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Grant moves history museum closer to major new exhibit

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A $600,000 grant will move the Fox Valley closer to connecting with its history in a new way.

A new, permanent exhibit is being designed for the History Museum at the Castle, which will occupy its lower level. ”You Are Here” will include four thematic areas: Our Fox River Valley Home, Peoples of the Fox River Valley, Industry and Our Environment and Our Cultural Values.

The grant, announced last week, was awarded from the David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.

The $1.3 million exhibit will feature accessible text, graphics, and engaging interactives designed for the education and enjoyment of visitors of all ages and interest levels.

Design work began last fall.

The history museum’s staff is developing the historical content. Split Rock Studies, an exhibit design and fabrication firm based in St. Paul, Minn., is developing plans and will construct the exhibition. It’ll cover about 3,100 square feet in the history museum’s lower level.

“You Are Here” has also received financial backing from the Doug and Carla Salmon Foundation, Outagamie County, the John S. and Ann P. Kloehn Fund and the John Bradley Fund.

While waiting on the new, there’s still plenty to see at the museum.

The museum is open Friday through Sunday as pandemic precautions continue with hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The museum’s lower level currently hosts Tools of Change, an exhibit that examine the tools, work and everyday life in the Fox Valley from 1840 to 1950. Displays include the Nichols bank that was the site of a robbery th, a Model T Ford in a vintage gas station and a model train table created to look like downtown Appleton in 1951. 

Exhibits also include AKA Houdini, a hands-on experience teaching the tricks of an Appleton boy who went onto international fame.

“You Are Here” is slated to open in summer 2022.