Wheels Through Time sets breaking attendance records this year

Aug 13, 2014
Photo by: Donated

As summer winds to a close and many area businesses and attractions prepare for another busy leaf season, Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley is picking up steam like never before. Since opening for the year in late March, the museum has hosted over 110,000 visitors making 2014 its busiest season to date. And it doesn't look to be slowing down any time soon — With the busiest months just around the corner, the all-American transportation museum is poised to add to what has already been a record year.

Museum staff credits part of the museum's success this year to a very successful second season of Velocity's hit television series “What's In The Barn?,” which follows museum curator Dale Walksler and his son, Matt, across the country in search of motorcycle history in unusual places. Season one aired in June 2013 and was met with rave reviews from viewers. Season two began in early June this year, and since, the museum has been getting busier by the week. The show can be seen in over 60 million homes in the U.S. and dozens of countries around the world.

The museum's new Seasonal Member Program has also had great success in attracting repeat visitors. When visitors to Wheels Through Time purchase a Museum “Member Chip” for $20, they receive a special edition 2014 Wheels Through Time poker chip which designates them as a season ticket holder. With a Member-Chip, visitors receive free admission through the duration of the year. The 2015 Museum “Member Chips” will be available in October.

With visitors flocking in by the thousands, Wheels Through Time has continued to develop new exhibits and displays to keep things fresh inside the museum. This year alone, numerous rare and historic machines have been added to the collection, many of which have appeared on episodes of “What's in the Barn?” A central feature exhibit showcasing the finds from the show is among the most viewed areas in the museum, displaying a range of extraordinary “barn finds” dating back to 1904.

Projections estimate that Wheels Through Time could see over 150,000 visitors total by the close of its 2014 season at the end of November, nearly doubling the museum's attendance during previous years. And with season three of “What's in the Barn?” already in the works, it’s clear that Maggie Valley's motorcycle paradise is gaining momentum that will last for years to come.