The Wheels are turning

The landscape at Wheels Across the Prairie Museum has changed dramatically over the last year. And despite the fact that the new and moved buildings won’t be open this summer, the museum is excited to open to the public after a year that took its toll on museums everywhere. Photo / Per Peterson

While not all buildings will be open to the public because of ongoing changes, Saturday marks the 2021 opening of  Tracy’s Wheels Across the Prairie Museum

By Per Peterson

On a spring May day in 1981, strong winds gusting from the southwest took down an old barn donated by Mr. and Mrs. Arnold McDaniel at Wheels Across the Prairie Museum. It was a tragic incident for the museum and the late Mary Lou Ludeman, the museum’s first-ever president.

Today, 40 years later, the museum is showing off a new look in the area where that majestic barn once stood. And while the newly-moved buildings that now occupy that space won’t be open to visitors this summer because the grounds aren’t fully prepared, the landscape of the museum has drastically changed for the better.

And fresh off a year that was void of any tours — other than self-guided — because of the pandemic, museum President Jon Wendorff is excited for the 2021 opening, which will come Saturday, May 22.

“Everyone has commented, ‘Where did you get all those little buildings?’” said Wendorff. “I’m like, ‘From behind the main barn And they’re like, ‘No way.’ We’re very excited to be open. Last year, it was slow to start with and we had to follow all these rules, we couldn’t put the little train out. It’s just gonna be a different year, I think.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.