Manx National Heritage is delighted to announce the opening of the new Isle of Man TT Gallery at the Manx Museum.
Officially opened on Thursday 25th May in the Manx Museum’s 100th anniversary year by His Excellency Lieutenant Governor Sir John Lorimer, the new gallery tells the story of the Isle of Man TT from 1907 to the present day, through the real-life stories of riders, families, mechanics, marshals and fans.
Featuring the world famous TT trophies, motorcycles, sidecars, leathers, helmets and memorabilia sourced from around the world, the gallery showcases the rich history of the Isle of Man TT races.
In a world first, motorcycles, leathers and helmets are mounted upon the machines with which they are associated using fully jointed skeleton models, purpose-designed for use in this gallery, allowing leathers to be displayed in unique and unrivalled realistic poses.
Machines on display including Mike Hailwood’s 1979 Senior TT winning Suzuki, the outfit driven by Dave Molyneux at the 2007 Centenary TT, Carl Fogarty’s 1992 Yamaha OWO1 and the Mugen electric machine ridden by John McGuinness.
One of the most iconic items in the gallery is an AJS motorcycle ridden in the 1914 Junior TT, located with thanks to the British Motorcycle Conservation Trust. A rare survivor, the AJS is one of very few verified pre-First World War TT motorcycles to exist.
The star exhibits however are undoubtedly the spectacular full sized Mercury trophies which have been presented to winners since the start of racing in 1907. The plaques around the base of each read like a who’s who of motorcycle racing history legends.
The TT gallery at the Manx Museum has been in serious planning and development since 2016, but the collection which lies at its heart has a much longer history. Alongside iconic motorcycles and sidecar outfits, visitors will discover artefacts reflecting the entertainment of the TT festival and acknowledging the contributions of all who make the festival a success each year.
Within the gallery you will learn what motivates the riders, how the TT has been used by manufacturers and governments to promote their respective agendas and products and also wider questions of social history with sections dedicated to volunteers and fans.
Manx National Heritage extends thanks to all those who have assisted with the gallery’s development.
The new gallery is open daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm at the Manx Museum in Douglas. Donations are welcome.
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The origins of the Isle of Man TT races of began with the need for a course on public roads to hold trials for the Gordon Bennett car racing trials. As legislation prohibited these being held in the UK, the Secretary of the Automobile Club of Great Britain, Julian Orde, persuaded his cousin the then Lieutenant Governor Lord Raglan, to secure legislation through Tynwald, the Manx Parliament, enabling the use of Manx public roads. The first car trials were held in 1904 and the resultant publicity was a major boost to the Island. With further trials in 1905 and 1906 the stage was set for an expansion to include a competition for motorcycles.
The first motorcycle TT races were held in 1907 at St Johns with 27 competitors racing 10 bone-shaking laps of a 15 mile circuit on public roads. In 1911 this short circuit was replaced by the Mountain Course which, at that time, turned right at Cronk ny Mona and came out at the top of Bray Hill.
A few years later the course changed again to follow the route which still forms the 37¾ mile circuit for today’s races. The TT races, then and now, are a test of endurance for both rider and machine and an opportunity for manufacturers to push to the limit the reliability and technological innovations of their latest motorcycle designs.
Communications Manager – Manx National Heritage
T: 01624 648032
Manx National Heritage, Eiraght Ashoonagh Vannin
Manx Museum, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 3LY