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National Motorcycle Museum Lays It Down

The Iowa museum will close due to financial struggles


The National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa, has provided two-wheeled enthusiasts a history of motorcycles since 1989. Unfortunately, all is not good in the Hawkeye State as the museum will close in September 2023.

According to a post on Facebook, museum co-founder Jill Parham says the decision to close came after “several years of struggling to cover the cost of wages and utilities partly due to low visitation.”

The museum resided in Sturgis, South Dakota, through 2001 when it moved to Anamosa, the home of the Parhams and their business, J&P Cycles. In 2010, the museum moved from downtown Anamosa to a new location on the outskirts of the city. However, co-founder John Parham passed away in 2017, and Jill and her son did what they could do to keep the museum afloat. Plus, the pandemic exacerbated things and the museum struggled to bounce back.

”It was a very hard decision and it was an emotional decision because you know my husband and I started this together but as I age I want a new chapter of my life I guess. So I actually because we can’t afford hardly any employees, I do the accounting and now I’m doing the directing of it,” says Parham.

The National Motorcycle Museum has operated as a non-profit corporation and is governed by a board of directors, so its funding comes from admissions, gift shop sales, fundraisers, donations and grants, among other methods.

The museum plans to be open tentatively through September 5, 2023, which will give travelers to Sturgis and the Davenport Blackhawk MC meet an opportunity to visit one last time before the motorcycles and memorabilia belonging to the museum will be liquidated.

Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in metropolitan Phoenix.


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