Wisconsin Historical Society Asks Community How to Assemble New Museum

Community Gathers at Bong Veterans Historical Center to Give Feedback

SUPERIOR, Wis.- It’s not everyday that a whole community is asked what they want to go into a museum.

But that’s the opportunity people in Superior got on Monday, as the Wisconsin Historical Society sought feedback about what should be exhibited at their upcoming museum, being built on Capitol Square in Madison.

33 other cities around Wisconsin will also have the opportunity to chime in with their opinions, as the Society journeys around the state, gathering input.

The Bong Veterans Historical Center was packed with dozens of Superiorites who answered the call.

A museum at any level, the Society said, is always built on people’s stories.

“So our belief is that local stories have regional, national impact,” said Historical Society Director Christian Overland. “So why not connect stories from our local citizenry all across our state and region?”

One of the features of the $120 million museum will be a theater, which will connect digitally to museums across Wisconsin.

Both ends will be able to broadcast content to each other, leaving no one out.

The Bong Center is among those in the network. Its staff agrees: that’s the way museums should be.

“History, in general, needs to be really personal for people to connect,” said Hayes Scriven, Executive Director of the Center.

“I’m hoping that when they’re going around they’ll be able to pull out these little strands that are uniquely Wisconsin that are very unique, that nobody’s ever heard of before. And they’ll go ‘oh, that’s really cool!'”

Along their statewide search for suggestions, the Historical Society will sit down with all 12 Native American nations to hear their stories as well, in an effort to leave no culture’s story unheard.

While they have a mountain of sticky notes coming their way, they said that any elements not chosen to be physically featured, will definitely be featured in the digital portion of the museum, thereby reaching the whole state.

It’s expected to be complete by 2024.

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