Nourishing through Time and Attention

By: Lisa Hoffman, curator of education

Soaking rain. Frost. Sunshine and fifty-five degrees. Forecasted snow. Spring break in Wisconsin.

My kids and I are enjoying a “staycation.” I’m at the Woodson Art Museum typing away and they are around the house soaking up the no-school vibes. We’ll escape for a day trip to a favorite educational and entertaining venue in Chicago. It’s an ambitious twenty-four-hour excursion and my wallet will take a $120 hit for admission fees alone. No complaints, however, because time and attention nourish relationships. Time in the van. Time and attention as we battle for control over the day’s agenda. Attention as we each discover and share a detail the others missed. Time and attention as we revel in the giddy laughter and unbridled joy that results from “getting-out-of-Dodge.” Time and attention as we all venture along a path of interest that initially might appeal only to one. Time and attention when all are quiet and lost in thought.

I am privileged to have a career designing, creating, and offering art museum experiences that reward visitors’ investment of time and attention. Woodson Art Museum exhibitions change four times per year and include the internationally renowned Birds in Art each fall. Like the change of seasons, the galleries are refreshed and enlivened by engaging “new” artworks. The interactive family gallery – Art Park – morphs to complement each exhibition and buzzes with visitors of all ages and stages sharing hands-on art projects, stories, interactive elements, and discovery boxes. The outstanding, ever-expanding permanent collection of art of the natural world stands as a testament to the Museum’s mission to enhance lives through art. The sculpture garden affords space for quiet contemplation or lively chatter. All is available for future generations to admire with time and attention.

The Woodson Art Museum thrives in a similar way – through the invested time and attention of dedicated volunteers, members, board of directors, founding family members, and staff. This time and attention nourishes a beloved institution that is – for the second consecutive year – a finalist for the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ National Medal for Museum Service, which is the nation’s highest honor given to museums for service to the community. This year the Woodson Art Museum is one of only three art museums among the nation’s fifteen museum finalists.

So, if you are savoring a staycation or need to get-out-of-Dodge, visit the barrier-free and always admission-free Woodson Art Museum and nourish yourself and others through time and attention.

PS: How have Woodson Art Museum visits inspired you? Please consider posting comments on the USIMLS Facebook page on Monday, April 3, when the Woodson Art Museum will be highlighted as the featured finalist. As always, we also welcome your stories shared via comments on the Woodson Art Museum’s Facebook page.


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