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The Evel Knievel Museum


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My Evel Knievel Museum Visit — June 15, 2018

As an Evel Knievel fan since childhood, I always wanted to see Evel Knievel jump in person, but never got the chance. When I found out that Historic Harley-Davidson in Topeka, Kansas opened an Evel Knievel museum, I hopped on a plane from LA and headed for Topeka and boy was I impressed. In a way it’s like you really meet Evel Knievel; his presence seems to be everywhere you go. I really enjoyed my visit. Here are a few things I’ll call out (see below):

The flow of the museum works — You start your tour by walking down a long hallway reminiscent of a gladiator of old walking through a tunnel of a Roman coliseum to meet your competitor death. That’s what Evel did throughout his career. The bottom floor chronologically follows Robert Knievel as he becomes his alternate persona Evel Knievel who then becomes a global phenomenon and super hero to millions. The second floor shows the affect his career had on our culture along with other interactive goodies.

Attention to detail— Every aspect of Evel’s life is carefully documented. All his major jumps are feature with detailed descriptions, video, photos, actual leathers and motorcycles. The staff and collectors made sure every “i” was dotted and “t” was crossed. The displays are well designed and easy to follow throughout the museum.

Memorabilia and Artifacts — When you see everything that Evel owned and what was produced under the Evel Knievel brand in one location, it’s astonishing how much he influenced our culture in the 1970’s. You name it, it’s here. From leathers, helmets, motorcycles and toys to person articles of clothing, jewelry, medical x-rays, an Indy Car and personal vehicle, it’s all here! I’ve been told everyday something new appears at the museum.

Big Red— Evel’s fully restored Mack truck that became an icon in the 1970’s has been restored exactly to how it appeared when Evel used it. It is a perfect restoration and a work of art unto itself. Just to see it in person is worth your trip.

Also included is Evel’s actual ramps that he used during his daredevil career.

Interactivity— This museum is not just for guys who grew up in the 70’s, but people of all generations to enjoy it. There are interactive displays on the wall on the second floor where you can spin an image of Evel around and highlight different parts of his body. The curser let’s you select an area and it tells you what bone he broke and what jump the accident occurred. There’s even a video showing the jump. Very high-tech and interesting. They also have a large interactive screen where you can set your ramp angles and speed of Evel on a motorcycle and see if he can make a jump over a long line of vehicles. Very fun. But for the ultimate experience, take the 4-D Virtual Reality jump for just a few dollars more. This is where you can virtually jump Evel’s motorcycle over a long line of police vehicles in Downtown Topeka. Believe me, it’s a lot of fun to do and watch others do it too. I’ve seen kids, bikers and elderly people get on that XR-750 and fly across those cars. And if you need to rest, there’s a movie theater showing Evel’s movies and television appearances.

X-2 Test Skycycle— They have an original condition skycycle in a special display room sitting on the actually metal ramp that launched Evel up in the air. To be more authentic, the ramp is sitting on dirt taken from the jump site in Twin Falls, Idaho! That’s right, this is how detailed this museum is. Even old 1974 beer cans that were found at the jump site are there too!

The Staff — Every staff member I met and talked to were very friendly and knowledgeable. Great people who really enjoy being there to share their museum with visitors.

Merchandise— After you finish your tour, you end up in the gift shop and it is loaded with Evel Knievel themed merchandise. I found the museum’s logo to be very eye catching and well designed. Whenever I wear my museum shirt out in the public, I always get a comment about how cool it looks.

So there you have it. A well worth visit and I’m looking forward to visiting again. Be sure to plan a minimum of 2 hours for your visit. I was there for four! And thank you to the owners, collectors, restorers and curator who assemble such a great collection in one location.

Viva Knievel!

These photos were taken June 15, 2018 at the Evel Knievel Thrill Show Museum in Topeka, Kansas. Thanks to the staff of Topeka Harley-Davidson and the Evel Knievel Museum for making this day special!