As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, my hometown is Washington Island, Wisconsin. A small community located in Door County, it relies almost entirely on seasonal tourist dollars to survive. With my family’s business on the Island dependent mostly on out-of-town visitors, I grew up understanding the importance of tourism.
That’s why I was impressed and happy to hear the news last week that the Woodson Art Museum was the recipient of the Wisconsin Governor’s Tourism Award for Arts, Culture & Heritage. Not only is it a major feather in our cap to be honored as a premier tourist destination in the state, but it’s also a testament to the hard work and dedication by every member of the staff to make the Museum a destination for visitors from throughout the region and beyond.
Although impressed, I am not surprised. The range and quality of Woodson exhibitions and programs provide a consistent educational and entertaining destination for tourists from near and far. In the past year, with Medieval to Metal: The Art and Evolution of the Guitar, the 40th Anniversary of Birds in Art, and now Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos, and Toys in the Attic, we have welcomed visitors from Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, and all over Wisconsin for day trips and overnight stays.
As someone who helps write proposals for support of exhibitions and develops programs, I, too, felt a sense of pride in helping win the award. While it’s difficult for the Museum to compete with the summertime outdoor activities – fishing, boating, camping, hiking, beach bumming – a place like Washington Island can provide, everyone needs a go-to place to visit when the weather doesn’t cooperate. The Woodson Art Museum is happy to be one of those all-weather destinations. However, I don’t think it would hurt if the Museum had a fish boil every once in a while . . .