Harley museum opens this weekend

The new Harley-Davidson Museum opens this weekend at the east end of the Menomonee River Valley, just south of downtown Milwaukee. The three-building, 130,000-square-foot museum complex includes a main museum building, an archives building and a building with a retail store (called "The Shop"), café and a restaurant. The restaurant will serve American cuisine "inspired by the road," according to Harley spokeswoman Amanda Lee.

The museum is expected to attract about 350,000 visitors a year. Visitors will see motorcycle models from the company’s 105 year history, an exhibit dedicated to Harley motorcycles in the movies and on television and artifacts from the company’s history including early stock certificates and workers "on-strike" sign.

The museum sits on a 20-acre site, which includes a significant amount of green space, a new riverwalk and a statue of a hill-climbing Harley rider. The site has enough room to host an event with up to 15,000 people, and the museum complex has indoor meeting space that could accommodate groups of 1,000.

The site’s landscaping includes 700 plants, shrubs and trees. "This is like a cool new green area to hang out downtown," Lee said.

The Harley museum is the second major tourism development in the Menomonee Valley this year. In June, Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 1721 W. Canal St., opened the first phase of its 500,000-square-foot, $240 million expansion. Additional phases of the expansion will be opened during the remainder of this year.

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