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Share Your Voice: Wausau | Wisconsin Historical Society

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Share Your Voice: Wausau

Central Wisconsin residents discuss plans for a new state history museum

Share Your Voice: Wausau | Wisconsin Historical Society
Guests enjoy a laugh during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session June 10, 2019 at the Marathon County Historical Society's Woodson Center in Wausau.

Guests enjoy a laugh during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session June 12, 2019 at the Marathon County Historical Society's Woodson Center in Wausau.

 

Story and photos by Dean Witter
Wisconsin Historical Foundation 


WAUSAU — To those who have never visited the city, Wausau is most likely known as the main crossroads of central Wisconsin.

It's memorable to millions of vehicle travelers as the part of the state where Highway 29 — the major east-west corridor between Minnesota's Twin Cities and Green Bay — intersects with Highway 51/Interstate 39, the main north-south corridor spanning the state between the Illinois border, near Beloit, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula, near Ironwood.

If you've driven from Eau Claire to Green Bay for a Packers game, you've passed Wausau. If you've made the trek from Madison to Minocqua or other parts of the North Woods for summer vacation, you've driven past Wausau.

But to those who grew up in, now live in, or have visited Wausau — a city of 39,000 residents with six suburbs and a metro population of 135,000 — it's so much more.

A local innkeeper called the city "Wisconsin's best-kept secret." But a group of Wausau area residents are hoping that a new, state-of-the-art $120 million Wisconsin history museum to be built on Wisconsin's Capitol Square in Madison will help reveal that secret.  

EnlargeCurator of Events Sarah Goetsch welcomes guests to the Marathon County Historical Society's Woodson Center in Wausau June 10, 2019 for the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session.

Curator of Events Sarah Goetsch welcomes guests to the Marathon County Historical Society's Woodson Center in Wausau June 12, 2019 for the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session.

Residents ranging in age from their 20s to their 70s came to the Marathon County Historical Society's Woodson Center on June 12, 2019 full of ideas and ready to participate in the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session. They offered dozens of reasons why their part of the state is special and how it has made an impact on the nation, and they revealed what they would like the rest of the world to learn about Wausau and central Wisconsin when the Society opens the new museum in a few years.

Sarah Goetsch, the Marathon County Historical Society's Curator of Events, kicked off the event by welcoming guests and sharing details about her organization before introducing Christian Øverland, the Ruth & Hartley Barker Director of the Wisconsin Historical Society, who facilitated the session.

"We want to know what you want in a new state history museum because it's going to happen," Øverland said. "Just last night, the state Legislature's Joint Finance Committee in Madison approved the building."

Øverland was interrupted with a hearty round of applause from guests, who clearly were pleased with the committee's critical decision to include $70 million in state funding for the project in the 2019-21 capital budget. The budget will still need to be approved by the full Legislature and be signed by Gov. Tony Evers before it is final. The funding is contingent on the Society, through the Wisconsin Historical Foundation, raising the remaining $30 million for the building in private gifts. The Society/Foundation will also raise an additional $20 million in private gifts to fund an endowment for museum operating expenses.

EnlargeChristian Øverland, the Ruth and Hartley Barker Director of the Wisconsin Historical Society, welcomes guests to the "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session June 10, 2019 in Wausau.

Christian Øverland, the Ruth &
Hartley Barker Director of the
Wisconsin Historical Society,
welcomes guests to the "Share
Your Voice" new museum listening
session June 12, 2019 in Wausau.

"We're very thankful to the leadership of both houses as well as the Joint Finance Committee to move this project forward," said Øverland, noting that building a new museum has been talked about since Gov. Tommy Thompson first proposed it 20 years ago.

As part of a public-private development, the 100,000-square-foot new museum, scheduled to open in 2024, will replace and dramatically expand the footprint of the current aging, undersized and outdated Wisconsin Historical Museum, located since the 1980s in the space of a former hardware store across from the Capitol. It is by far the largest undertaking in the history of the Society, which dates to 1846, two years before Wisconsin became a state.

The listening session was one of more than 40 the Society is holding in communities across Wisconsin to include residents in the early planning for the museum. Sessions are also being held at all 12 American Indian nations of Wisconsin, and eight similar multicultural focus groups are being conducted with African Americans in Beloit, Madison and Milwaukee; the Latinx communities in Milwaukee, Madison and Wautoma; Asian Americans in Milwaukee; and the Hmong community in Eau Claire. In addition, the Society is gathering feedback from PK-12 and teen students to incorporate their ideas into museum planning, too.

