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Wheels Through Time Closing?

3/19/2008 12:35:14 PM

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Word comes that Dale Walksler, owner and curator of the renowned Wheels Through Time Museum (www.wheelsthroughtime.com) in Maggie Valley, N.C., is selling off a major chunk of his collection and moving out of the Maggie Valley digs he’s called home since 2002. Since moving in, Walksler has built up one of the most incredible collections of vintage American motorcycles in the world, featuring examples of rare marques like Dayton, Pope and Yale, and with one-of-a-kind bikes  like Traub and Flesher. With this announced sale, it appears the museum as we know it is coming to an end.

According to Walksler, the museum is shifting gears and embracing a new initiative, Wheels Around the World, with a goal toward providing motorcycles and curatorial services to groups and institutions interested in putting on exhibits of their own. Walksler says the new program “will allow the history of American motorcycles to be shared with a larger audience than only those able to visit the physical museum itself.” Walksler says he’ll be offering full exhibit development to organizations interested in promoting motorcycle history.

While we’re sure the challenges of running a museum must be great, it seemed that Walksler’s Wheels Through Time had met with great success; ever met anyone who didn’t know about it? Be that as it may, Walksler has scheduled an auction of 150 of his prized collection, to be held on the museum grounds Sept. 25-27, 2008, with RM Auctions running the show. That will leave some 200 bikes in the collection, certainly more than enough to provide for Walksler’s new program. Still, we think it’s a shame the bikes are going to be split up, and that vintage motorcycle fans are losing a seminal collection of vintage American bikes. – Richard Backus 

 



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Charles Anthony_2
6/9/2010 1:43:06 PM
While cycling through the Blue Ridge parkway, we made Wheels Through Time a top destination for our trip. Coming from Pennsylvania, we knew of the museum from top cycling magazines not through any tourism agencies. Without a doubt, the museum is a major attraction for Maggie Valley. The local economy is fortunate to have this business bring in tourism dollars to support the area motels and restaurants. I have been to my share of museums. The museum collection is astounding and Dale Walksler is a fantastic historian on cycling. WTT guarantees customer satisfaction when entering the museum. It was impressive to be so close to these fine machines that operate upon request! See for yourself. C.Anthony P.S. Dale...thanks for chatting with our group.

John Cornell
11/11/2008 1:56:02 PM
Dale is what you can call a true "character". I visited the museum in April of 08 and really enjoyed the hospitality and the exhibits. What a loss for the little town of Maggie Valley.

Onearmbiker
9/3/2008 1:16:37 AM
Western North Carolina silly billys are something else. They hate leaf lookers! They are super clannish. Give them any money before a job and you will never see them again. They are lazy ,mean , jelious , procrastenating,and crazy. Rich Yankees buy up all the land for vacation homes, driving up property value and taxes. Stupid tourist are always being rescued, the bill goes to the poor local tax payers. Pisca national forrest was shelling out $1,500,000 a year for rescuing clowns 1998. High paying jobs are scare. Everyone is on food stamps during the winter time. Dale Walksler is a Rich Yankee outsider. Dale was there for six years! I was in Penrose-Brevard for 7 years. That area get old quick! I am sure the locals complained about motorcycle noise. The visitor center did not do its job after taking Dale's money. Dale has a right to be mad. Same old story! Bikers against the Joe Citizen machine. Get the hammer, the is a fly on the baby's head!

Rusty Toolbox
3/20/2008 8:46:19 AM
I've spoken with Dale and he's very happy about the situation. I dont buy into this "he's his own worst enemy" thing. Honestly, Maggie Valley is its own worst enemy. That little town should have been happy with the hundreds of thousands of people he was bringing to town. Who are they to complain when the ones with loud pipes are the ones keeping them in business. Either way, I'll be at the new museum when it opens and I'll be sure to stop in any museum or gallery where they have exhibits in the future.

Rusty Toolbox
3/20/2008 8:45:43 AM
I've spoken with Dale and he's very happy about the situation. I dont buy into this "he's his own worst enemy" thing. Honestly, Maggie Valley is its own worst enemy. That little town should have been happy with the hundreds of thousands of people he was bringing to town. Who are they to complain when the ones with loud pipes are the ones keeping them in business. Either way, I'll be at the new museum when it opens and I'll be sure to stop in any museum or gallery where they have exhibits in the future.

Ted Henderson
3/20/2008 7:03:46 AM
Really hate to see this treasure go,but Dale has no one to blame but himself. I've enjoyed conversations with him and he's an enthusiast through and through, but it's Dale's way or the highway on every subject. Unless he learns some diplomacy it will be the same story elsewhere.

Bill Martin
3/19/2008 11:15:51 PM
The amazing thing about the museum is that almost all of the bikes run. I was there last year and he said that if we wanted to hear any of them just let him know. He has a Crocker that he does burnouts on right in the museum, down the isle between many other bikes. Both Dale and his son truely have a passion for the motorcycle. Maggie Valley's loss.

Larry Chabira
3/19/2008 8:53:48 PM
Maybe those people in Maggie Valley got a little tired of hearing 100s of straight piped Harley's roaring up and down the road every day.

Paul d'Orleans
3/19/2008 8:27:34 PM
I have mixed feelings about museums; in concert with Keith's comment, the upside might be those bikes sold off being more visible in other places, perhaps even ridden! That said, some museums are better than others in this regard, and regularly loan out bikes for events and shows. The National Motorcycle Museum in England used to be a mausoleum, but post-fire they have been more active in showing the bikes outside of their walls. I've personally seen Dale riding interesting bikes at events like the Death Valley AMCA ride, and loaning out his museum bikes for others to ride, so he's a ride-m not a hide-m. I'm curious what his new arrangement will look like; it sounds like he's raising some money in any case... http://www.thevintagent.blogspot.com

Jim Thomison
3/19/2008 7:57:21 PM
Dave I would like to thank you for the time you spent with us when you had just returned from your trip out West last year. I have told numbers of people about your passion and painstacking time that was put in building a world class museum. I'm sorry you have had to deal with the powers at be in Maggie Valley. Their loss!

Keith Fellenstein
3/19/2008 7:51:14 PM
I guess there might be a bright side, if any of these bikes end up in the hands of people who will ride them.

Keith Fellenstein
3/19/2008 7:50:59 PM
I guess there might be a bright side, if any of these bikes end up in the hands of people who will ride them.

David McCord
3/19/2008 5:30:04 PM
This announcement is a shock. I visited the "Wheels Through Time" museum in 2006 and was thoroughly impressed. I, too, think it a shame to split up this wonderful collection. At the time, we had a conversation with Dale Walksler who implied that the local citizenry wasn't very appreciative that the museum had located in Maggie Valley. I don't guess they could foresee all the tourism dollars that the facility was bringing to their community. For whatever reason, it's a shame that the museum is closing it's doors and that an extremely valuable resource is being lost to the vintage motorcycling community. Dave McCord



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