The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

June 5, 2014

Exhibits fan interest

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — FULTON, Ill. — Keeping a museum thriving and well is tough business for a group of volunteers but the Windmill Cultural Center groups are gearing up for their busiest season of the year.

Summertime at the WCC is filled with tour groups of all ages, from children’s school groups to adult social clubs that visit the center for entertaining and educational opportunities. But in order to keep those groups interested and coming back, the WCC has to extend its efforts to provide new and exciting things to offer.

That’s why organizers created the temporary exhibits series to feature throughout the summer.

“The purpose of the temporary exhibit is to draw people to the Windmill area,” Education Committee Member Betty Wiebenga said. “It just changes up the feel and really brings an extra dimension to our small museum.”

When the Windmill Cultural Center was created five years ago, the steering committee discussed ideas to ensure the facility would be used to its full potential. When the idea of the temporary exhibits was brought to the table, the entire group was on board.

Now five years later, those temporary exhibits are still running the show in the winter, keeping not only local visitors interested but windmill enthusiasts and other tourists intrigued as well.

And, that’s exactly what Steering Committee Chairwoman Nancy Kolk wanted.

“The steering committee had thought to have the exhibits for local, returning visitors but it also added something to those who come to us from out of town,” she said. “That temporary exhibit gives an extra piece of information for people who come in. As people come to us, some from all over the world, they may only come to see the permanent windmill exhibit, but others are interested in the temporary ones. This is just another way for us to reach an audience.”

The first of three temporary exhibits that will be featured this summer is already in place at the WCC and will remain there throughout the month of June. In July the next exhibit will be installed, lasting a month, and so on.

By offering each exhibit for only a month, the group can not only offer something different over the course of the entire summer, but it also creates an opportunity for all of the windmill volunteers to get involved.

Each exhibit is designed and executed by individual committees that have ties to the windmill, be it the education committee, Friends of the Windmill or the steering committee; it doesn’t matter, each has a stake in the windmill, and each wants to see it filled with intrigued minds.

“We had all of the exhibits planned and lined up probably by the first of the year,” Kolk said. “This is a new trend for us to try to involve more of the volunteers at the windmill.”

And, although this year’s exhibits are ready to go, the group welcomes suggestions from all of its visitors.

“There’s good ideas out there and we can’t think of all of them,” Kolk said. “So we listen to all of our visitors, as we have in the past, and take any suggestions they may have.”

While donations are welcomed, the WCC is free of charge for visitors and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, all summer long.