NEW BREMEN — Fans and staff of the Bicycle Museum of America, here, have been waiting for months for something that — at long last — will take place, Thursday, Nov. 16, at 9 p.m.
That’s when the Travel Channel, Spectrum Channel 72 in the local area, will broadcast a segment about a New Bremen exhibit during the popular television program, “Mysteries at the Museum.” The episode was taped in May.
“They contacted me, and I sent them photographs,” said Becky Macwhinney, then museum coordinator, a few days after the production crew departed. She was explaining why the show was interested in the Bicycle Museum.
“The team at ‘Mysteries at the Museum’ are constantly searching for fascinating stories that will intrigue, entertain and inspire our audience,” said Anna Geddes, director of original programming and development for Food Network, Travel Channel and Cooking Channel, in an email to the Daily News, Thursday.
“We have one of the rarest bikes: the Draisine,” Mcwhinney noted. That was the item the show’s producers wanted to feature.
Generally considered to be the world’s first bicycle, the Draisine was invented by Karl Drais in the early 1800s. He called it a running machine. It was the first steerable, two-wheeled vehicle. It didn’t have pedals. It was propelled by walking and was all the rage in Europe and the United States from 1818 to about 1820. Its high cost and impracticallity, however, meant sales were limited. Bicycles didn’t really become popular until after 1865, when pedals were added.
“The surprising story of how the first bicycle sprang from a time of great hardship is one that few viewers will have heard. We were delighted to find an early bicycle at the Bicycle Museum of America in New Bremen, Ohio, giving us the opportunity to tell this incredible tale and share it with a new audienc,” Geddes said.
The New Bremen museum acquired its Draisine from a private collector in Europe in 1997. Another is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
Macwhinney, who resigned from the museum a few weeks after the television taping, will appear on camera. She said she spoke extemporaneously, but “they directed you. I knew what they were focusing on.”
There were many “takes.”
“They would instruct me: ‘Say it like this. Now say it like this. Now say it like this,’” she said.
The production crew, from Optomen Productions in New York City, were in New Bremen for just one day, during which the museum closed to accommodate them. There were three Optomen people and a freelance soundman from Columbus. Don Wildman, the show’s on-camera host, was not there.
“My segment took roughly two hours to film,” Macwhinney said. “My talking parts will only be three to four minutes, but it took two hours to film.” It surprised her, she admitted, that the crew was extremely thorough and that it took a long time to complete such a small segment.
In addition to the taping in the bicycle museum, the crew captured shots of various locations throughout New Bremen to supplement the piece.
“The Bicycle Museum of America were extraordinarily helpful and accommodating during the filming process, and we look forward to working with them again, soon,” Geddes said.
Micayla Gray, who replaced Macwhinney as museum coordinator in July, hopes the television broadcast will boost attendance. Some 6,000 to 7,000 people visit annually.
“I hope it brings a heightened sense of awareness of the depth of our collection,” she said. It is one of the largest, privately-owned collections of bicycles in the world.
“I hope that it will continue the idea that we’re a high-quality, historical museum, as well as a recreational museum,” Gray said.
The Bicycle Museum of America, 7 W. Monroe St., New Bremen, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for senior citizens, $1 for students, and free for children 5 and under. For information, call 419-629-9249.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.