National Motorcycle Museum Is Closing

National Motorcycle Museum Is Closing

We have sad news for motorcycle enthusiasts across the country. The National Motorcycle Museum has announced that it will close its doors for good. The last day the museum will be open is September 4, 2023.

Located in the town of Anamosa, IA, the National Motorcycle Museum has for the past 22 years exhibited one of the most significant collections of riding history in the U.S. Their collection features more than 500 motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters, including some real rarities. Some highlights of the bikes are a 1936 Norton International Road Racer, a 1927 Brough Superior SS100 Pendine, and a 1937 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead.

As a collective, non-profit effort, many of the machines are on loan from private enthusiasts from all around the world. In addition to the bikes, the museum has displayed a wide variety of memorabilia, photographs, sculptures, artwork, posters, riding paraphernalia, and toys.

Unfortunately, financial struggles are now forcing the museum’s doors shut. The National Motorcycle Museum’s Board of Directors—led by chairman and museum founder Jill Parham—has determined they simply don’t have the funds to keep the lights on anymore. “We have struggled for several years to cover wages and utilities, partly due to low visitation,” Parham said in a statement.

The museum has contacted the owners of loaner motorcycles to ship their bikes back to them. The motorcycles the museum owns—including much of the renowned Parham Collection—will be sold at an auction hosted by Mecum Auctions on September 6-9 to settle final bills. More than 300 museum-worthy vintage bikes will be on offer at the auction, alongside 6,000 pieces of road art.

The lights at the National Motorcycle Museum will turn off for the last time at the end of the day on September 4. All of us at RoadRUNNER wholeheartedly encourage all motorcycle fans and riders to make one final pilgrimage to the museum. If you’re attending the Sturgis Rally (August 4-13) or the Chief Blackhawk Meet in Davenport (August 31-September 2), make some time in your schedule to go and say goodbye to an irreplaceable piece of American motorcycling history.

If you’re interested in bidding for one of the beautiful antique motorcycles, you must pre-register with Mecum Auctions. The registration price is $100. There will be a preview day on September 5, and remote bidding online and over the telephone are available for those unable to attend the auction in person.

The National Motorcycle Museum was founded in 1989 by J&P Cycles founders John and Jill Parham. As one of only six non-profit motorcycle museums in the U.S., the organization was supported in large part by the donations and sponsorships of American motorcycle enthusiasts. Over the years, the museum’s collection grew from 40 bikes to regularly featuring 550 motorcycles.