Telling Our Stories

By: Kathy Kelsey Foley, director on July 3rd, 2019

I never tire of telling the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s stories.

Perhaps that’s an occupational hazard. I prefer to think it’s one of the pleasures of my role as the Museum’s advocate-in-chief.

Last month, I welcomed Marathon County department heads, County administrator Brad Karger, and County Board chair Kurt Gibbs to the Museum for their monthly meeting.

To quote Brad, “We are taking a ‘field trip.’ This is going to be fun!”

The time I spent with the group flew by. I reviewed the Museum’s backstory, how the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum came to be and the visionary thinking of its founders – Mrs. Woodson’s three daughters and their families – which included a commitment to free admission from the get-go.

I touched on the many and varied ways the Museum serves the local and regional communities as well as visitors from near and far. Visitor data and visitor spending certainly impact Marathon County, whether through gasoline tax collection, sales tax, or good will. The Museum’s economic impact and quality-of-life impact have far-reaching benefits.

I also responded to thoughtful questions, and following the meeting, I rejoined the group for a behind-the-scenes look at collections storage and time in the galleries.

From my perspective, engaging with Marathon County staff leaders was a great opportunity for information sharing and perhaps even dispelling misconceptions. For example, it’s good to talk and even laugh while visiting an art museum and you cannot visit too often; once is never enough.

Follow-up email messages from many participants confirmed their delight in the experience and promises to return with family and friends in tow.

Most important, those present heard my stories and my passion for the Woodson Art Museum and that goes a long way in generating enthusiasm in others.

Information is a powerful currency. Armed with newfound knowledge about the Art Museum and its wide-ranging service to the residents of Marathon County, I’m confident those with whom I spoke will join me as ambassadors for the Woodson Art Museum and tell our stories.

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