By: Kathy Kelsey Foley, director on December 16th, 2009

We like to keep Woodson Art Museum visitors on their toes. What do I mean by this statement?

When you visit an art museum, you generally know what to expect . . . artworks on gallery walls. And you’ll certainly find that when you visit the Woodson. You’ll also find a whole lot more.

Since mid-November our galleries have served as a live broadcast studio, dynamic classroom, and a replica studio setting for “Norman Rockwell.”

It’s amazing how flexible and creative you can be when program ideas abound and partners are willing to think outside the box.

On November 19, Wausau’s Wisconsin Public Radio Bureau set up its studio in the Museum’s main gallery so that community members could participate in the live broadcast of Glen Moberg’s Route 51.

With the gallery/broadcast studio filled to capacity, Glen welcomed photojournalist Kevin Rivoli, the inspiration behind and curator of the Museum’s current exhibition, In Search of Norman Rockwell’s America.

A superb interviewer, Glen posed insightful questions to Kevin and audience members did, too. If you missed the broadcast, click on this link to download the program from the Wisconsin Public Radio archive.

School groups regularly visit the Museum, and enthusiastic docents lead interactive Experiences that encourage student participation and engagement. You never know how or when something seen or heard will trigger an aha moment.

As Norman Rockwell, character actor Sam Harper took up residence in the galleries earlier this month and connected with hundreds of visitors in ways we couldn’t have imagined. An unabashed raconteur, Mr. Rockwell with pipe in hand provided back stories to many of the artworks on view and also eagerly answered questions and posed for photos.

These examples are just a few ways that the Museum demonstrates its versatility.

Visitors also can enrich their own experiences by utilizing in-gallery tools and their imaginations. Activity Guides, audio tours, extended label materials, Art Park interactives, and videos are among the regularly available tools that can be accessed to make magical moments happen at the Woodson Art Museum.

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