Øverland asked guests to share where they were from, with some mentioning suburbs of Kronenwetter and Mosinee, others from the western Marathon County city of Colby and even a couple from Georgia who used to live in the area and were back to visit relatives. 

Øverland said he was a Minnesota native who came to Wisconsin in February 2018 to lead the Wisconsin Historical Society, but that he was very familiar with the state from many childhood vacations. He then shared a few details about the project before introducing a Society video about the new museum's main storytelling theme, "What Makes Wisconsin, Wisconsin?" Details on the project, as well as the video, can be found online at wisconsinhistory.org/newmuseum.

He then began the first activity by asking guests to write on Post-It notes what people should know about the Wausau area. As mentioned, they had a lot to share:

There's Rib Mountain State Park and the Granite Peak Ski Area; the many benefits provided by the Wisconsin River, which runs through the center of the city, including national and international whitewater races; the deeply ingrained papermaking industry up and down the river; the family dairy farming heritage throughout Marathon County that goes back generations, such as Witter's Dairy since 1875; the strong influence of Polish, German and other European immigrants; and a deeply rooted ginseng farming tradition that emerged with the arrival of a large Hmong population in the 1980s.

Logging and lumber industries dominated in the city's early days — the mascot of the original Wausau High School (and current Wausau East) was/is the Lumberjack, after all. And a strong manufacturing base has had a global reach for decades, including well-known national brand names like Wausau Homes, Crestline windows, and Kolbe Windows & Doors. Greenheck, meanwhile, started in 1947 and is now one of the world's largest manufacturers of ventilation systems, while Eastbay, founded in 1980, outfits sports teams and ships shoes around the globe. The city's blue-collar manufacturing heritage also includes former companies such as Drott Manufacturing, which produced attachments for International Harvester tractors for decades before being bought by J.I. Case, and Wausau Iron Works. 

EnlargeLee Kaschinska comments about the influence of the railroads on central Wisconsin communities during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum session in Wausau.

Lee Kaschinska comments about the influence of the railroads on central Wisconsin communities during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum session in Wausau.

"The thing that sticks with me is the heavy manufacturing in the area," said Jim Werner, who mentioned Drott, Wausau Iron Works and some of the red granite quarries of the area.

"A lot of the small towns around here owe their identity and existence to the railroads," said Lee Kaschinska.

"Wausau's survival after the forests were basically decimated was by going to the insurance industry," added Judith Miller. "They found a solution [to the loss of one industry]."

Indeed, the city also was home of the company that produced one of the best-known national TV commercials in the 1980s — Wausau Insurance ("How do you spell Wausau?" Hint: "USA" is in the middle.). The company originated as Employers Mutual Insurance after Wisconsin in 1911 became the first state to require worker's compensation insurance and grew to be a national leader in the industry, eventually being purchased in 1999 Liberty Mutual, which still maintains a presence in the community.

Guests also mentioned Wausau's Marathon Park and its main annual attraction, the Wisconsin Valley Fair, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2018 and has long been considered the state's largest fair outside of the State Fair. They touted the city's Downtown by mentioning the historic Grand Theater (since 1927) and the "400 Block" of green space across the street from it, which hosts concerts on the square and other events, as well as the independent, family owned Jahnke Book Store, which is celebrating 100 years in 2019. And they recognized some of the city's favorite sons, including Wausau High School's Pro Football Hall of Famers Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch (UW-Madison, L.A. Rams) and Jim Otto (Oakland Raiders), and longtime U.S. Rep. Dave Obey, a Democrat who retired in 2011 after serving 42 years, the longest of any member of Congress in Wisconsin history. 

Øverland transitioned the group to another activity during which they reviewed and discussed concept exhibit design renderings and the overall museum experience. Øverland explained each rendering and asked guests to vote for which ones they liked or didn’t like on a packet that they were given, then he began a discussion about why they felt the way they did.

He noted that the renderings were produced by Washington, D.C.-based Gallagher & Associates (www.gallagherdesign.com), which has designed many well known museums, including the World War II Museum in New Orleans; the Gettysburg Museum; the presidential libraries and museums of Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan; the National Constitution Center; state museums in Tennessee, New Mexico and New York; the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.; and the Holocaust Museum in Skokie, Ill.

