13 Apr 2021
May 19, 2012 - Filed under: Antiques News — David

On the 2nd and 3rd of June the entire contents of the Linn-Olsen museum in Villisca, Iowa will go under the hammer, but tours will go on at the grisly property associated with it.

Darwin Linn was a Villisca man with a passion for local history, who took over and ran the Linn-Olsen museum with his wife Martha. Over the years he filled it with unique artefacts, matching anything you would find at a local history museum in Lancashire. Victorian dining chairs and antique wheelchairs shared space with Model T vehicles and vintage tractors – of which Darwin was an avid collector.

Darwin sadly passed away last year at the age of 76 and in March 2012 Martha decided to close the museum and sell the entire stock. Over two days in June, Villisca folk will be able to buy back a piece of their heritage, whether their taste is for 1920s motor parts or antique cabinets.

If Cumbrian residents feel the town’s name is familiar, that’s because it is the site of Darwin Linn’s other crowning achievement, the Villisca Axe Murder House, which regularly turns up on paranormal TV programmes. Darwin lovingly restored the house to its 1912 condition, down to the last antique dining chair , and his wife has decided to keep it and to continue hosting tours there. The 100th anniversary of Villisca’s grisly mass killing is celebrated the week following the auction.

Truly local auctions are extremely rare in the UK – and commission rates can make them expensive. If you want to buy Victorian dining chairs with a Lancashire connection, a Preston antique dealer is your best bet.

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