SHELBURNE, Vermont (Dec. 2, 2008) - Whether it's the thundering rumble of a Harley, the radical rake of a custom chopper or the retro appeal of an Indian, motorcycles have consistently captured the American imagination.

Shelburne Museum examines the art of the bike in a new exhibit entitled Full Throttle: Vintage Motorcycles, Custom Choppers and Racing Machines on exhibit from May 17 through Oct. 25, 2009.

"Full Throttle focuses on the evolution of motorcycle design and celebrates the artistry of a mode of transportation that inspired a subculture all its own," said Kory Rogers, associate curator organizing the exhibit. "From 19th century bicycles outfitted with steam engines to high performance sport bikes of today, Full Throttle examines how the quest for speed has acted as a catalyst for technological and aesthetic advances in motorcycle design."

Exhibited on all three levels of Shelburne Museum's historic Round Barn gallery, Full Throttle is organized into three thematic sections.
* "Wide Open and Wild: Racing Machines" examines the role of racing tracks as testing grounds for motorcycle performance and design improvements.
* "Classic Cool: Vintage Motorcycles" features iconic examples of such makes as Indian, Harley Davidson and Triumph and explores how many of the improvements born on the track translated into hallmarks for specific brands.
* "Choppers: Art of the Custom Ride" explores the evolution of building choppers from early models where parts were chopped off to jettison weight to today's custom rides that elevate bike building to an art form that reflects the personality of the individual rider. This section include examples of regional styles, as well as compares "old school" choppers to contemporary themed or fantasy bikes.

About Shelburne Museum: Located in Vermont's scenic Lake Champlain Valley, Shelburne Museum is one of the nation's finest, most diverse and unconventional museums of art, design and Americana. Over 150,000 works are exhibited in a remarkable setting of 39 exhibition buildings, 25 of which are historic and were relocated to the Museum grounds. The Museum's collection includes works by the great Impressionists Claude Monet, Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas as well as a prized collection of folk art including trade signs, weathervanes and quilts.
Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, mid-May through late October. The 2009 season runs from May 17 through October 25.

Adults $18; children (6-18) $9; children under six free; half price for Vermont residents. Tickets valid for two consecutive days. U.S. Route 7 in Shelburne, 7 miles south of Burlington, Vermont. Exit 13 off I-89.

Michael Palmer, Road Kill, custom chopper, 2006.