The New England Motorcycle Museum in Rockville, Connecticut, is a labor of lifelong motorcycle love. Undertaken by Ken Kaplan, who’s been a rider and enthusiast his entire life, the Museum occupies the historic Hockanum Mill. Over 200 years old, it’s a historic site in its own right. Unfortunately, like anything that stares down history for that long, it’s seen better days.
The combined events of 2020 and New England winter weather threw some additional obstacles in the NEMM’s path. You see, the original plan was to open a full motorcycle-themed restaurant, microbrewery, and bar in the space back in 2020. Kaplan and his team had been working on this project for over 10 years by this point, and the man himself invested his life savings into bringing this museum to the world.
Fast-forward to March, 2021, and thanks to the bad storms over the past couple of months, the roof is now caving in. It’s leaking, and Kaplan is asking motorcycle enthusiasts around the world for help in getting a new roof on. With a new roof, he says, the team can concentrate on restoring the rest of the complex, to build it into the worldwide motorcycle attraction he knows it can be.
Even as I type this, rain, ice, and snow are leaking into the building in multiple places, due to the severity of roof damage. If they can get a new roof in place, then they can concentrate on fixing all the other things inside the building that need attention. As long as more ice, snow, and water damage keeps destroying this historic landmark, it’s going to be that much harder to fix. At some point, it may even pass the point of no return.
If you’re interested in helping, Kaplan says in his fundraising appeal video that every single donation, of any amount, will get you free tickets to the museum once it’s open again. He’s offering some other rewards for higher donation tiers, which he outlines in the video. If you’re in the position to donate $100,000 or more, you could potentially have an entire building in the complex named after you. Hey, if it works for universities, why not this museum, right?
Check out the GoFundMe if you want to donate. If you’re not in a position to help, please share with your motorcycle-loving friends and family, if you can.