The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Sunday, March 25, 2018

Evel Knievel museum celebrates American daredevil
Jeff Handley, staff member at the Evel Knievel Musuem, helps visitor Kevin Diehl as he uses the virtual reality game to experience jumping over a group of police cars in Topeka, Kansas on June 21, 2017. Step through the doors of the Evel Knievel Museum in Kansas and you come face to face with a bright red, 63-foot semi-truck. It is the oversized home of the larger-than-life American stunt man when he was on tour in the 1960s and 70s. The truck is restored to look as it did decades ago, with the ramps used by the famed motorcyclist to achieve his jumps stored in the back. Beth Lipoff / AFP.

by Beth Lipoff

TOPEKA (AFP).- Step through the doors of the Evel Knievel Museum in Kansas and you come face to face with a bright red, 63-foot semi-truck.

It is the oversized home of the larger-than-life American stunt man when he was on tour in the 1960s and 70s.

The truck is restored to look as it did decades ago, with the ramps used by the famed motorcyclist to achieve his jumps stored in the back.

Knievel reached worldwide recognition with death-defying performances notable as much for unsuccessful landings as successful ones.

His daredevil spirit made him an American folk hero -- wearing his trademark suit with the stars of the American flag and its red, white, and blue colors.

But until now, there has been no museum dedicated to his career.

"He was just a cultural leader. And I think whether you liked him or not, everyone watched," said Mike Patterson, founder of The Evel Knievel Museum, which officially opens Friday in the Kansas state capital of Topeka.

"Kids all over the world were jumping their bicycles (like him)," said Patterson, who built the museum next to his Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership in the center of the area known as "America's heartland" -- the vast middle of the country.

From children's toys to virtual reality
Born Robert Craig Knievel, the daredevil star died in 2007 at the age of 69 -- his dream of a museum unrealized.

The new institution -- which was officially sanctioned by the Knievel family -- aims to celebrate his legacy with physical memorabilia, including four of Knievel's motorcycles and his various colorful outfits.

There are videos of jumps from all over the world -- from nearby Kansas City to London's Wembley Stadium -- and a virtual reality ride that allows visitors to sit astride a motorcycle and experience a jump.

Another interactive display lets visitors adjust variables such as speed, ramp angle and obstacle, to see if they can plan a successful stunt.

There are also two replica bikes, a timeline wall of his career, news clips and documentary photos of his stunts, and a plethora of merchandise, from keychains to children's toys.

The museum quietly opened its doors in May for a test run, more than a month before its Friday grand opening. It has already attracted visitors from 34 states, and countries as far away as Australia and Zimbabwe.

'America needed a hero'
For 58-year-old Randy Carlton, a visitor from Texas who remembers watching Knievel on television as a child, the museum was an educational experience.

"I can't imagine doing what he did on the equipment he did it on," he said, explaining that the heavy motorcycles Knievel used were "like jumping with a John Deere tractor."

The museum's location at a Harley-Davidson dealership is in part due to Patterson's personal passion for Knievel, who often used a Harley-Davidson XR-750 motorcycle to perform his stunts.

"In the early '70s, America needed a hero. It was a politically unstable time, and he represented what a lot of people wanted to see in America," said Patterson, who was four years old when he first saw Knievel jump.

"He was an entrepreneur. He risked his body and always came back, no matter how bad he got knocked down," he said.

When a Knievel collector asked Patterson to help him restore that red touring truck, Patterson had the idea to build an entire museum -- spending $2 million to make that idea a reality.

The value of the museum's collection, most of which is on loan, is estimated at another $3 million.

The Knievel family approved the exhibits and contributed items such as X-rays of his broken bones -- 433 of them, a Guinness world record.

Members of Knievel's original crew planned to attend the grand opening ceremonies.

Buck Venable, visiting the museum on a recent afternoon from nearby Missouri, said it was unique in retelling contemporary American cultural history.

"Most of the time you go to museums and you see stuff from before your time," Venable said.

"To be able to come to a museum and see something that happened during your time, that's great."

© Agence France-Presse

Today's News

July 1, 2017

Masterpiece by J.M.W Turner unveiled at Sotheby's ahead of public exhibition & sale

British Museum acquires new Middle Eastern photography with help of Art Fund

Exhibition devoted to the work of Belgian artist Philippe Vandenberg on view at Hauser & Wirth

Astrup Fearnley Museet acquires two works by Ai Weiwei

Dadiani becomes first British gallery to accept cryptocurrency

'Star Wars' droid R2-D2 auctioned for $2.8 million

Winner of the 2017 Young Architects Program on view at MoMA PS1

New exhibition presents the rich, cultural diversity of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum collection

Canadian artist Rodney Graham opens a new solo show at Museum Voorlinden

UTA Artist Space to show paintings by Kurt Cobain at Seattle Art Fair

Namatjira's legacy celebrated in first chapter of reimagined Australian collection

The Museum der Moderne Salzburg launches a series of exhibitions on artists who experienced life in exile

Major retrospective of Shirin Neshat's work opens at the Kunsthalle Tübingen

Indian teen pirouettes from Mumbai slum to US ballet school

Evel Knievel museum celebrates American daredevil

UNESCO to court controversy with World Heritage picks

Painted huts offer DR Congo village a tourism lifeline

Spectacular vintage beer advertising paintings will be part of Holabird's July 8-10 auction

First German solo exhibition of the Canadian sculptor Liz Magor opens in Hamburg

Cats or dogs? The debate over four-legged friends heats up at the Zimmerli this summer

Foo Fighters to rock Acropolis

Camden Arts Centre presents an installation of new work and performance by Jennifer Tee

Survey of works by the 2017 Turner Prize nominee Lubaina Himid opens in Colchester

Alison Jacques Gallery exhibits works by emerging Scarborough-based artist Jade Montserrat

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- The Morgan explores the Medieval world's fascinating approach to the passage of time

2.- Experts discover hidden ancient Maya structures in Guatemala

3.- Egyptian archaeologists unveil tomb of Old Kingdom priestess Hetpet

4.- The Speed Art Museum and Italian Ministry reach loan agreement on ancient calyx-krater

5.- Major exhibition features artistic masterpieces from the glorious Church of the Gesù

6.- From Beowulf to Chaucer, the British Library makes 1,000 years of rich literary history freely available online

7.- Truck damages Peru's ancient Nazca lines

8.- Trish Duebber is new Coordinator of Youth Programs at Boca Raton Museum Art School

9.- Exhibition examines the way art, like language, was used to articulate a rhetoric of exclusion

10.- The Dallas Museum of Art announces gift of three major European works

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful