After nearly 22 years in Anamosa, the National Motorcycle Museum announced in a Facebook posting Sunday that it will close in September and auction off much of its collection.
The closure will come about 5 1/2 years after the death of museum co-founder John Parham following a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis. His widow, Jill, is chair of the museum’s nonprofit board, which said in a news release that the decision to close came after several years of struggling to cover the cost of wages and utilities, “partly due to low visitation.”
John Parham in 1979 founded and with his wife ran J&P Cycles, an Anamosa national motorcycle parts company now helmed by their son, Zach. The company runs a pop-up store annually in Sturgis, South Dakota, during that city’s world-famous motorcycle rally, and in 2001 moved the museum from Sturgis, where it had operated for 12 years, to Anamosa.
It initially thrived there in a downtown location. In 2010, it moved to a far larger location on the outskirts of the city. It displays a wide variety of historic motorcycles as well as memorabilia and bicycles.
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It has been the site over the years of visits by presidential candidates both Republican and Democratic during the leadup to the Iowa caucuses.
The news release said the museum has contacted the owners of loaned motorcycles and that motorcycles belonging to the Museum “will be liquidated at auction to pay bills,” adding that much of the Parhams’ personal collection also will be sold.
It said motorcycle enthusiasts who want to be informed about the sale should sign up to receive emails at the museum’s website, nationalmcmuseum.org.
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The tentative closure date is Sept. 5, it said, providing an opportunity for final visits, particularly by those heading to the Sturgis rally in August and the annual Chief Blackhawk motorcycle meet in Davenport Sept. 1-3.