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H-D Museum Displays The Helmet Project

Monday, October 26, 2009
Helmets: Against ‘em or for ‘em you can’t ignore ‘em.
Alex De Angelis crashes on the second corner of the first lap - 2009 MotoGP Misano
MotoGP rider Alex De Angelis demonstrates the importance of a good motorcycle helmet the hard way.
These words were tweeted by the curators of the Harley-Davidson Museum to promote its latest display called The Helmet Project. The exhibit, in honor of this staple of motorcycle safety that often becomes an object of controversy, opened Friday and will be on display through Nov. 8.

The Helmet Project is a joint venture between the H-D Museum and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD). The project enlisted the services of 100 art and design students, 10 faculty members and plenty of the Museum’s staff to create a display about the history of helmets using artifacts from the H-D Museum’s archives. In addition, students were asked to ‘deconstruct the conventional notion of a helmet and re-envision its function and meaning through art and design that pushes visual and conceptual boundaries.’ Students used out-of-the-box thinking to create helmets out of wax, steel, and even vinyl, making intriguing sculptures that combine art with the art of protection. The MIAD students were also responsible for putting the show together, from marketing to making the exhibit.
H-D Museum
The Harley-Davidson Museum has teamed up with the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design for The Helmet Project.
"Harley-Davidson is renowned for its iconic motorcycle designs - both the industrial design of the motorcycle and the artistic design of distinct paint, graphics, parts and accessories," said the H-D Museum’s Curatorial Director, Jim Fricke. "The Helmet Project was expressly developed to create an ambitious college-wide project focusing on art and design - skills that are very important to Harley-Davidson. Our rewarding partnership with MIAD has resulted in an exhibition that is informative, bold and fun and will interest fans of art and design, history, motorcycling, and pop culture."
Under the project leadership of Fricke, the MIAD students were able to create a ‘dynamic history of helmets and address the debate surrounding the helmet relative to motorcycling and other sports.’ The Harley-Davidson Museum specifically challenged MIAD Sculpture, Integrated Studio Arts and Industrial Design students ‘to react to and extend the rich history of helmet design.’ The project also targeted Interior Architecture + Design and Communication Design students ‘to design, fabricate and install the exhibit.’
Rossi was sporting a special donkey helmet for his home GP.
When it comes to motorcycle helmets, MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi always comes up with some of the craziest graphics for his lids.

In addition to The Helmet Project, there is a headdress activity area where visitors can create their own helmet art at the ‘ever-evolving helmet display.’ There’s also a ‘Doodle Your Noodle’ design station where kids can create their own ‘mini’ helmet to take home with them. A special panelist discussion will be held this Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. called "Inside The Helmet Project" and will provide insight into the history of helmets and recant stories about the two-month collaborative project from MIAD, the H-D Museum and industry expert panelists.
The Helmet Project is set up in the Garage exhibition space just west of the Museum building. The Harley-Davidson Museum sits at 400 West Canal Street in downtown Milwaukee, on the corner of 6th and Canal Streets. Admission to The Helmet Project is included with the ticket price to the Museum.

MIAD is Wisconsin's only college that caters exclusively to the education of professional artists and designers. The school was founded in 1974 and awards a bachelor of fine arts degree in 11 majors.
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HDBreeze -What is wrong with you people?  November 3, 2009 12:14 PM
Harley is trying to do something nice for the visiters to the museum, and all you guys can do is make stupid comments? It's fools like you all that give motorcycling a bad name! This is the first exhibit of this kind anywhere. Is it possible this can create some safety awareness with regards to helmets and motorcycle riding?
SilverCBR -What a joke.  October 28, 2009 09:41 AM
So the exhibit will basically consist of a hall closet at the Harley Museum with a laundry basket full of bandanas.

Harley riders aren't bad ass and haven't been for a long time now. When I hit bike night all I see are a bunch of business guys who dropped $30+K on their Harley and picked out all the chrome they could fit on the bike from the Harley catalog. They throw on their Harley shirts, ride across town for a beer (trying to look tough), then head home before it gets dark. Most of their bikes barely have any miles on them as they are garage trophies.
Tim B -J Bailey  October 28, 2009 09:23 AM
Of course you don't see a helmet! Harley is all about image and so are it's riders. They think they're too "tough" and too "cool" to wear helmets. Wearing a helmet would ruin their "look", their "toughness", and their "manliness" or so they think. Cracking their skulls open on the pavement will hurt it more. But think about it...Harley relies on this image to sell bikes. If it didn't have this image and the people who buy into the imaged and the "lifestyle" it would sell a lot less, especially if people started comparison shopping and seeing specs and the bottom line from other companies.
J Bailey -LOL  October 27, 2009 11:01 AM
In the picture with the sea of H-D's, I don't see a single helmet worn!
Enigma66 -Useless Helmet?  October 27, 2009 09:58 AM
“Officials said the woman was wearing a “lid” type helmet, which came off when she hit the ground”

Tim B -Haha! This is the definition of irony!  October 27, 2009 09:15 AM
Ask most Harley riders and they will tell you that the only real motorcycles are Harleys. They will tell you "real" riders ride Harleys and helmets are for pussies. This honestly is one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. The good thing is there isn't much worth protecting in the heads of most (notice I didn't say all) Harley riders so I'm all for them riding without a helmet! It's called Darwinism...survival of the fittest.
Tom B. -Safe Harley Rider = Oxymoron  October 27, 2009 08:37 AM
Safe Harley Rider - isn't that an Oxymoron. What's next, ads for proper brakes?
Guy -Harley Helmet Sales are down...and...  October 27, 2009 03:15 AM
They need to keep as many of their clients around, since they are dieing off of natural causes... Progression of Harley's current marketing strategy: Harley Motorcycle - Harley Hover Round (Or Rascal if you prefer a less technology handy capable scooter) - Harley Coffin. All at twice the price, but they come with neat stickers and a dew rag.
Phil H -What happened to being a "badass"?  October 26, 2009 09:46 PM
Now this is interesting - all of a sudden HD is getting all soft and touchy feely on its customers with "making intriguing sculptures that combine art with the art of protection."

What happened to "Freedom to be a badass"? (as touted in HD's latest promo video)?

Talk about mixed (read: confusing and confused!) marketing messages...