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History Museum to Create “Museum on the Lawn”

On Friday, August 28 the History Museum at the Castle will create a “Museum on the Lawn.” Pop-up exhibits staged on the museum’s front lawn will offer historic context to contemporary issues. The Museum on the Lawn is free and open to the public.

Bridging the GAP Years: 1969-2019 at the History Museum at the Castle earlier this year. The exhibit was sponsored by a grant from the Bright Idea Fund within the Community Foundation. (Photo courtesy of the History Museum)

The History Museum will move four exhibits outdoors to transform its lawn into an open-air museum. The free Museum on the Lawn features the History Museum’s traveling exhibits: We Stand on their Shoulders: A History of Wisconsin Women and Voting, Bridging the GAP Years, 1969-2019, (In)visible, Homelessness in Appleton, and Stone of Hope: Black Experiences in the Fox Cities. Collectively these exhibits highlight the historic context for a host of contemporary issues facing the country. “People are searching for answers to our present national crises,” History Museum Executive Director Matt Carpenter notes, “and the Museum on the Lawn presents a safe and effective way to provide some historical background.”

The History Museum’s chief curator, Dustin Mack, expects the outdoor museum to offer viewers a unique perspective. “Presenting these exhibits outside in the open is a public acknowledgment of the problems we’re currently facing be it voting rights, social and economic divisions, housing insecurity, or the continued struggle for racial equality,” Mack explains. “An honest account of how we got to this point allows us to, collectively, plot a way forward.”

Enhanced safety measures will be in place at the History Museum for the Museum on the Lawn. Visitors will need to wear a mask and maintain social distancing protocols while viewing the outdoor exhibits. In addition to the free event, the History Museum is offering half price admission for anyone that wants to see Museum’s other exhibitions inside.

Wisconsin Public Radio and the Fairfield Inn & Suites Appleton partnered with the History Museum to present the Museum on the Lawn. “Individuals can, and often do, turn to hate and fear in uncertain times,” Carpenter says. “We hope that the Museum on the Lawn helps people learn from the mistakes of the past.”

The History Museum at the Castle is located at 330 E. College Ave. The Museum on the Lawn will be onsite Friday, August 28 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

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