Wisconsin Historical Society: Seeking input on a new state history museum from Chippewa Valley region community

Contact: Kara O’Keeffe
Kara.okeeffe@wisconsinhistory.org
608-261-9596


Eau Claire, Wis.
– On June 5, the Chippewa Valley region will have an opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas with the Wisconsin Historical Society as we seek to create a modern, state-of-the-art, and inclusive statewide history museum on the Capitol Square in Madison that connects and tells the stories of all Wisconsinites. The event is in partnership with the Chippewa Valley Museum.

The event is free and open to the public and will take place at the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library from 6:00-7:30 pm (doors open at 5:30 pm). Guests can pre-register here or come on the night of the event.

“The new state history museum project is about more than bricks and mortar and will connect the stories of Wisconsinites across all 72 counties and beyond,” said Christian Overland, Ruth and Hartley Barker Director of the Wisconsin Historical Society. “The input we receive at these events will help shape future exhibits and storylines, and this is a rare opportunity for the public to provide their vision of how the new history museum can represent Wisconsin and their history to create relevant stories that have local significance and national impact.”

The event will start with an introduction to the new museum project. Guests will hear from Alicia Goehring, director of special projects, and then participate in workshops that will help develop feedback and conversations on current exhibit design concepts, what makes their community unique and how a state history museum could serve their community.

Prior to the program, guests are invited to enjoy an up-close view of three items from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s world-renowned American history collection rarely shown in public. One of the needs for the new museum is to have a state-of-the-art space with updated systems to display objects similar to these. The collection pieces that will be on display include a shawl worn by Abraham Lincoln en route to Washington and through his presidency, James Wilkins’ 1849 sketches of the Oregon Trail and a rock and note thrown through the window of Daisy Bates’ home in 1957 by the Ku Klux Klan.

The Society is traveling the state and will be holding over 40 community listening sessions as well as 14 Native Nations engagement sessions and listening sessions with students. More information can be found at wihist.org/yourvoice.

“As we hold more listening workshops across the state, we have learned that many communities want to experience their stories in a new history museum,” Overland continued.  “We also want to understand how we can better serve our audiences in their towns and cities because we believe that everyone should feel welcomed in this museum when they visit in person and participate digitally.”

The Wisconsin Historical Society has been working towards building a new $120 million, 100,000-square-foot museum for more than 20 years. The new museum will more than double exhibition space and include state-of-the-art technology while providing learning, meeting and flexible spaces. The new museum will reach and connect people all across the state through distance learning technology and exciting, modern exhibits.

For more information on the Wisconsin Historical Society visit wisconsinhistory.org.

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