McGivern Goes to Madison

By: Andrew McGivern, curator of exhibitions on November 3rd, 2010

Organizing a three-day motorcoach tour can be challenging. I’ve hosted one or two of these tours each year since 2005, including trips to Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Springfield, Illinois. The initial tours focused on visits to museums, art centers, and visual-arts-events. Recently, I’ve added theater components and travelers really have enjoyed them.

In early October I accompanied 24 travelers to the Madison area to experience some of Wisconsin’s cultural gems. The trip included a tour of the Aldo Leopold Nature Center and the award-winning “green” educational center; the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and dinner at its rooftop restaurant Fresco; Wicked at the Overture Center; Madison’s State Street area museums, Capitol, and Harvest restaurant; and Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, Hillside School, and Visitor Center at Taliesin.

Once I set my sights on Madison, I began tackling many details. Tickets for Wicked were purchased and tour sites, restaurants, hotel, and the bus company were lined up. During the trip, while I enjoy the tours, performance, and meals, I’m always cognizant of the schedule, keeping tabs on travelers, and coordinating timing with our bus driver and our destinations.
Over the years, I’ve received some wonderful comments on the evaluation forms that we distribute to travelers. Here are a few from the Madison group:
• Delightful. I had a wonderful time.
• A nice pace with great options.
• A fun adventure.
• I visited new-to-me places and enjoyed seeing them all.
• Enjoyed the small group.
• 3 days was a nice getaway.
• The pace was perfect.
• If you don’t have enough work to do, Andy, you can always hang out a shingle as a tour planner.
The weather was perfect for our Madison trip, and I had plenty of chocolates and water to keep everyone happy. In December, the Museum will host a follow-up luncheon for travelers. We’ll show photos from the trip and share information about future travel plans.
If you’d like to receive advance material about Museum trips, please call Visitor Services at 715-845-7010 with your contact information.

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