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Springfield Museums Mark Centennial of Historic Motorcycle Ride

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Museums will host events tied to the launch of the Sisters’ Centennial Motorcycle Ride, a commemorative cross-country trip to honor the epic journey made by Adeline and Augusta Van Buren 100 years ago this summer.

In 1916, the Van Buren Sisters were the first women to cross the continental U.S., each on her own Indian Powerplus motorcycle built in Springfield. During their historic trip, they became the first women to reach the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak, and reached San Francisco after 60 days of riding. In 2002, the Sisters were inducted into the American Motorcyclist Assoc. Hall of Fame, and in 2003 they were inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame.

Just as Adeline and Augusta did in 1916, Centennial Ride participants will begin their ride west in Springfield. The roughly 100 motorcyclists will gather on Monday, July 4 for dinner, music, and a viewing of fireworks from La Quinta Hotel in downtown Springfield. The next day, Tuesday, July 5, riders will attend an opening ceremony at the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History at the Springfield Museums. The Wood Museum features the famous Indian Motocycle Collection, an expansive exhibit of vintage bikes, photographs, and memorabilia detailing the Springfield-based company’s proud history from its inception in 1902. Ride participants will also hear remarks from ride organizer Alisa Clickenger, Robert Pandya of Indian Motorcycle, and Wood Museum Director Guy McLain. That portion of the program will take place at 10 a.m. in SIS Hall at the Wood Museum, and is open to the public with paid museum admission.

Following those opening comments, riders will be able to tour the Indian collection and enjoy a new exhibit created in honor of Adeline and Augusta. “Crossing the Country to Cross Barriers: The Van Buren Sisters Ride into History” will feature a range of photographs taken on the trip and a variety of rare memorabilia items on loan from the Van Buren family. The exhibit runs from June 28, 2016 to July 30, 2017. Adeline and Augusta will also be the honorees at this year’s Indian Day Celebration at the Springfield Museums, which is scheduled for Sunday, July 24.

“We are thrilled that we’ve played a part in connecting the Van Buren family with the Springfield Museums and providing the inspiration for this new exhibit,” Clickenger said. “What a terrific way to formally start our event, by being able to bring our riders to the Springfield Museums to experience how and where our fabulous story began.”

Added McLain, “the Springfield Museums are honored to be the host location for this Centennial Ride launch event. The Van Buren sisters serve as important role models to women even to this day, and their story fits perfectly with our exhibits about Indian Motocycles and other women trailblazers, like aviator Maude Tait.”

Information about the Sisters’ Centennial Motorcycle Ride on July 5-23, as well as background on the Van Buren Sisters, adventure tours for women, and additional ride routes, can all be found on the event website, www.sistersmotorcycleride.com.

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