"What's important about this is that this is the very beginning," Øverland said. "What you're seeing tonight you're going to have an opportunity to influence [with your comments]. That's why these [sessions] are so important. The people are designing the people's museum. For the people, by the people."

The first two renderings depicted an "Introduction and Orientation Area," a large, open space which will welcome museum guests and surround them with a massive, 360-degree digital image wall.

One view showed how visitors could be greeted by a wall filled with dozens of photos. The other showed how the space could be transformed with temporary seating into a special program area that could digitally connect people at schools and organizations in cities across the state with guests at the museum. In the rendering example, underwater archaeologists from the Society are broadcasting from a shipwreck on the bottom of Lake Michigan and are able to take questions from guests gathered in many cities across the state. 

"I like it," said Dave Lee, a retired orchestra teacher. "You come into the building and you have all these different things [to look at] and hopefully they'll branch out in different areas."

EnlargeJudith Miller explains how a new museum orientation area with a large digital wall would feel "overwhelming" to her. "It reminds me of a train station, or the UW-Madison hospital," she said, eliciting hearty laughs of understanding from other guests.

Judith Miller explains how a new museum orientation area with a large digital wall would feel "overwhelming" to her. "It reminds me of a train station, or the UW-Madison hospital," she said, eliciting hearty laughs of understanding from other guests.

Kevin Podeweltz liked the possibility "that you can personalize [the photos] to a group that’s coming there, like from Wausau."

Judith Miller, however, wasn't sold on the first rendering because of the amount of pictures it featured.

"I think it's overwhelming," she said. "It reminds me of a train station, or the entrance to the UW-Madison hospital. ... I'd like it a little more calmer."

She preferred the second rendering with one large image of the archaeologists and fewer (and smaller) surrounding images. "It's calmer," she said. "It's very soothing in a way."

Fred Heider also preferred the second scenario. "I like this one better because it has a central screen," he said. 

EnlargeWausau elementary school teacher Deb Bauman comments on a new museum rendering during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" listening session June 10, 2019 in Wausau.

Wausau elementary school teacher Deb Bauman comments on a new museum rendering during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" listening session June 12, 2019 in Wausau.

A rendering of one of three possible smaller theater areas intended to show films and for instructing school groups led elementary school teacher Deb Bauman to wonder if there was enough room.

"I'm not sure how many people can fit in each place," she said. "I think of my whole group coming in, and if two are doing one thing, what can the other 75 do? You have many, many displays and they need to go to all of them. So I'm just curious about that."

Øverland understood the point.

"We want to be able to handle the volume, so that’s great feedback," he said. "We need to be cautious about classrooms coming in and how we handle it." 

A rendering titled "Agricultural Ingenuity" generated a lot of discussion, not only because of what was shown in the scene but also because of the agricultural theme. It showed examples of wild ricing and cranberry harvesting with guests interacting with actual artifacts like a birch bark canoe. Øverland noted how the floor could digitally transform into a river and how guests would be able to get the feeling of stirring wild rice from the canoe, or interact with a cranberry bog. 

 

Enlarge"Anything agricultural is important to the state of Wisconsin," Susan Stankowski of Mosinee said in support of a concept exhibit design during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session in Wausau.

"Anything agricultural is important to the state of Wisconsin," Susan Stankowski of Mosinee said in support of a concept exhibit design during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session in Wausau.

"I like it because I feel that dairy farming and cranberries and anything agricultural is important to the state of Wisconsin," said Susan Stankowski of Mosinee.

"I think it's important," Jim Werner added, "that especially school children realize that the food comes from the land and that you just don't go to the grocery story or convenience store to pick it up." 

"I love the way you talked about how technology would actually bring the exhibit to life," said Dave Anderson, a member of the Society's Board of Curators who lives in Wausau. "I think that's really important for the positive impression it will make on people."

"What I really like about this," said Andrew Maule of Madison, "is the fact that it still looks like a natural scene."

Øverland said that's important. "Part of this museum is to produce a sense of place," he said. "We want people to experience some things that they can’t [otherwise] experience. Not everybody can get up here, or get out to the lake. But through digital technology we can do some of this and connect kids from, say, Milwaukee and show them things they can’t normally do."

