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National Motorcycle Museum reopens with new safety rules

A motorcycle on display at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. (Aaron Hosman/KCRG)
A motorcycle on display at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. (Aaron Hosman/KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: May. 26, 2020 at 5:10 PM CDT
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Two days after Gov. Kim Reynolds gave the go-ahead, the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa reopened Friday.

It's one of the few museums in eastern Iowa that decided to make that move, but it’s made changes in hopes to keep staff and visitors safe.

The donation box at the Museum sat nearly empty Tuesday after eight weeks of being closed. Bill Barber, the museum's director, said the time away wasn't easy.

"That was tough. Even though we weren't open the utilities continued, $1,200 dollar a month electric bills continued to mount, we have to just hope to make it back this year," Barber said.

Having to be closed in April and most of May was especially difficult and the first few days of opening have been slow.

"It's our busy time of the year with the public, they are on their rides, they are on their bikes, and this is the time they come through to visit," Barber said.

The museum is making adjustments that it hopes will make people feel more comfortable visiting during a pandemic. Staff will be wearing masks, and guests are encouraged to do the same. No children under 16 years old are allowed and the gift shop has a limit of no more than five people inside at a time to allow for social distancing.

"This kind of museum is a little different, because you're not handling items, you're not hands on, and you’re looking from a distance so you don't have to worry about that. We can space people out, we have a large building," Barber said.

Barber said thanks to the federal paycheck protection program, the 501 C-3 company was able to keep all seven of its employees through the shutdown.

"Would have went in debt without that, we were trying to keep our people on, keep our people with us," Barber said.

All Barber needs now is for people to find their way to the National Motorcycle Museum, where innovation is on display, and the exhibits are their own kind of escape.

"It's one of the neatest museums you're going to see, whether you like motorcycles or not, you're going to see something that amazes you," Barber said.

Around 25,000 people visit the museum annually.

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