5 Exciting Highlights from the New Harley-Davidson Museum Exhibit that Aren't Motorcycles

In its sixteenth year, the Harley-Davidson Museum continues to amaze with its inventive exhibitions, drawing from the vast archive of the iconic motorcycle company while maintaining a fresh approach each time. The latest showcase, "Creating a Legend: Art & Engineering at Harley-Davidson," exemplifies this ingenuity, running until 2027.

While the exhibit does feature impressive motorcycles like the Brooks Stevens-designed 1949 Hydro Glide, it offers much more beyond the typical "Hog" fare. Ann Sinfield, Exhibits and Curatorial Lead, explains, "This exhibit delves into the fusion of art and engineering at Harley-Davidson, a foundational aspect of our heritage. We explore this through historical narratives, contemporary design processes, and even provide a hands-on experience for visitors to unleash their creativity."

Though not expansive, the exhibition is rich in detail, offering insights, photographs, artifacts, and more. Here are five noteworthy artifacts from the exhibit, none of which are motorcycles:

  1. "One Hundred Years of Motorcycling" painting by Scott Jacobs: Commissioned for the company's 100th anniversary in 2003, this painting, overseen by Willie G. Davidson, showcases the evolution of Harley-Davidson's design legacy.

  2. Artwork by Harley designers William Harley and Willie G. Davidson: Surprisingly, William Harley's sketches of wildlife, particularly ducks, offer a personal glimpse into the man behind the engineering genius.

  3. Willie G. Davidson's watercolors: As a pivotal figure in Harley-Davidson's design history, Willie G. not only shaped the company's aesthetic but also expressed his artistic talent through watercolors, some of which are on display.

  4. Hands-on tracing station: Visitors can engage directly with the design process by tracing or drawing motorcycles on display, offering a glimpse into the creative efforts behind Harley-Davidson's iconic designs.

  5. Clay models: Still vital in motorcycle design, clay models allow designers to visualize and refine their creations in three dimensions. From electric bikes to adventure tour motorcycles, these models provide insight into the evolution of Harley-Davidson's lineup.

Additionally, the exhibit features a mockup of the 2021 Sportster S, providing a tangible preview of forthcoming designs in a plastic, non-functional form.