HomeNews and EventsNew motorcycle exhibits featured at Harley, Crawford museums

New motorcycle exhibits featured at Harley, Crawford museums


On April 16, the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee opens a new display featuring the 1957 Model FL ridden by Mexican stunt rider and racer Alfonso Sotomayor Canales. 

“Harley-Davidson’s history in Mexico dates back to at least 1913,” the museum noted in its announcement. “In the 1920s, the brand was more frequently spotted throughout Mexico City as the motorcycles proved popular with the local traffic police who would also perform stunts with their Harley-Davidson bikes. 

“After racing from the 1930s into the 1960s, Sotomayor launched his own stunt-riding career by performing the famed “Salto de la Muerte” or Jump of Death.

Alfonso Sotomayor Canales in action

Meanwhile, the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, showcases a “Year of the Motorcycle” exhibition featuring the Dodge Tomahawk, which may have 4 separate wheels but otherwise is a motorcycle, albeit one powered by the 10-cylinder engine from a Dodge Viper sports car.

Viper-powered Tomahawk | Museum photo

In addition to the motorcycle exhibition, the museum notes that, “High school classes like wood shop, metal shop, and mechanical drawing were common curricula back in the 1970s and beyond. With an increasing national push toward higher education, and with greater costs associated with equipping shops, these interesting and valuable classes fell out of favor, nearly to the point of extinction.”

But because of changing interests and new awareness of the value of hands-on education, the museum has responded with its “Motogo in the Community” program.

“Cleveland’s own Skidmark Garage, a ‘self-service’ motorcycle repair facility, and its owners Brian Schaffran and Molly Vaughan have founded the incredibly popular Motogo program, which re-introduces high school age students to the exciting possibilities of a modern shop class within the scope of their traditional studies,” the museum reports. 

“No one will argue the importance of math, English or science, but tearing down and rebuilding a motorcycle engine not only provides a familiarity with hand tools, but also instills a sense of confidence in tackling projects with which one has no prior experience.

“Motogo strives to create a culture of equity, purposefully including women, communities of color, and the LGBTQ community in their outreach. Unlike earlier vocational education programs and shop classes, Motogo doesn’t necessarily prepare one for a career in the motor industry, but rather engages an ‘expanded intelligence’ in problem solving. Oftentimes, a solution needs to travel from the head to the hands.

Motogo participants in action | Museum photos

“Here at the Crawford, we’ve seen Motogo in action, with their program at Magnificat High School in Rocky River, a girls-only educational center concentrating on college preparation and professional careers. It was fun to see the girl’s Catholic school uniforms replaced by coveralls as they wrestled recalcitrant Honda motorcycles back to life. Educators at Magnificat understand the value of this alternate form of learning, and have devoted a purpose-built facility to the program. It’s one thing to walk across the stage on graduation day with a diploma, and another thing altogether to bring a pile of parts to life as a road-worthy motorcycle.

“The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum as well as the WRHS encourages everyone to become familiar with the innovative educational strategies of Motogo, and support them in every way possible, to ensure the future of alternative learning through ‘Bringing Back the Shop Class’.”

Kansas gets another car museum

Salina isn’t the only city in Kansas getting a new car museum. On April 24 at 10 a.m., the Graham County Auto and Art Museum opens in Hill City. 

According to a news release, it was Hill City native Fred Pratt who ventured the idea of such a facility and a “generous donation” from 1962 Hill City High School graduate Stephen Tebo helped make it possible. 

The museum is located in the original “Dean’s Service” gas station, which was renovated and expanded into an 8,000-square-foot museum. Featured vehicles on display include the 1964 Cadillac hearse that transported President Kennedy’s body from Parkland Memorial Hospital to Air Ford One in November 1963 (Tebo bought the car at auction in 2012). Also showcased is the Ford Model T featured in the movie Paper Moon

“After a tumultuous year, I’m honored to not only help provide something to bring the community together again but to help restore the vitality of the downtown area,” said Tebo, a commercial real estate developed in Boulder, Colorado, “who fondly remembers his first job at eight years old shining shoes at Rex’s Barbershop, which was located down the street from where Tebo’s Corner exists today.”

Lane Museum adds to its collection

1924 Heath-Henderson ice sled | Museum photo

Four new vehicles have been added to the collection of the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee: a 1959 Inter 175A Berline microcar, a 1963 Lotus Elite Type 14 Series 2, a 1939 New-Map Baby and a 1924 Heath-Henderson ice sled.

The Lane has a large array of unusual vehicles, and the ice sled should fit right in. It’s a propeller-driven iceboat built by Edward Bayard Heath from an illustration in Popular Mechanics magazine. Heath’s family owned a machine shop and he founded the E.B. Heath Aerial Vehicle Co. in 1913 in Chicago. 

The ice sled is powered by a 30-horsepower, air-cooled 4-cylinder Henderson motorcycle engine with a propeller. The Heath-Henderson B-4 unit was sold by Heath with propeller attached for $325, which helped make sport flying approachable, Lane notes. 

Heath sold kits, engines and aircraft plans through magazine ads. The ice sled blueprint cost $1.

Special events this weekend

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, will offer free admission to everyone who arrives at the facility in a Ford Mustang on National Mustang Day, April 17, and with a bonus perk for the first 100 Mustangs to arrive.

Also celebrating National Mustang Day is the Mustang Owners Museum, which will do a cruise from its facility in Concord, North Carolina, to visit the Holman Moody shop, among other locations.

The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, hosts a cars and coffee event from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m. on April 17. Only 50 cars can be accommodated so pre-registration is required.

