Andy Returns to Wisconsin

By: Andy Jacksack on June 26th, 2024

My journey to the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum started with an ostrich farm.

Ten year old child with long hair stands in the center of the picture holding a baby ostrich

Andy holding a baby ostrich.

As a child raised in suburban Libertyville, Illinois, Central Wisconsin felt magical. I took summer trips to the Stevens Point area with my grandparents and father, and there I explored the woods, beaches, and cornfields. I gathered rocks and turkey feathers and, yes, went to the ostrich farm. The farm was down the street from my house, and I was fascinated with the lanky birds and their giant eggs. On one occasion, I even held a baby ostrich. I still remember how it felt to hold that tiny bird in my arms. From that moment on, I’ve had a fascination with ostriches and birds in general, and Central Wisconsin has been my favorite place. It feels appropriate, then, that I should come to work at a museum—in this geographical area—that highlights the beauty of the natural world for Central Wisconsin communities and beyond. 

Of course, my journey to the Woodson Art Museum was not so straight forward. First I earned my bachelor’s degree in music and anthropology from Drake University in 2019, taught piano, moved to Milwaukee, worked at a history museum in Sheboygan, and later graduated with my master’s degree in anthropology and museum studies from UW-Milwaukee. When I saw an opening for the Volunteer Coordinator and Assistant Educator position at the Woodson Art Museum, I knew I had to apply. It was a chance to move to my favorite place and start fresh. 

Over the past month at the Museum, my decision to return to the area has been reaffirmed. The volunteer docents, greeters, and gardeners I work with are some of the most remarkable individuals I have met. The staff have been welcoming, and I feel some of that childhood magic returning to my life. Although the ostrich farm no longer exists, the nostalgia certainly does.

Person with blond hair smiles

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