Vesterheim Museum has announced a number of changes to its facilities, all geared to creating a more pleasant and engaging experience for visitors.
The Bruening Visitor Center, named for Duane and Eileen Bruening of Decorah, will be created in the first floor of the museum's Westby-Torgerson Education Center. The visitor center will have video presentations, virtual tours and a computerized catalog. Information about other local and regional attractions will also be available.
Vesterheim's Museum Store, which was previously on the Main Building's first floor, and the Folk Art Supply Shop, formerly in the Westby-Torgerson Education Center, have been consolidated in a larger space in the Education Center that is more visible to the public from the street. Visitors can purchase their museum admission tickets and use restroom facilities.
The area on the first floor of the Main Building previously occupied by the Museum Store will be converted into a large gallery for rotating exhibitions.
According to Vesterheim Executive Director Steve Johnson, the end result of all these changes should be an enhanced and more engaging visitor experience. "Many of the sessions at the last national meeting of the American Association of Museums stressed the importance of the kind of experience a visitor has. No matter how fine a museum collection is the setting and quality of the visitor's encounter with the artifacts must remain paramount," he said.