"Part of the idea of this new museum," Øverland continued, "is to create these kind of scenic things. Not to be fakey. It’s not going to be Disneyland. But to do it in a way that’s authentic."

EnlargeJane Jahnke Johnson, co-owner of Wausau's Jahnke Book Store, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019, suggests giving visiting children a cranberry so they can taste what they're seeing and learning about in a new museum exhibit.

Jane Janke Johnson, co-owner

of Wausau's Jahnke Book Store,

which is celebrating its 100th

anniversary in 2019, suggests

giving visiting children a cranberry

so they can taste what they're

seeing and learning about in a

new museum exhibit.

Jane Janke Johnson, co-owner of the aforementioned Jahnke Book Store and secretary of the Marathon County Historical Society, drew a very positive reaction from the crowd by suggestion "it would be nice to give each of the kids a cranberry to eat. They don't know what it tastes like and it could be part of their whole experience. ... Then with the wild rice, could they feel it and touch it?" 

Kathy Schneck of Wausau liked that the exhibit highlighted American Indian culture "because I think that's something that should be relevant."

"Thank you for saying that," Øverland said, mentioning the Society's outreach to all 12 Native Nations of Wisconsin. "We want them to be able to tell their stories. We want to facilitate that and have their voice come through."

Schneck mentioned her son seeing Marvin DeFoe, a birch-bark canoe maker from the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in far northern Wisconsin, serving as an artist in residence making a canoe and then launching it. She suggested having him do something similar at the museum, an idea Øverland thought was "awesome."

A rendering called "Industrial Innovation" spoke to the idea of Milwaukee once being known as the Machine Shop of the World. It showed a recreation of a large turbine that local West Allis company Allis-Chalmers manufactured for Niagara Falls within a larger machine shop exhibit including children creating objects at a lathe. Guests would be able to walk through the giant turbine, where they would experience video and written material about the industrialization of Wisconsin. 

EnlargeA woman talks about how she likes a new museum concept exhibit design rendering on industrial innovation. "I can't wait to see what's inside," she said.

A woman talks about how she likes a new museum concept exhibit design rendering on industrial innovation. "I can't wait to see what's inside," she said.

"I like this exhibit," a woman said. "I think that opening there invites me in. I can't wait to see what's inside!"

Jim Werner, who earlier mentioned Wausau's manufacturers, liked the concept. 

"There are a lot of craftsmen that came over from Germany and European countries," he said, "and many industries started down in Milwaukee and other parts of the state and [it shows] what Wisconsin contributed to industrial building and equipment [for the country]."

Fred Heider said he liked Øverland's comment about how that older manufacturing process could be juxtaposed with modern-day technology like a 3-D printer. Heider suggested a digital screen highlighting a local firm like Greenheck. "Then you've got a current worldwide manufacturer located in Wisconsin [next to] this worldwide manufacturer from back in the day."

George Maule, one of the Georgia residents, liked "the engineering part of it," he said. "For me, it's kind of a 'Oh, wow! Let me see how that's actually built."

Andrew Maule of Madison, seated with his parents George and Sandra of Georgia, shares his thoughts about a rendering of a concept exhibit design for a new Wisconsin history museum during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" listening session June 12, 2019 in Wausau.

Maule's wife, Sandra, wasn't as sold.

"This museum will be huge and I'm slow going through museums," she said. "So if I prioritize [what I'm going to see], this would be the last thing that I would go look at, this chunk of metal."

Another woman said that engineer types would be drawn to the machinery and structure of the turbine "and spend hours looking at them" but others would be attracted for another reason.

"The people who invented and worked in these factories is what's going to tell the human part of the story," she said, "and that will encourage everyone to come into this part of the exhibit."

Discussion on the exhibit produced one of the biggest laughs of the evening after Judith Miller talked about how much she liked exhibits at The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Mich. 

"Moving parts, things that are constantly moving, make it more attractive to people who are not necessarily that interested in manufacturing," she said.

Øverland asked if she liked The Henry Ford. When she answered yes, he said, "Do you know my association with that place? I worked there for the past 26 years." 

When the laughter subsided, Øverland, who was Executive Vice President & Chief Historian at The Henry Ford prior to taking his current position in Wisconsin, said, "Thank you for that comment. I'll send it back to my former staff."

