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July 18, 2013
Wow, for once you are darned lucky living in or near Chicago. Besides a town with a serious commitment to cycling, the Museum of Science and Industry just opened an exhibit called "Art of the Bicycle" that will run for five years. There simply not enough opportunities to see the historic breadth and beauty of the world of cycling.
Washington DC's Smithsonian shows bikes. Philadelphia's Franklin Museum has a nice installation. The Ford Museum has some artifacts, including the Wright Bros. early shop. Besides a few stellar store collections (check Classic Cycles if you're near Bainbridge Is, WA) that's it.
At least there are periodic installations, but we deserve more permanent collections. The consummate collector, Pryor Dodge, has arranged many traveling exhibits of his machines. I can remember the almost-electric excitement that accompanied the Oakland Museum's 1999 bicycle exhibition. It featured bikes from Pryor's unique collection and many from the Bay Area. Machines from Ralph Igler and Wheelsmith in Palo Alto were seen. It was a terrific celebration with evening programs featuring industry pioneers. Loads of kids got a head start with that presentation.
Chicago's program runs through 2018 and will change each of us fortunate enough to attend. If you know a good museum or exhibition, let us know. I'd like to publicize every opportunity that show's the fascinating and storied history of cycling.
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