History, Mythology, and Perceptions of America’s Motorcycle

May 18 – October 20, 2019

Harley Davidson Exhibit Graphic

Join us during the summer of 2019 for a remarkable journey on America’s Motorcycle!

The story of Harley-Davidson serves as a parallel narrative of 20th century American culture and history.  The company originated in the industrial age, was the eventual victor in a hard-fought business and racing struggle with rival Indian, and experienced low points as well as triumphs.  The machines themselves developed in response to America’s cheap fuel and vast distances.  Now, around the world, Harley-Davidson enjoys cult-like status.  The brand has for decades evoked strong emotion among both motorcyclists and observers.

Riding a Harley-Davidson is a complex and provocative experience – far more than the look and rumble of the V-twin engine.  Harley-Davidson is an innovator, a touchstone of American pride and independence, a fascinating marketing mechanism, an undeniably excellent motorcycle, and a national cultural institution.

1912 Harley-Davidson photo by John Sterling Ruth
1912 Harley-Davidson photo credit: John Sterling Ruth

We will examine Harley-Davidson through seven key themes:

  • Harley as an American innovation
  • Harley versus Indian:  On the track and in the boardroom
  • The “American Motorcycle” – why Harley?
  • Decline and AMF years
  • Rebirth and success years
  • Outlaws, Harley, and American society, and the “Harley Lifestyle”
  • The future is in the gear

We plan to illustrate Harley’s story by having on view approximately thirty important and beautiful examples of the brand.

This exhibit opens publically on May 18th; however, there will be an opportunity to join us for an exhibit preview party on Friday, May 17th.   More details on tickets will be available soon.

A special thank you to our guest curators for this exhibit:  Rob Kain and Dave Russell.

Special Note:

We are currently in seach of the following models to be part of this exhibit:

  • Pre-1910
  • XLCR-1000
  • 1966-1978 Shovel
  • XR-750 or XR-1000

If you have one of these Harley-Davidson models that you would be willing to have on display, please connect with us via phone 717-566-7100 or email – info@AACAMuseum.org

Harley-Davidson Motorcycle 1

Partial Exhibit List:

1918 twin

1930 DL

1937 UL (flathead)

1948 Pan

1950 Pan custom chopper

1954 Hummer flat-tracker (restored)

1957 Servi-car

1957 Sportster

1960 MS-50 Sport

1960 Topper Scooter

1965 Pan

196X Pacer

1969 XLCH Sportster (restored)

1974 Baja 100

1975 350 (restored)

1975 Sportster (restored)

197X 250 Motocross

1981 AMF Sportster

1983 big twin touring

Note:  These motorcycles are expected as part of the exhibit; however, they are subject to change.