The conversation then turned to a rendering of a whimsical art installation of a giant cow comprised of objects coming from all 72 counties of Wisconsin.

Like at other listening sessions, reaction to the cow was mixed. 

EnlargeGreg Stankowski of Mosinee shares his thoughts about a concept exhibit design rendering for a new state history museum during the Wisconsin Historical Society's listening session at the Marathon County Historical Society's Woodson Center in Wausau.

Greg Stankowski of Mosinee shares his thoughts about a concept exhibit design rendering for a new state history museum during the Wisconsin Historical Society's listening session at the Marathon County Historical Society's Woodson Center in Wausau.

Greg Stankowski of Mosinee, who grew up on a family dairy farm, liked the cow but thought "it would be hard to pick one item from each county. I don't know how you pick one item, unless you change it."

Fred Heider said he loves art and art museums, but "unless this was being done by kids groups, I don't see a place for it in the museum. I think the museum itself should be a piece of art" and have an artistic architectural design.

Darlene Lee liked "the cow shape and it's certainly fun to look at, but it's too much to look at. You're not going to see much of what's on there." She suggested instead placing the installation outside the building to attract people to the museum.

Discussion turned to other potential forms instead of a cow, including a cheese wedge or a big milk bottle with Wisconsin dairy names on it. 

The woman who talked about the human stories of manufacturing suggested that the cow — or whatever might takes its place — "will be a selfie spot."

"That's important in a 21st-century museum," she said. It will be a space people will stop at and will point out things [and take their selfie]. It will be something that people will talk about."

Øverland noted how museums need iconic pieces that guests can use to orient themselves and to serve as a meeting spot, and the art installation could serve that purpose, too.

EnlargeKeene Winters, a Wausau resident and member of the Wisconsin Historical Society's Board of Curators, looks over a packet of new museum concept exhibit design renderings during the "Share Your Voice" listening session June 10, 2019 in Wausau.

Keene Winters, a Wausau resident and member of the Wisconsin Historical Society's Board of Curators, looks over a packet of new museum concept exhibit design renderings during the "Share Your Voice" listening session June 12, 2019 in Wausau.

A rendering called "Natural Resources" showed an outdoor scene with a cabin, maple syrup being tapped from a tree, and a Packers ice fishing shanty, among other items.

"I think it's a cultural icon," Wausau resident Keene Winters, another Society Board of Curators member. "We're talking about our heritage and our culture, so I think it fits in that way."

Liz Brezinski, however, said "it feels cold to me. ... When I think of natural resources, I think of beauty." 

The concept of a "Supper Club Experience" elicited warm memories from the group.

"I like this one a lot," Lee Kaschinska said, "because I think it's somewhat unique to Wisconsin. When I think of Wisconsin, I think of supper clubs, fish fries and Brandy Old Fashioned sweets."

EnlargeCollege students and Wausau natives Nadia Bauman and Tyler Frahm talk about places they would recommend to others who aren't from Wausau during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session in Wausau.

College students and Wausau natives Nadia Bauman and Tyler Frahm talk about places they would recommend to others who aren't from Wausau during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session June 12, 2019 in Wausau.

College students Nadia Bauman and her boyfriend Tyler Frahm agreed that supper clubs and similar restaurants were what they would share with people new to Wisconsin.

"Something like The Mint Cafe in Downtown Wausau," said Bauman, referring to the revered and iconic eatery that has been located on Third Street since 1888.

Liz Brezinski suggested that the museum "could have different areas for dining, like a North Woods Adventure" and other themed areas serving different ethnic recipes. 

Øverland closed the session by asking guests to share their favorite museum experiences, since the Society's aim will be to create similarly lasting memories. Suggestions included the African American Museum in Washington, D.C., seeing the Mona Lisa at the Metropolitan Art Museum of New York, the Museum of Industry and Technology in Manchester, England; the Imperial War Museum in London; and the German American Heritage Center & Museum in Davenport, Iowa.

"It was immersive," Dave Anderson said of the German heritage center. "It felt like going up and boarding a ship. You felt what it was like being on that ship. You felt what it was like getting off in New York. ... I really felt as though I was walking in my forefathers' footsteps."

Earlier in the session, Øverland talked about how that kind of memorable experience will be possible in Wisconsin's new museum, and will make it a national attraction.

