Friday, April 8, 2022

New Traveling Exhibit Opens at Mountain Gateway Museum

Apr 8, 2022

Bicycling is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to travel. But early bicycles, with their wooden wheels and frames and poor steering, were much different from today’s sleek, multi-geared vehicles made of lightweight composite materials and offering a variety of safety features.

Learn more about the history of bicycles and the sport of cycling in North Carolina at Mountain Gateway Museum & Heritage Center’s newest exhibit, "History on Two Wheels." The traveling exhibit will open Saturday, April 9 at the museum, 24 Water Street in Old Fort. Admission is free.

Developed by the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and the North Carolina Transportation Museum, the exhibition will run through Oct. 2.

Invented about 200 years ago, the first bicycles were made of wood, from their frame to their wheels. In the late 1800s, bicycles evolved, moving toward iron parts. By 1900, elements of the modern bicycle had emerged.

During the “Safety Era” of the early 1900s, upgrades to bicycles made them more sturdy, safe, and reliable modes of transportation with improvements to the seats, brakes, tires, and wheel spokes.

Bicycles offered an option for exercise and faster transport than walking. They represented freedom for women, even as conservatives of the early twentieth century feared they would lead to female corruption. Women pushed past the controversy to enjoy bicycles in all types and sizes, even joining clubs and participating in contests. Ultimately, the bicycle has stood the test of time as a healthy and enjoyable mode of transportation.

History on Two Wheels will:

     • Examine the development and evolution of the bicycle.

     • Display examples of different bicycles and cycling attire.

     • Explore the growth of cycling clubs and similar organizations.

     • Discuss the role of the bicycle in the Women’s Rights Movement.

For more information about the exhibit, visit the Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort, view its website at or contact Jesse Bricker at 828-668-9259 or

The museum is open year-round from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and from 2-5 p.m. on Sunday; closed on Monday.

About Mountain Gateway Museum
A regional branch of the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, the Mountain Gateway Museum & Heritage Center (MGM) is the westernmost facility in the NC Department of Natural & Cultural Resources’ Division of State History Museums.

Nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the banks of historic Mill Creek in downtown Old Fort (McDowell County), the museum uses artifacts, exhibitions, educational programs, living history demonstrations, and special events to teach people about the rich history and cultural heritage of the state’s mountain region, from its original inhabitants through early settlement and into the 20th century.

As part of its education outreach mission, MGM also assists nonprofit museums and historic sites in 38 western NC counties with exhibit development & fabrication, genealogical research, photography archives, traveling exhibitions, and consultations. For more information, visit the museum’s website: or call 828-668-9259.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, three science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 41 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C. Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, and the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please visit



Related Topics: