Preserving the past for the education and enjoyment of future generations.
We are building on our past. The Wheels O’ Time Museum added to its campus a sixth large exhibit building that will debut in the 2021 season, which includes a 1947 Aeronca L-16 “Grasshopper” airplane, a 1952 Ford military Jeep, a 1967 MUTT (Military Utility Tactical Truck), and service uniforms and medals as part of a military display. Several vintage Caterpillar tractors join the beautifully-restored 1931 Ahrens Fox fire truck in the Great Hall. The Upper Gallery includes textile, Peoria history and Christmas-through-time exhibits. A multimedia room offers an appealing gathering space.
The Wheels O’ Time Museum has welcomed visitors from central Illinois and around the world since 1983. What makes Wheels O’ Time so special is its hands-on atmosphere. Historical items at the museum can be touched and operated, which allows for an enjoyable and engaging experience for people of all ages and fosters an appreciation for our local heritage and past achievements.
Wheels O’ Time Museum has something for everyone. In addition to our newest exhibit building, our vintage automobiles and outside train display, the original main building features a music room, typewriters, a clock room, two model train layouts, and more. The farm equipment building includes small engines used for farming, many other tools, and a blacksmith shop.
Visitors can also view our workshop, the hub for ongoing preservation efforts and projects, in the building that features the Early Ford V-8 Club displays. The “firehouse” displays two local fire trucks and an 1855 man-powered pumper once used in Peoria. Our firehouse also contains cars from the past 60 years, bicycles, a ¾-scale of the Spirit of St. Louis plane, vintage clothing, Princess Peggy items, and a 1940s WMBD radio station with stories about the Peoria area. The LeTourneau Steel House on campus is a restored 1938 original house, furnished according to its original era and open to the public.
Many of our displays are a result of collaborations with the Peoria Historical Society, Early Ford V-8 Club, Heart of Illinois Fire Enthusiasts and Collectors, and Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation, among others.
How to Help
The Wheels O’ Time Museum opened in 1983 and became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2017, allowing for tax-deductible donations that help the museum expand and grow. Contributions to our recent capital campaign supported the construction of the new exhibit building, ongoing restoration of the Vonachen Old Place dining cars, track repair, and other significant restoration efforts. The charming LeTourneau 24x24 Steel House was brought to the museum campus and restored to 1938 style, thanks to generous donors.
Preservation efforts are costly. Contributions are vital and valued. Sustaining gifts may be made to the museum’s new endowment fund.
The museum operates with a few staff members and a large group of volunteers. These dedicated individuals host visitors, provide tours, manage the gift shop, and help design and maintain the exhibits, buildings and grounds. Our volunteers come from all walks of life, but they share a common passion for the museum and have fun while supporting this community treasure. We always welcome new volunteers!
Laura Evancho, Executive Director
Marcia Johnson, Site Manager/Volunteer Coordinator
Jim Baldwin, Board President