"Our historical society is looked at by our colleagues in the museum and history industry as one of the great historical societies in the United States, if not THE greatest," Øverland said. "And this museum is going to put us over the top."

The Society's world-renowned collections, dating to the 16th century and including amazing North American history artifacts and documents, will make Wisconsin's museum stand out.

"People will see exhibits that they've never been able to see before," Øverland said. "When we open this to the public, we think it's going to be a Midwest destination. And with our collection, it's going to rival some of the things you see in Washington, D.C., so it'll be a national destination."

"When people fly into Chicago and want to see great museums," he continued, "they’ll look around and they’ll come here."

Suggestions made on Post-It notes during the June 10, 2019 "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session in Wausau were turned into this word cloud, with the most suggested words in the biggest type.

Suggestions made on Post-It notes during the June 10, 2019 "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session in Wausau were turned into this word cloud, with the most suggested words in the biggest type.

  

Agnes Gliniecki of Kronenwetter smiles as she looks at concept exhibit design renderings for a new $120 million Wisconsin state history museum to be built in Madison and digitally connected to all 72 counties.

Agnes Gliniecki of Kronenwetter enjoys a look at concept exhibit design renderings for a new $120 million Wisconsin state history museum to be built in Madison and digitally connected to all 72 counties. The images were shared at the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" listening session June 12, 2019 in Wausau.

Deb Bauman, an elementary school teacher in Wausau, enjoys a guests comment during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session June 10, 2019 at the Marathon County Historical Society's Woodson Center in Wausau.

Deb Bauman, an elementary school teacher in Wausau, enjoys a guest's comment during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session June 12, 2019 at the Marathon County Historical Society's Woodson Center in Wausau.

Greg Stankowski of Mosinee, with his wife Susan looking on, raises his hand in support of a new museum rendering of an art installation of a cow representing all 72 counties.

Greg Stankowski of Mosinee, with his wife Susan looking on, laughs as he raises his hand in support of a new museum rendering of an art installation of a cow representing all 72 counties. He wasn't sure how it would be possible to pick just one item to represent each county. 

Wausau resident Kathy Schneck talks about the importance of including American Indian perspectives in stories and suggests using a tribal birch-bark canoe maker as an artist in residence at the new Wisconsin history museum.

Wausau resident Kathy Schneck talks about the importance of including American Indian perspectives in stories and suggests using a tribal birch-bark canoe maker as an artist in residence at the new Wisconsin history museum the Wisconsin Historical Society is planning to build.

Dave Lee, a retired orchestra teacher from Wausau, enjoys a laugh during a discussion at the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session in Wausau.

Dave Lee, a retired orchestra teacher from Wausau, enjoys a laugh during a discussion at the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session in Wausau.

Dave Anderson of Wausau, a member of the Wisconsin Historical Society's Board of Curators, talks about a favorite museum experience at the Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session June 10, 2019 in Wausau.

Dave Anderson of Wausau, a member of the Wisconsin Historical Society's Board of Curators, talks about a favorite museum experience at the Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session June 12, 2019 in Wausau. "I really felt as though I was walking in my forefathers' footsteps," he said of visiting the German American Heritage Center & Museum in Davenport, Iowa. 

Darlene Lee of Wausau enjoys a laugh with other guests at the "Share Your Voice" session June 10, 2019 in Wausau.

Darlene Lee of Wausau enjoys a laugh with other guests at the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session June 12, 2019 in Wausau.

Fred and Erin Heider laugh as they discuss a potential new museum exhibit during the Wisconsin Historical Society's listening session June 10, 2019 at the Marathon County Historical Society's Woodson Center in Wausau.

Fred and Erin Heider laugh as they discuss a potential new museum exhibit during the Wisconsin Historical Society's listening session June 12, 2019 at the Marathon County Historical Society's Woodson Center in Wausau.

Jim Kraft laughs after being surprised with the microphone by Halley Pucker of the Wisconsin Historical Society during the "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session in Wausau.

Jim Kraft laughs after being surprised with the microphone by Halley Pucker of the Wisconsin Historical Society during the "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session in Wausau.

Laurel Hoffman examines new museum concept exhibit design renderings on the screen during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" listening session June 10, 2019 in Wausau.

