The Wheels Through Time Museum in beautiful Maggie Valley, NC is a must see for our fellow vintage transportation lovers. The museum, a 501c3 not-for-profit, features over 38,000 square feet of pure awesomeness that is all things vintage.
They are always in need of financial support, and their kickstart challenge is an important part of keeping their history alive.
Motorcycles are the primary vehicle of choice on display, but they also have a vintage automobile collection as well that is pretty impressive.
The vision for the museum started back in 1969 by Dale Walksler. It began in Ellyn, Illinois but later moved to a Harley Davidson dealer owned by Dale in 1977. As the collection grew, it found its new home in 2002 in Maggie Valley, NC.
One of the truly remarkable things about this museum, every vehicle or motorcycle on display had to run. “The Museum That Runs” was a nickname given to the museum because of this. Dale was known to enjoy the thrill of firing up those machines as people watched in awe.
Dale sadly passed away on February 3rd, 2021. But he has left behind an amazing legacy and thing of beauty in the museum.
You can view a collection of Dale’s videos on YouTube.
There are a variety of displays for kids of all ages to enjoy.
1. Hillclimb Hill
This display features Harley Davidson, Indian, and Excelsior motorcycles. This display pays honors to the thrill of hillclimbing which was all the rage in the 1920-1920s. Riders would take their motorcycles up hills at crazy speeds to entertain spectators.
2. Military Might
The military collection offers a look at the Harley Davidson brand and their impact on World War I and II. It includes a variety of machines – and even a few rare prototypes.
3. Chopper Graveyard
Although they named it a graveyard, these beauties are far from dead. The Chopper Graveyard features more than a dozen traditional choppers. Even a special edition chopper from Coca-Cola called “the Coke Machine” is on display.
4. The Fabulous Fours
Whether you want to see a real life 1924 Ace Sport Solo or a 1909 Pierce, this is the place. This collection features four cylinder motorcycles, which unfortunately did not have a long shelf life. The popularity of this type of bike never really took off and they were only in production for just over 30 years.
5. The Swim Shop
This is one of the pride and joy sections in the museum. A true throwback in time that brings back the American dream of being an entrepreneur. The story starts with a man named George who sold Dale Walksler his Harley Davidson dealership in the 1980’s, but the history is pretty amazing. The “Swim Shop” is the museums way of honoring all those that overcame the obstacles of war and starting a business in America.
There are many other great exhibits as well! Each with a specific purpose and historical journey for you to enjoy.
- Board Track America features bikes that ran from 1908-1929 in board track races.
- America’s Rarest showcases some of the most rare historic bikes for the true enthusiast to lust over.
- American Racer offers a look at Class-C racers from the years 1934-1969
- 1936 Style & Function offers a look at the Harley Davidsons from 1936.
- 45s Forever takes a deep look at the Harley 45 collection.
- American Restoration is more than just bikes and features a mix of unusual vehicles both two and four wheeled.
- Home Made America features machines that were home-made right here in America!
Win A Harley
Dale’s also offers the opportunity to win a motorcycle each year! For 2024 they are offering a 1936 Harley Davidson Knucklehead.
Buy some raffle tickets – and on November 23, 2024 you may hear your name called to win this beauty!
Wheels in Time Museum Location
The museum is only open a few months each year so planning early is a must.
Usually they open in the spring and close up before the holidays. With over 1,400 five star reviews on TripAdvisor – this is a must see museum to learn about history!