There are certain places we visit in our lives that are clearly filled with civic pride. Those places quickly move to a high spot on the list of places we want to visit again.
The building itself is somewhat of a showstopper. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, it was originally a Masonic temple. The Normal Revival architecture is reminiscent of medieval castles with rough hewn stone, vaulted ceilings and leaded windows.
Within these walls are exhibitions that celebrate Appleton’s history. The staff at the Museum is knowledgeable and eager to help you and the gift shop is terrific. Information is also available to assist you in finding other interesting sites in Appleton, including the Houdini Walking Tour. Yes, that Houdini as Harry Houdini and his family called this charming city home.
Many of the exhibits are hands-on, delighting and engaging young minds. Industry and home (among others) are celebrated in the galleries with scenes from everyday life and business in Tools of Change. Take a closer look at life in the Fox Valley region from 1840 to 1950, from kitchens to a Model T in a vintage gas station.
Locals of note are represented including Senator Joseph McCarthy, who went on to become the figure-head of the anti-communist persecutions in the 1950s and Edna Ferber, the witty author whose perspectives on growing up in a small Midwestern town earned her a Pulitzer Prize.
The AKA Houdini exhibit gives visitors an inside look at world-renowned magician and performer Harry Houdini. This hands-on exhibit is magical (pun intended) with many opportunities to try out the tricks yourself. More than one girl was spied trying to make her brother disappear! From his childhood, through his famous journey as a showman magician, to his tragic death, it’s all examined.
Now through January 6, 2013, you can enjoy the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci, Machines in Motion. This interactive exhibit takes a unique backwards look at this forward-thinking genius. Originating in Florence, Italy, this brings together the largest collection of full-size, working replicas of 40 of da Vinci’s machines. You can touch and send them into motion yourself! Flying machines, a printing press and more are represented.
Appleton has many other family-friendly attractions including: the Fox River Mall (with over 180 retailers), Wilmar Chocolates (where you can design your own bar!), Mulberry Lane Farms, Building for Kids Children’s Museum, Wisconsin Timber Rattler’s class A baseball, the Paper Discovery Center (paper mills helped build the Fox Cities), the Barlow Planetarium, Weiss Earth Science Museum and natural destinations including High Cliff State Park and the 1,000 Islands Environmental Center (keep your eyes open for bald eagles).
From Greater Cincinnati, Appleton is served by the Outagamie County Regional Airport. For more information about the area including accommodation packages, visit www.foxcities.org.
For hours and ticket information visit:
330 E. College Ave.
Appleton, WI 54911