The Harley-Davidson Museum opened in 2008
This exhibit of motorcycles racing along a banked wooden track is located in the museum's Clubs and Competition gallery.
The museum exhibits change throughout the year thanks to an archive of historic motorcycles.
Highlights of the museum include this replica of the Captain America bike from the iconic Hollywood movie Easy Rider.
Backstory and Context
Childhood friends William Harley and Arthur Davidson founded the company in Milwaukee in 1903. They began building engines out of available parts within a small wooden shack. Within a few years, they were able to open a small factory and quickly grew their company and developed the company's iconic V-shaped engine. The company soon sold their products to the American military, which bought tens of thousands of bikes during World War I. While the nation was home to dozens of motorcycle companies in the early 20th century, Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycle were the only two American motorcycle manufacturers to survive the Great Depression. As a result, the U.S. military again placed large orders with Harley-Davidson during World War II.
Harley-Davidson experienced changes in ownership in the 1960s, and the company went public in 1965. A decline in finances saw AMF sell its stake back to the current owners, which included members of the founding families. The Davidson family’s involvement in the day-to-day running of the company continues, with Willie G. Davidson serving as President of Styling.
"Harley-Davidson Motorcycle History." MotoUSA. February 24, 2008. http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/684/2625/Motorcycle-Article/Harley-Davidson-Motorcycle-History.aspx.