History, with all The Dust Blown Off

Traveling into the past is a thrill when you ride with Harley-Davidson.

Harley-Davidson Archives

Harley-Davidson has been preserving its history for over 100 years. Before moving to the Museum in 2008, the Archives was housed at the company’s Juneau Avenue headquarters in Milwaukee behind closed doors. Now on display to the public in museum exhibits, the collection is also used for research by various departments of the Motor Company, providing background or inspiration for many tasks ranging from marketing to new product development.

Only a small portion of the Archives collection is on view in the museum at a given time. Several hundred vehicles are stored on the third floor of the Archives building, and the second floor houses thousands of objects such as collectibles and toys, parts and accessories, clothing and riding gear, art, documents, and photographs.

From The Archives

  • Vehicle profile:

    1986 Softail Custom – The Harley Fox

    Customization is the creative, visual, expression of a rider’s personality. While many prefer to leave their machines as they received it from the dealer, others choose to make their ride distinctive by giving it a personal touch. This practice may consist of a few minor additions or subtractions all the way to full-blown tailoring. One such customized bike is the 1986 FXSTC Softail Custom known as the “Harley Fox.”

    Read the Full Story

    1986 Softail Custom – The Harley Fox
    1986 Softail Custom – The Harley Fox
  • Vehicle profile:

    1960 XLH Sportster®
    “Mrs. Sup Jr.”

    Women have been riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles since the earliest days of the sport. Seeking independence and driven by the desire to do something new and exciting, female riders took to the roads and haven‘t looked back. As we celebrate 110 years of Harley-Davidson, we also honor this legacy and the miles to come. Join us as we observe Women‘s Riding Month, culminating in a special Ladies Bike Night at the Museum on May 30th.

    Read the Full Story

    1960 XLH Sportster®
    1960 XLH Sportster®
  • Did you know?

    Pioneering Women

    By 1921, when Harley-Davidson began marketing to “girls” as more than just passengers, the first solo women riders were long gone – opening up new roads to adventure on their own

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    Headlight Advertising, 1930
    Della Crewe
  • Vehicle profile:

    1915 Stripped Stock
    Model 11-K

    At the end of 1914 Harley-Davidson management found they could no longer ignore the growing popularity of motorcycle racing. As dangerous as they found it, company officials were also businessmen and knew success on the track would pay off in dealers‘ showrooms. A supplement to the 1914 literature outlined a made to order race bike built to customer‘s specifications. In 1915, the Motor Company would offer the first factory race bikes available to the
    general public.

    Read the Full Story

    1915 Stripped Stock Model 11-K
    Factory race team members Leslie “Red” Parkhurst (L) and Joe Wolters (R) pose on their motorcycles. Parkhurst is on a Model 11-KT. Wolters is on a model 11-KR.
  • Artifact Spotlight:

    H.O.G. Rocker Patches

    At the entrance to the museum exhibits, there is a case of H.O.G. patches representing individual chapters of the Harley Owners Group from around the world. H.O.G. members proudly announce their regional affiliation with these patches called “chapter rockers.” Local chapters are sponsored by Harley-Davidson dealers, and there are currently chapters in over 70 countries, totaling more than 1400 different groups. H.O.G. chapters are invited to bring a large chapter rocker for display in this exhibit case during their visit to the museum.

    H.O.G. Rocker Patches
    H.O.G. Rocker Patches on display at the Harley-Davidson Museum.

Donating An Artifact

If you wish to offer an item to the permanent collections of Harley-Davidson, please mail or e-mail the following to the address below:

  • A detailed description of the item
  • A photograph of the item
  • Your complete contact information, including phone number

Your submission will be reviewed by the Archives and Curatorial Staff of Harley-Davidson. If we are interested in acquiring the item for the Harley-Davidson Archives collections, you will be contacted for further information. Unfortunately, the Archives cannot accept unsolicited donations.

 

Harley-Davidson Archives

Attn: Archives Manager
500 W Canal Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202

donations@harley-davidson.com
 

Admission
Adult $20
Senior (age 65+) $14
US Military (w/ID) $14
Student (w/ID) $14
Child (age 5-17) $10
Child under 5 Free
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Hours and location

Open everyday 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. and until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays

Harley-Davidson Museum
400 W Canal Street
Milwaukee, WI 53201
1-877-HD-MUSEUM or 414-287-2789

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