Cars & Coffee returns to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in northeast Indiana from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. on April 17. Cars & Coffee cruise-ins are planned for the third Saturday of the month from April through September.

The California Automobile Museum in Sacramento offers the next episode in its “outdoor museum series” on April 17 with a showcase featuring the Capitol “A’s” from the Sacramento region of the Model A Ford Club of America.

DeLoreans from the Northern California DeLorean Motor Club will be featured April 17 from 10 a.m. until noon outside the Blackhawk Museum in Danville, California.

The former Muscle Car City museum in Punta Gorda, Florida, still has a cafe and periodic events, including a car show scheduled from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on April 17.

Mark your calendar

On April 23, the New York Historical Society museum opens an exhibition of 40 “zany paintings” by Bruce McCall, well-known New Yorker artist whose early career included doing automotive illustrations in Detroit. The exhibit runs through August 15.

The National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio, resumes in-person education programs April 24 at noon when museum staff member Charles Ohlin presents “The Packard Family and Their Pets,” a lighthearted look at the founding family and such animals as Towser, the Packard Motor Car Company mascot, Cupid the horse, and the two toy poodles that inherited Olive Packard’s wealth.

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg museum in northeast Indiana resumes its monthly free summer Classic Car Concert Series April 29, with additional programs the fourth Thursday of the month through August. The opening act is Whoa Man!, a group that celebrates women in rock. The concerts begin at 6 p.m.

The Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, opens its car show season May 1 with a new Mustang and Ford gathering featuring 1980s and ’80s Fox body vehicles.

The Mustang Owners Museum has moved its Spring Carolina Cruise to April 24 and its California Special Mustang Day to May 1. It also has delayed its annual National Mustang Day event until July 29-31. Also in May the museum hosts a Mustang Club of America showcase May 7-8, a Mustang first-generation car show May 15, a Spring Ford-garage sale May 22, a Mustang pace car day May 29, and a Memorial Day cruise May 31 hosted by Wrecking Crew Mustangs.

The California Automobile Museum in Sacramento stages the Cap City Motor Tour on May 1 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The Wally Parks NHRA Museum in Pomona, California, reopens May 1, though reservations through www.nhramuseum.org will be required until further notice, the museum reports. 

The Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, hosts a Boats at The Barns showcase May 8 with classic wood, fiberglass and aluminum boats on display.

The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, will stage a members-only event May 9 from 9 a.m. until noon, offering rides in a 1964 Amphicar at Percy Priest Lake. 

Beginning in May and running into September, the LeMay Family Collection in Tacoma, Washington, hosts a second Thursday “Cars and Comedy” evening starting at 6 p.m. The museum says to bring a picnic and enjoy an evening featuring local comedians.

On May 13, the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, will offer Ladies Night @ Lane from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., a happy hour event that will offer basic skills instruction for changing a tire, checking oil levels, etc. 

Vintage travel trailer will gather for a special showcase May 15 at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan.

Built in Oshawa for the war effort | Museum photo

The Canadian Automobile Museums Third Thursday Zoom presentation on May 20 at 7 p.m. covers “The Oshawa Worker at War,” with Jeremy Blowers of the Ontario Regiment Museum talking about the Oshawa auto workers’ contribution to the war efforts for WWI and WWII.

The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, opens a new exhibit, “A Recipe for Speed: Open-Wheel Racing,” on May 27. 

‘Got Gas?’book image by Jimmy Rosen | Museum photo

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, opens a new exhibit, “Keep on Truckin’” on May 21 to showcase the century-long evolution of the pickup truck. 

The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum hosts a cars and coffee event from 8 a.m. until noon on May 22 at its restoration and storage facility in Macedonia, Ohio.

Michael Schumacher and Paul Page will be inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame on May 27.

The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, opens a special exhibit, “RADwood on Display,” staring May 27, featuring cars and motorcycles and fashions from the 1980s and ‘90s.

The North East Motor Sports Museum in Loudon, New Hampshire, launches its 2021 outdoor events schedule June 5 with a showcase by the New Hampshire Muscle Cars, with visitors offered a chance to sit inside a 1,400-horsepower funny car during start up.

The Museum of Bus Transportation at Hershey, Pennsylvania, hosts its Spring Fling on June 5 to celebrate the “golden age” of bus and motorcoach transportation. Awards will be given for best of show 1950s and 1960s, oldest and traveled farthest to attend. For details, visit the museum website.

Britain’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu hosts its Simply Porsche car show on June 6.

The AMA Gypsy Tour charity motorcycle ride visits the North East Motor Sports Museum in Loudon, New Hampshire, on June 13.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, will host a “Sizzlin’ Summer Cruise In” from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on June 19. Among the event features will be a visit by Jimmy Rosen, his book on vintage gas stations, Got Gas?, and his 1947 Plymouth.

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, unveils a new exhibition, “Corvette Powered,” during the Memorial Day weekend. The exhibit will showcase non-GM vehicles (cars, boats and motorcycles) powered by the Corvette’s small-block V8 engine, including a 1958 Scarab, 1966 Excalibur, 1967 Bizzarrini Strada, 1977 Avanti II and others.

There is more than cars to see in Beaulieu, England, home to the National Motor Museum. From June 19 to August 30, the Beaulieu Palace House will showcase more than 250 sculptures in its gardens and inside the Montagu family home.

The Blackhawk Museum in Danville, California, hosts a Father’s Day car show on June 20.

The North East Motor Sports Museum in Loudon, New Hampshire, hosts the Nor-Eastern Pontiac Club for an outdoor car show on June 26.

Does your local car museum have special events or exhibitions planned? Let us know. Email [email protected]

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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