By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, September 2, the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, which is already home of the world’s largest motorcycle collection, announced a major expansion.
The current Barber Museum, which opened in October 2003, is 144,000 sq. ft. in size. The addition will add 84,650 sq. ft. The new and improved five-story museum will be about a quarter-million square feet in size.
Museum Executive Director Jeff Ray said, “We won’t have trouble filling the expansion. We have many motorcycles in storage, and we are constantly adding to the collection.”
Museum and Park Founder George Barber said, “This expansion will help keep us as the benchmark for motorcycle collections worldwide. People visit Birmingham from all over the world to see this museum and its collection, and we want to continue to ‘wow’ them with what they see. With programs and events like the Porsche Sport Driving School, the Mercedes-Benz Brand Immersion Program, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama and the Triumph Superbike Challenge, it’s important that we always present an impeccable image for our sponsors and fans.”
In March 2014, Guinness World Records officially named the Barber Museum as the world’s largest motorcycle collection, with 1,398 motorcycles, although only about 700 are typically on display at any given time.
At the time, George Barber said in a written statement, “It’s great to be recognized by Guinness as the world’s largest motorcycle museum because it puts Alabama on the map in an interesting and unique way.”
The architect for the expansion is Williams Blackstock of Birmingham. The general contractor is BL Harbert International, which is also based in Birmingham.
The Barber Museum will remain open during the construction process.
The Barber Vintage Festival is October 9-10-11 and the Honda Indy Grand Prix will be held next April.
Visitors will be able to see construction underway. Project completion is scheduled in Fall 2016.
The Barber is also building a 440 foot long pedestrian bridge which will connect the museum with the infield. Other capital improvements include the Barber Proving Grounds, which opened in October, a classroom building overlooking the Proving Grounds, and new garages for Mercedes-Benz and other customers. Those projects are currently under construction.
George Barber is the third generation owner of Barber Dairies. Mr. Barber opened the Museum in the 830-acre Barber Motorsports Park in 2003. Barber began collecting motorcycles 25 years ago.
The Barber Museum is a 501(c)(3) Not For Profit Foundation and is considered the largest philanthropic project taken on by an individual in the history of Alabama.
The Barber Motorsports Park is often referred to as the “Augusta of Motorsports,” and hosts numerous auto and motorcycle racing events since it opened. The facility has brought in an estimated $1.17 billion to Alabama during the last decade.
George Barber said, “The museum provides a wonderful experience for visitors. It draws people to Alabama.”
Automobile racing is Alabama’s largest professional sport. In addition to the Barbers Motor Sports Park, the state also has a world class NASCAR track in Talladega. Alabama is a world leader in automotive manufacturing.