Harley-Davidson Museum breaks ground on new event venue

The stunt performance was part of a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site of the new Garage venue.

The Harley-Davidson Museum on Thursday broke ground for construction of its new year-round event venue, The Garage.

Construction on the 8,200-square-foot single-story building is expected to wrap in spring 2022. The new Garage will replace the museum’s seasonal event space, Chrome, on the southeast corner of the 20-acre riverfront property at 400 W. Canal St. in Milwaukee. The project was first announced in May.

The new Garage venue is already booking up quickly for spring 2022 and beyond, said Aimee Wiedmeyer, director of operations at H-D Museum, during a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday. 

Museum officials and other community leaders, including VISIT Milwaukee’s Peggy Williams-Smith gathered at the event, which included a surprise appearance by a stunt driver on Harley-Davidson’s new Pan American 1250 motorcycle.

“This new events building is really more to us than just another event space to add to our great venue,” said Wiedmeyer. “It’s really a symbol of optimism that we have for the future of Harley-Davidson Museum, the future of the Menomonee Valley and the future of the city of Milwaukee as one of the premier destinations around the globe — all those visitors coming our way.”

H-D Museum’s event arm, 1903 Events, operates several gathering spaces on the campus, including Rumble for up to 440 people, Motor Bar & Restaurant for up to 200 people, 1903 Bridge/Patio 13 for up to 60 people, and Bolt for up to 30 people

Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony began with a moment of silence to remember Nancy Davidson, known as the ‘First Lady of Motorcycling,’ who died earlier this week after a long battle with lung cancer. She was 89.

Nancy Davidson was married to Bill ‘Willie G.’ Davidson, the former senior vice president and chief styling officer at Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson and grandson of one of Harley’s founders, William A. Davidson, and the son of William H. Davidson, former Harley president.

Wiedmeyer said she will remember Nancy Davidson for her individual spirit, her vibrant smile, and “as one close to her said, ‘No body wore Chuck Taylors better.'”

‘The Garage’ is also the name of the museum’s existing venue that’s been used for large-size events since the campus opened in 2008. Plans are still being finalized for the future of that 9,284-square-foot space, but it currently remains open for bookings, said Tim McCormick, public relations and project manager at the H-D Museum. 

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Maredithe Meyer covers restaurants, retail, tourism, and sports and entertainment. She joined BizTimes in 2015, previously as an intern reporter. She earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University in 2017. When she's not on the job, Maredithe coaches field hockey and loves exploring her favorite city on earth, Milwaukee.

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