Wisconsin Attractions, Museums March 09, 2018
This Award-Winning Wisconsin Art Museum Is The Best In The Country
The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum in Wausau is a truly delightful gem. This isn’t like any other museum you’ve ever been to. Take all your preconceived notions of sterile white walls and hushed whispers and throw them out the window. Woodson is an interactive, forward-thinking, inclusive spot that is so amazing, it was recently recognized as one of the very best.
The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum was recently named a National Medal winner, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community. Just five museums and five libraries are given the honor each year. Winners are chosen because of their significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.
Woodson is the only full-service art museum in northern Wisconsin. In their release on the award they said "With the Woodson Art Museum’s mission 'to enhance lives through art,' staff continually strive to provide visitors with barrier-free access to a vast array of visual arts – through the commitment to always-free admission, a fully accessible physical facility, and demystifying artistic processes.
At any given time, there are dozens of different workshops, programs, studios, exhibitions and conversations scheduled. The museum is stellar at breaking down barriers and making the experience interactive.
While the calendar is full of events and programs for adults, it's also chock full of all kinds of programming for kids and families. Programming starts for babies and follows on up in to the teens. There's sensory stimulation, hands-on creation and so much more.
One of Woodson's most popular events is their yearly Birds in Art exhibit. More than sixty artists participate and many are on hand to discuss their creations and the process, further narrowing the gap between artist and viewer. There are artists in residence and discussions, hands-on creation and more
What makes Woodson so great, from a visitor's perspective, is the total lack of pretense. Woodson is as far from a snooty, snobby art show as you can get. The staff is so committed to making art accessible, in both a physical and mental sense. They have always done a stellar job at answering the age-old question "how do they do that?" and this award just validates why that's so important.
There's just no chance to ever be bored here. Woodson really rewrites what it means to be a museum and changes people's minds about what an art museum can or should be.
Despite being in central Wisconsin, the museum also does an incredible job of using their outdoor space, no matter the weather. There's an amazing sculpture garden and in the winter there are snow-sculpting demonstrations.
But the building uses it's amazing windows to bring the outside in and vice versa, as well. There's so much here the crosses boundaries we're so used to and it messes with your mind in the very best way. Woodson challenges what you think art and museums should be and that's why they were nationally recognized.
Their calendar of events each month contains dozens of different events for patrons of all ages. There are regular events catering to those with vision loss as well as one for those with memory loss. There isn't am under served demographic of the population that Woodson hasn't thought up a program to assist. It's this awareness and eagerness to help that makes a visit here so special. They want their art to truly be accessible and enjoyed by all.
There are few spots anywhere in the world as special as this and yet somehow it remains a hidden gem to folks not living in the Wausau area. It's a world-class facility and you're going to want to visit.
Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum is located at 700 N 12th St, Wausau, WI 54403.
Have you been to Woodson? Let us know about your experience in the comments!
This museum is just one of the reasons we’ve said
Wausau is the one town in Wisconsin you’ll want to visit.
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