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