It had been a while since we rolled into the Harley-Davidson Museum. The last time we went was in 2010 during the Evel Knievel show.
This weekend, we did the museum differently. My kids are a little older now, 8 and 9, so we decided to participate in the scavenger hunt, an option offered to little folks upon their arrival. It was fun. They ran around trying to find various motorcycles based on provided clues and then recorded them on a sheet of paper. (At the end, we brought the completed sheet to the gift shop and exchanged it for temporary Harley tattoos and stickers.)
The aspect of the museum that impresses me the most is the layout and the use of space. It's so fluid, easy to walk through and creatively designed. A motorcycle is suspended from the ceiling, others are displayed on ramps and tracks that jut dozens of feet into the air. It all feels modern, spacious, clean.
The current temporary show is "Watercolors by Willie G.," which runs through April 15, 2012. Willie G. Davidson is Harley's chief styling officer and the grandson of one of the founders. Many people are familiar with his motorcycle design contributions, but few were aware that the guy painted so skillfully.
Most of the paintings are not bike related. Instead, the subjects include a barn, shed, canoe, stump and one of a portion of a building that's cryptically called "rehab." Willy is clearly interested in shadows and paints them well. I imagine shadows are something most avid bikers see a lot of when on the road, mainly of their own and their motorcycles.
Some of the items in the paintings are on display in their actual form, like a chunky silver bracelet, as well as the sketches that inspired the watercolors. Having visual access to his process makes the exhibit more interesting.
I enjoyed his Native American watercolors the most. "What fascinates me is their intrinsic design ability which I think is an ultimate form of folk art," reads Willie G.'s words next to the cluster of paintings.
We also enjoyed checking out the custom bikes, particularly "Russ and Peg's" Harley that's bejeweled with thousands of hand-places rhinestones. It looks like something Elvis would have cruised around on.
Someday, I hope to own a Harley-Davidson. In the mean time, I'll just snoop around the H-D Museum and daydream about life on the road.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Molly Snyder
Published Aug. 29, 2015
In 2014, OnMilwaukee.com reported that Shannon and Gina Stangel bought the storied bar and lounge The New Yorker, 645 N. James Lovell St., and renamed it The Mason Jar. The Stangels have changed the name and concept of the bar and hope to introduce The High Note Karaoke Lounge to the public on Friday, Sept. 4.
Published Aug. 28, 2015
Recently, South Shore Terrace - an outdoor drinking and snacking space attached to South Shore Park's pavilion - joined the seemingly-and-hopefully-ever-growing collection of Milwaukee beer gardens.
Published Aug. 27, 2015
A new bar and restaurant concept is coming to the North Avenue bar scene next week when business partners Jay Stamates and Steve Gilbertson open The Winchester in the former Two Bucks space, 2321 N. Murray Ave.
Published Aug. 25, 2015
Anyone who's visited the South Shore Farmers' Market has most likely heard John Miller cranking out sweet sounds from his barrel organ - sometimes called a street organ. This past Sunday was Miller's last local performance for awhile. He leaves Thursday for a 3 1/2-year pipe organ builder's apprenticeship in Kürten, Germany.
Published Aug. 24, 2015
A Chicago-based organization announced a #WhereKindnessCounts competition to reward people $100 for doing acts of kindness. It's time to get even kinder, Milwaukee.
Published Aug. 22, 2015
The fact that a Shorewood resident named Eric "Shake" James and Darryl McDaniels from the legendary hip hip group Run-DMC opened a shoe boutique called Clicks, 1916 E. Capitol Dr., is a compelling story. The fact that McDaniels was at Clicks today, casually meeting fans, signing autographs and telling stories, is even more unbelievable.
Published Aug. 20, 2015
Last month, OnMilwaukee.com reported on Alana Wooldrige's missing dog, Fenrir, a pitbull she adopted in New Orleans who disappeared from her yard on July 21. After weeks of searching, social media posts and daily interactions with various animal organizations, Alana and Fen were reunited tonight.
Published Aug. 20, 2015
Today, there are more than 9,000 Aldi stores in 18 countries, and 20 in the metro-Milwaukee area. Here are 10 reasons to shop there. And a couple reasons not to.
Published Aug. 19, 2015
Jason McBrady and coworkers will open High Dive in the former Impala Lounge and Riverhorse space at 701 E. Center St. A grand opening party is set for Saturday.
Published Aug. 18, 2015
Because of the popularity of the restaurant, TomKen's Friendly Fried Chicken will undergo a major renovation and expansion project that started quietly this week and will, hopefully, conclude in October. Don't worry, Wing Night isn't going anywhere.