Second-Floor Transformation

Oshkosh Public Museum’s second-floor transformation set to enter next phase in April 2023

The Oshkosh Public Museum is excited to announce the next phase in the complete transformation of its second-floor gallery spaces. The Museum will continue to serve the Oshkosh and Lake Winnebago Region community throughout this exciting time of transformation during 2023. Strategizing for the second-floor transformation began in 2018, the first phases of which were the closure of the Paine Lumber Model in 2019 and the official opening of the Menominee Clans Story in 2021.

Our newest long-term exhibition This Is Winnebagoland will open to visitors on April 1, 2023. Other Museum spaces will remain open and accessible to welcome visitors thisyear. The entire first floor of the Museum, including People of the Waters and the Apostles Clock, continues to welcome visitors throughout 2023. The Menominee Clans Story and the Historic Sawyer Home’s grand staircase will be available to visit beginning on April 1, 2023.

Longstanding spaces, full of Memories & Dreams will be available to visit through Sunday, April 2. Closures will include the temporary exhibition space (“Red Gallery”), Memories & Dreams, including Grandma’s Attic, the Pioneer Log Cabin, and the Civil War and labor history exhibition sections. These spaces will remain open to visitors through Sunday, April 2, 2023. Following the closures, Museum Curators will be carefully returning artifacts to safe storage, in a months-long process.

Construction will begin mid-year to strengthen our building’s capacity to welcome many years of traveling exhibitions from around the country and showcase items within our collection. A new, flexible temporary exhibition space will be unveiled in 2024.

The Oshkosh Public Museum is currently planning its suite of programming and events for 2023. These will include the second-annual Día de los Muertos Celebration on Saturday, October 28, 2023, and the continuation of the monthly Family Discovery Days program every second Saturday 11 am – 2 pm.

We invite you to celebrate the thousands of lives touched by these longstanding spaces with us. Visitors to the Museum have the chance to share their memories of Memories & Dreams and win a 12-month OPM Membership. 

We also invite you to celebrate and welcome the countless possibilities a new space will bring! This new space, and the exhibitions it will welcome, will offer new opportunities for discovery, connection, and inspiration for years to come. We can't wait to share them with you! 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is Grandma’s Attic/Pioneer Log Cabin/etc. going away?

    • The Memories & Dreams exhibition has been on view since 1998. Objects from the collection that are part of the exhibition must eventually be rotated back into safe storage to ensure their preservation.

    • Additionally, to strengthen our ability to best serve the public through traveling exhibitions, we have identified the gallery space currently occupied by Memories & Dreams as the best space for a new, flexible gallery. Our current temporary exhibition space (the “Red Gallery”) has many limitations for hosting temporary exhibitions. Most importantly, as part of the Historic Sawyer Home, it cannot be vastly renovated to become a flexible space.

  • What are you doing with the items? Where is everything going?

    • Museum staff will begin work immediately to return artifacts to safe storage in a months-long process. Artifacts will be cleaned, documented, and stored safely until they are called upon again to be featured in exhibitions!

  • What will be taking its place? What will the second floor be like?

    • Sections of the second floor will be transformed into a new, flexible temporary exhibition space, which will be unveiled in mid-2024. The first exhibition hosted in the new gallery will be a celebration of the Sawyer Family Legacy and the Museum’s 100th anniversary in the Historic Sawyer Home.

    • Other sections of the Museum’s second floor are already undergoing transformation. Our newest long-term exhibition This Is Winnebagoland will open April 1, 2023.

  • What is the new exhibit this year? 

    • The OPM is excited to open This Is Winnebagoland on April 1, 2023. Several other new exhibitions in the Historic Sawyer Home Parlor and Library and lower level will also be on view during 2023.

  • Why is there no travelling exhibit? 
    • The work on the second floor does not allow us to host a travelling exhibit this year. The space will be under construction and occupied by staff who will be carefully documenting and returning artifacts to safe storage.

  • How long will closures last?
    • Memories & Dreams, including Grandma’s Attic, are currently open and will remain open through Sunday, April 2.

    • Following the closure of Memories & Dreams, This Is Winnebagoland, The Menominee Clans Story, and the Historic Sawyer Home Grand Staircase will remain open to welcome visitors.

    • The new gallery will open with its first temporary exhibition mid-2024.

  • How can I stay up to date on the project?

See photos from over the years of Memories & Dreams and a glimpse at what our future gallery may look like: