Carriages ride to their stylish new home

THE WESLEY JUNG CARRIAGE Museum collection was movin’ on up last week.

Movin’ on up the hill, that is.

The more than 60 vintage carriages and wagons in the collection, all dating back to the period from 1870 to 1915, were moved by museum staff and volunteers to their new home in the soon-to-open Wade House Visitor Center on State 23.

For nearly half a century, the collection – donated to the Wisconsin State Historical Society by Wesley W. Jung, grandson of a Sheboygan carriage maker – was housed in a cramped building in the back of the state historical site grounds.

Now, one of the finest collections of vintage carriages will have a brand new, state-of-the-art ‘green’ home in the spectacular new visitors center.

The new 20,000-square foot exhibition space in the lower level of the center will enable the museum to display the carriages in thematic groupings that will emphasize the various types and uses of the horsedrawn vehicles and will, according to museum staff, “encourage visitors to use all their senses when interacting with the exhibits.”

The theme of interaction and using all the senses will be common throughout the new 38,000-square foot visitor center building, which is scheduled for a grand opening June 6, 2013 – 60 years to the day after the historic site was first dedicated as a gift from Ruth DeYoung Kohler and the Kohler Foundation in 1953.

The center will feature two reproduction vehicles, including a reproduction of one of the stagecoaches that carried passengers from Sheboygan to Fond du Lac and made regular stops at the Wade House in Greenbush in the mid-19th century. Visitors will be encouraged to climb aboard the vehicles to get them acclimated to their trip back more than a century and a half at the Jung Museum and the Wade House.

Videos, interactive kiosks, photos and wall panels will literally transport visitors back to the 1850s as they prepare for the carriage ride that will take them to the Wade House, just like the travelers along the Old Plank Road.

The stunning new visitor center will give the Wade House an eyecatching presence on State 23, drawing the interest of traffic along that major arterial highway.

The displays, exhibits and activities inside the center will help attract and engage visitors of all ages, making their visit to the state historical site more memorable and enjoyable.

The Wade House has already been, for nearly six decades, a major tourist attraction among the many that draw thousands of visitors to Sheboygan County every year. The new visitor center and home for the Wesley W. Jung Carriage Museum will make it an even greater attraction, sure to draw more visitors and bring a bigger boost to our local economy.

That’s a ride we can all enjoy.

At issue:
New home for Jung carriages
Bottom line:
A deluxe new setting

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