Laurel Hoffman examines new museum concept exhibit design renderings on the screen during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" listening session June 12, 2019 in Wausau.

John Hattenhauer of Wausau examines a packet of new museum concept exhibit design renderings during the "Share Your Voice" listening session at the Marathon County Historical Society's Woodson Center in Wausau.

John Hattenhauer of Wausau examines a packet of new museum concept exhibit design renderings during the "Share Your Voice" listening session at the Marathon County Historical Society's Woodson Center in Wausau.

Liz Brezinski offers a comment about an exhibit design during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session in Wausau.

Liz Brezinski offers a comment about an exhibit design during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session in Wausau. Also pictured are Judith Miller, left, and Brezinski's husband, Jim.

A woman tells guests at the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" listening session in Wausau that a big art installation such as a cow would be a popular "selfie spot" for visitors to a new state history museum.

A woman tells guests at the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" listening session in Wausau that a big art installation such as a cow would be a popular "selfie spot" for visitors to a new state history museum.

Jim Werner talks about the important industrial and manufacturing history of central Wisconsin during the "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session in Wausau.

Jim Werner talks about the important industrial and manufacturing history of central Wisconsin during
the "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session in Wausau.

Christian Øverland, the Ruth and Hartley Barker Director of the Wisconsin Historical Society, talks about concept exhibit design renderings for a new state history museum at the "Share Your Voice" listening session June 10, 2019 in Wausau.

Christian Øverland, the Ruth and Hartley Barker Director of the Wisconsin Historical Society, talks about concept exhibit design renderings for a new state history museum at the "Share Your Voice" listening session June 12, 2019 in Wausau.

Judith Miller writes comments on a packet of new museum concept exhibit design renderings during the "Share Your Voice" listening session in Wausau.

Judith Miller closely examines a packet of new museum concept exhibit design renderings during the "Share Your Voice" listening session in Wausau.

Nadia Bauman and Tyler Frahm watch closely as Wisconsin Historical Society Director Christian Overland talks about new museum concept exhibit design renderings during the "Share Your Voice" listening session in Wausau.

Nadia Bauman and Tyler Frahm watch closely as Wisconsin Historical Society Director Christian Overland talks about new museum concept exhibit design renderings during the "Share Your Voice" listening session in Wausau.

 

(From left) Keene Winters, Agnes Gliniecki and Laurel Hoffman write suggestions about what makes the Wausau area special during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session June 10, 2019 in Wausau.

(From left) Keene Winters, Agnes Gliniecki and Laurel Hoffman write suggestions on Post-It notes about what makes the Wausau area, and Wisconsin in general, special during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session June 12, 2019 in Wausau.

Kathy Schneck of Wausau writes down her comments during the "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session at the Marathon County Historical Society's Woodson Center in Wausau.

Kathy Schneck of Wausau writes down her comments during the "Share Your
Voice" new museum listening session at the Marathon County Historical
Society's Woodson Center in Wausau.

Erin and Fred Heider enjoy a laugh during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session in Wausau.

Erin and Fred Heider enjoy a laugh during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session in Wausau.

Sandra Maule pays close attention as Wisconsin Historical Society Director Christian Overland discusses potential exhibit concepts for a new state history museum during a listening session June 10, 2019 in Wausau.

Sandra Maule pays close attention as Wisconsin Historical Society Director Christian Overland discusses potential exhibit concepts for a new state history museum during a listening session June 12, 2019 in Wausau.

Keene Winters, a Wausau resident and member of the Wisconsin Historical Society's Board of Curators, makes a comment during the "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session June 10, 2019 in Wausau.

Keene Winters, a Wausau resident and member of the Wisconsin Historical Society's Board of Curators, makes a comment during the "Share Your Voice" new museum listening session June 12, 2019 in Wausau.

Andrew Maule of Madison, seated with his parents George and Sandra Maule of Georgia, shares his thoughts about a rendering of a concept exhibit design for a new Wisconsin history museum during the listening session in Wausau.

Andrew Maule of Madison, seated with his parents George and Sandra of Georgia, shares his thoughts about a rendering of a concept exhibit design for a new Wisconsin history museum during the Wisconsin Historical Society's "Share Your Voice" listening session June 10, 2019 in Wausau.

Share Your Voice statewide map

"SHARE YOUR VOICE" STATEWIDE SESSION LOCATIONS