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Specialty Metals Rolled Out at Harley-Davidson Museum

At a Milwaukee museum, Perforated Metal, Wire Mesh, and Bar Grating embody the history and spirit of a legendary motorcycle company.

The Hole Challenge for the Harley-Davidson Museum

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a legendary motorcycle company memorialized its rich history with McNICHOLS® Specialty Metals and Gratings. Harley-Davidson, founded in 1903, planned to establish a museum that would educate visitors about their heritage and serve as a gathering place for the dedicated biker community.

A 20-acre industrial complex near the city’s downtown would serve as the location. Above all, it pays homage to the company’s birthplace and manufacturing legacy. The next task was to incorporate the same historical reflection in the architecture as well as exhibits. The design of the motorcycles was to serve as inspiration. Therefore, further influencing a sleek and mechanical look while embodying the brand’s adventurous and fun-loving spirit.

The Hole Solution for the Harley-Davidson Museum

Fulfilling all of the designers’ goals, a variety of metal materials throughout the museum now cohesively tie in the timeless biker aesthetic. McNICHOLS® Bar Grating, Wire Mesh, and Perforated Metal illustrate Harley-Davidson’s legacy of motorcycle, engine, and accessory production with authentic style. Not only do the products reinforce the playful and industrial themes, but they also perform a variety of functions throughout the facility.

Bar Grating display inside the Harley-Davidson Museum.
McNICHOLS® Bar Grating used to create this display at the Harley-Davidson Museum.

Bar Grating

McNICHOLS® Bar Grating serves several roles throughout the establishment. First, a traditional flooring and walkway capacity, serving as Stair Treads, surfaces for landings, and connecting the museum's three separate buildings with a suspended pedestrian bridge.

In vertical applications, the Grating provides guardrails for an observation deck. Lastly, a show-stopping exhibit installs Bar Grating panels at an angle rising from the ground floor. Atop this whimsical ramp, stunt motorcycles appear to be launching into the air.

Perforated Metal decoration inside the Harley-Davidson Museum.
Perforated Metal used as decoration at the Harley-Davidson Museum.

Perforated Metal

Perforated Metal is another McNICHOLS item that makes an impact throughout the museum. Primarily, it is utilized in a decorative capacity, these panels furnish accent walls and lighting fixtures. In the museum’s café, powder-coated custom perforated panels clad the walls and elevator area.

Wire Mesh security inside and outside the Harley-Davidson Museum.
Wire Mesh used for safety and security at the Harley-Davidson Museum.

Wire Mesh

The final specialty metal product used at the Milwaukee location is Wire Mesh. Indoors, this versatile item serves in the museum gift shop’s entryway, where it provides a security partition after hours. However, Wire Mesh infill panels ensure safety along a walkway that runs along the Menomonee River outside of the building.

The museum sits at the end of a peninsula, encircled by a body of water. Being so near to the river and the elements, the exterior metals needed to be corrosion-resistant. Durable Galvanized Steel ensures the exterior Bar Grating's longevity, while Stainless Steel primary material and a powder-coated finish protect the Wire Mesh. Additionally, these nature-resistant items help establish the museum’s unique and informal "museum on the street" where visitors can enjoy outdoor events and riders can rally.

Harley-Davidson Museum

In total, the 130,000-square-foot Harley-Davidson Museum houses more than 450 motorcycles and historical items. Since its debut in July 2008, it has quickly become a major landmark and tourist attraction. An estimated 300,000 visitors come through each year. Greatest of all, the museum is a central hub where both longtime bikers and the general public come together to celebrate the brand’s commitment to adventure for over a century. Longtime bikers and the general public come together to celebrate the brand’s commitment to adventure for over a century.

If you’d like to purchase Bar Grating, Perforated Metal, or Wire Mesh, contact us at 855.318.8791, [email protected], or via Live Chat on