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National Motorcycle Museum's 'Early American Transportation Innovation' exhibit

National Motorcycle Museum’s ‘Early American Transportation Innovation’ exhibit

April 24, 2019


National Motorcycle Museum, Anamosa, IA –  Acting on a tip from a Museum supporter, about two years ago the National Motorcycle Museum learned of an aviation and cycle car collection in Minnesota that needed a new home. A GoFundMe campaign was launched making a call for support in acquiring the 42 foot wingspan 1911 Aerohydroplane and cycle car in storage for decades. Important for their innovation, and original condition, the Aerohydroplane and car were the work of Chicago aviation inventor James Stephens.

Photo – Scott Abing


In 2016 the plane was disassembled by three antique aviation experts, loaded into two tractor trailers and brought to the National Motorcycle Museum where later the men reassembled it. Surrounded by innovative pre-1920 American motorcycles, bicycles, toys and memorabilia the Early American Transportation Innovation exhibit is now open. “So many interesting approaches to transportation were tried, so many patents established in these early years. The motorcycles, bicycles and the airplane show so much interesting and creative American innovation,” says National Motorcycle Museum chairman, Jill Parham. “This was a challenging project in so many ways. We are grateful to the Minnesota Air & Space Museum for donating the collection, the monetary donations of support and for all the volunteers who helped get it installed in our Museum.” Motorcycles on display include a replica 1869 Roper Steam Cycle, Flying Merkel, Iver Johnson, Reading Standard, Excelsior, Thor, Sears, Thomas, the very rare Blue Bird and Crouch plus fine Indians and Harley-Davidsons.

Photo – Scott Abing


National Motorcycle Museum Information:

The National Motorcycle Museum has over 500 motorcycles and thousands of pieces of memorabilia, toys and ad artwork on display.

Photo – Scott Abing


Museum exhibits represent machines made everywhere in the world. Merkel and Thor are among early American brands on display in the Museum, but Harley-Davidson and Indian motorcycles are the best represented American bikes. European makers like Ducati, Moto-Guzzi are here, plus British marques such as Triumph, BSA and Norton. Smaller British and Japanese road and off-road bikes are represented well in the Museum as well. There is an amazing 600+ piece toy collection which also includes several rare pedal cars. Over 30 antique bicycles and early advertising art are on display. There’s even a fully restored 1920’s Shell Motor Oil Service Station!

Photo – Scott Abing


The National Motorcycle Museum is located in Anamosa, near Cedar Rapids, Iowa and is open daily, year around, closed only on New Years Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Seasonal daily hours are on the Museum website as is a short video tour to give you a taste of Museum exhibitions.

Museum admission is only $15.00 except during special events. Children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.

Museum members are admitted free. CLICK HERE to learn more about becoming a member of the National Motorcycle Museum. 

For more information, email the Museum at

or call: 319-462-3925


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