Vintage Motorcycle in MuseumWhile outdoor motorsports don’t exactly have the same historical timeline as politics or wagon train travel, there is plenty to be learned from the past. When your vacations don’t allow time for tackling the trail, museums dedicated to the history of snowmobile or ATV-riding can offer a glimpse into the progression of your favorite pastime.

There are a wealth of museums around the country that highlight the astonishing evolvement that has come from mechanical invention, amazing engineering and the courage of riders willing to push machines to their next level. However, if you’re going to make a trek to the outdoor motorsports museums of this great country; you may as well hit up some of the best.

The Snowmobile Hall of Fame, located in St. Germain, Wisconsin has a wide selection of snowmobiles on display that chronicle the feats of modern design and engineering that have transformed sleds into the monsters they are today. Although only open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the off season, the Hall of Fame also spotlights riders that have had a major impact on the sport as a whole, and hosts riding events in the Winter months.  If you’re a die-hard sled head, this is the place for you – boasting the motto that so many sled championships have not been under the same roof anywhere else.

The American Motorcycle Association, commonly known as the AMA, acts as the curator for the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, where the history of motorcycle riding; both on and off road is chronicled. This incredible facility, located in Pickerington, OH charges an admission fee of just $10, or $25 for the whole family – making this an affordable stop on your next visit to Grandma & Grandpa in Ohio. With displays chronicling riding’s top athletes, as well as dirt track racing (and even some ATV’s) there is enough here to keep the whole family fascinated.

While the number of snowmobile museums greatly outnumber the amount of ATV-based museums, there is still an opportunity to learn from the history of eras of riders and machines gone by. By exposing yourself, and young riders especially, to older innovations, you’ll be fostering a sense of respect for your rides, as well as learning more about just how your machine works. With hobbies, as with the history of the world, we’re able to learn from the mistakes, and marvelous ideas, of the past in an effort to better the next generation of available quads and snowmobiles.

Machines don’t get better, faster and stronger on their own; there are people, with courage, mechanical understanding and crazy ideas behind them.  And museums, like these, offer a glimpse into the effect those crazy ideas had. Get out there and explore, but take time to pay homage to the past as well.