I have a “dream-catcher” journal on my bedside table to capture those fleeting thoughts that bubble up from the sleepy, subconscious realm and would otherwise be gone without a trace.
I ask Woodson Art Museum greeters to jot down visitors’ comments and anecdotes for a purpose much like that dream-catcher journal. These volunteers hear visitors’ stories – where they’re from and what brought them to the Museum – that might otherwise drift away unheard by staff members.
These snippets, just from the last couple of months, offer a window into who’s walking through the Museum doors.
- Twenty visitors from an outdoor women’s group drove from Eagle River, Three Lakes, Hayward, and Minocqua.
- A grandmother brought her 19-year-old grandson to see Birds in Art for his birthday – their first visit to the Woodson.
- A couple of art students and an instructor drove from a Chicago arboretum to visit.
- One group wanted to see the Huchthausen glass artworks –“Very impressive!”
- Two day trippers from Minneapolis and four from Door County come to the Museum every year.
- One group made a point of coming to the Museum while here from Alaska for a “short visit.”
- A dozen visited from North Lakeland Discovery Center Bird Club.
- A woman who’d visited the previous day brought her husband back the next.
- Visitors from Antigo incorporated a Woodson Art Museum trip with tickets to see Blue Man Group at the Grand Theater.
- A student returned after a class visit to write a report for school and brought the grandmother, too.
- Five women interning at the Raptor Education Group, Inc. in Antigo visited.
- On November 10, the final day of Birds in Art, visitors from the following locations traveled for Museum visits and overnight stays in the Wausau area: Alabama, Iowa, Minnesota, Minocqua, Chilton, Ringle, Two Rivers, and Ladysmith.
- Here for the Huchthausen glass retrospective – here for every exhibition. (We love to hear that!)
The Museum’s Facebook page can serve “dream catcher” purposes, as well. Alongside a link to an NBC News story about programs bringing school children to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, a woman posted on her own Facebook page:
- “The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum of Wausau also has wonderful outreach programs. Not just for kids but for people with disabilities and anyone wishing to participate. We are so lucky to have it here.”
Shannon Pueschner, who works at the Visitor Services desk on weekends, relayed the story of one family’s first-time visit. A high school student, visiting to fulfill a class requirement, brought his mother and younger sister, and all initially didn’t appear happy to be here. Shannon suggested visiting Art Park, the Museum’s interactive family gallery, and three hours later . . .
- “Upon their return to the main level, they all had smiles on their faces. They had returned to Visitor Services to show me the lovely drawing the younger child had done, and to ask some questions about the works on view. . . She (the mother) was amazed at how both of her children took such a liking, her son was enthralled and became independent of her, and her daughter was reading every label aloud and would not allow them to move on until she had visited every last painting, and read every last word.”
What’s your story? What brought you to the Museum recently – or for a virtual visit to the Museum’s Facebook, Twitter, or blog pages – and what do you have to share? I’d love to add it to my Museum “dream-catcher file.”
Visit often; the artwork will feed your dreams, too.