National Motorcycle Museum closes for good

The museum was packed on its final day, with some visitors traveling hundreds of miles to see the collection before it was too late.
Published: Sep. 4, 2023 at 10:20 PM CDT
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ANAMOSA, Iowa (KCRG) - After more than 30 years in Eastern Iowa, the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa is no more.

The museum, which operated as a nonprofit, closed its doors for good Monday after financial struggles that were worsened by the pandemic.

The museum was packed Monday—with some visitors who drove, or even flew—hundreds of miles to see the collection of Americana before it was too late. However, not everyone traveled from far away.

Robert Waalkens lives in Marion, just a short ride away, but the museum’s very last day was the first time he ever visited.

“I’ve ridden by this ton of times and just always assumed like, yeah, I’ll be able to stop out and see it anytime I want to,” said Waalkens.

Waalkens was in good company. Jill Parham, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the museum, said the number of visitors to the museum climbed the closer they got to closing. She said they’d seen close to 1,000 people on Monday alone, with still a few hours left to go until close.

“They’re coming from all over, even from other countries,” said Parham.

Parham has been keeping the museum going after the death of her husband, John Parham, in 2017.

“I am splitting up my husband’s collection,” said Parham. “I’m going to have a new chapter in my life that I don’t know how to handle, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Parham has spent the last several years grappling with the museum’s financial struggles, so she’s ready. However, for those new to the museum, like Waalkens, they feel like they’re losing something before they ever really got to know it.

“I’m surprised it’s actually going anywhere that— I kind of figured it would stick around for a long time,” said Waalkens.