s a very tough decision and it was an emotional one because my husband and Meboom started I had struggled to cover it, which is part of the reason

The museum’s commitment to honoring legends extended to an exhibit dedicated to the “King of Cool,” Steve McQueen. Among the highlights of this exhibit was McQueen’s 1947 Indian Chief chopper, a reflection of his desire to escape the world’s pressures on the open road. The museum’s embrace of Southern California’s “Kustom Kulture” featured the works of icons like Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and Von Dutch, showcasing the artistic intersection of motorcycles and popular culture.

Throughout its history, the museum remained a hub for motorcycle enthusiasts and celebrities alike. Notable figures from the motorcycle industry and beyond frequented its halls. American Picker Frank Fritz, a close friend of museum director Jill Parham, was a familiar face, reflecting the museum’s universal appeal. The “Barn Find” exhibit, featuring an eclectic array of rusty relics, stood as a testament to the museum’s dedication to showcasing the diverse facets of motorcycle history.

As the National Motorcycle Museum concludes its chapter, a unique opportunity arises for motorcycle enthusiasts to play a part in its legacy. The John Parham Estate Collection, consisting of more than 300 motorcycles and 1,000 road art lots, will be auctioned by Mecum Auctions from September 6 to 9, 2023. This landmark event offers enthusiasts a chance to acquire a tangible piece of motorcycle history, spanning iconic models like the 1915 Flying Merkel Twin and the 1937 Brough Superior SS80.

While the physical doors of the National Motorcycle Museum may close, its impact on the motorcycle community and culture remains enduring. The museum’s legacy will continue to thrive through the ownership of these cherished artifacts, preserving its spirit for generations to come. As motorcycle enthusiasts bid farewell to this beloved institution, they embark on a new journey, preserving the heritage that has defined the National Motorcycle Museum’s legacy in the world of motorcycles.

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