In August of 2016, I gave my first and to date, my only, 5 wheelchair star rating for accessibility to the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. The Institute of Museum and Library Services agrees with my rating! I am pleased to announce that the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum has received the National Medal for Museum and Library Service! Congratulations to Kathy Foley, Amy Beck and the rest of the museum employees and volunteers.
Last fall, I wrote a letter to the Institute of Museum and Library Services about my experience at the museum, as an individual with a disability and a wheelchair user. Accessibility goes beyond removing physical barriers. The founders and current staff have and continue to strive to make the experience of art available to everyone, regardless of disability, age or economic status. It was largely due to these efforts that sealed this honor for the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.
To give a clear perspective of how big of a deal this is, 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums are eligible for the National Medal of Museum and Library Service, if nominated by a visitor or community member. That is huge competition! The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum is only one of two art museums to win the nation’s highest museum honor this year.
Yesterday, I received a visit from Kathy Foley, Amy Beck and Rick Wunch (museum photographer). Due to my current transportation limitations, I was unable to go to the museum to personally congratulate them. They came to me! I think this action clearly demonstrates the tremendous dedication of the museum.
I was overwhelmed by the kind words of gratitude for my letter of support. I have to say I am generally a pretty quiet guy, but yesterday, I was literally speechless! I was given a framed Birds in Art print, a beautiful fruit basket, and champagne flavored jelly beans (which I have to say were delicious but not intoxicating!)
I would like to once again say CONGRATULATIONS!!! The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s staff and volunteers definitely deserve this highest honor. The founders of this Wausau gem would be so proud of all your hard work and dedication to making this museum supremely accessible!