Downtown Tacoma museum to showcase a century of Pacific Northwest motorcycle history

Downtown Tacoma’s Washington State History Museum is set to open a new exhibit later this month that will showcase the history and culture of motorcycling in the Pacific Northwest.

The exhibit, which opens on Sat., Jan. 26 and is entitled Let’s Ride! Motorcycling the Northwest, takes visitors on a journey of discovery to explore the past century of motorcycling, its culture and its communities. According to museum officials, Northwesterners have been enthralled with the adventure of riding since the early 1900s, both for business and for pleasure, and the activity has played an important part in shaping our young region’s history. With nearly two dozen rare machines on display, Let’s Ride! Motorcycling the Northwest combines the artistry and science of motorcycles with the history of motorcycling.

“It’s remarkable how much the history of motorcycling reflects the Northwest’s great themes of cultural diversity, urbanization, conflict and community,” said Jennifer Kilmer, the director of the Washington State Historical Society. “This exhibit is another lens through which we can study our state and our region’s unique history, while exciting visitors with the allure of motorcycles and the romanticism of riding the open road.”

Visitors will learn about the experience of motorcycling through interactive exhibits, videos, and impressive displays of antique machines from 1906 up to machines from the 21st century. Exhibit highlights include a motorcycle owned by Steve McQueen, an early United Parcel Service delivery bike, the discovery of Washington’s first motorcycle, the iconic Seattle Mariner machine, and a look at Moses Lake’s own Evel Knievel.

In addition to the exhibit, the museum will host a series of special events, such as seminars for beginning and advanced cyclists, two motorcycle club rallies (on April 13 and May 11 to raise money for school transportation), First Friday gallery talks and viewings of classic motorcycled-themed films.

More information is available online at