Zen And the Open Road

April 15, 2024 – Ongoing
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Robert M Pirsig's 1966 Honda Super Hawk motorcycle which inspired the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

National Museum of American History
1300 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC

1st Floor, East Wing, Transportation Hall

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In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Robert M. Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance novel, his 1966 Honda Super Hawk motorcycle is on temporary display within the  America on the Move exhibition. Visitors will discover Pirsig’s stories related to riding, writing, and sailing. Centered on the motorcycle on which Pirsig and his son rode from Minnesota to California and back, which inspired the book, this display will feature his typewriter, a manuscript of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, signed first editions of that book and Lila: An Inquiry into Morals, as well as a recently attributed book on the 14th century bubonic plague. Pirsig’s lifelong interest in ships and boats is reflected through artifacts that represent his sailboat, Arete, which he purchased with royalties from his best-selling book.