What is there to do in Appleton, WI during winter? We certainly enjoyed the mall there, much nicer than I expected. But how long can you spend at a mall? So instead if spending our time hunting the isles of Macy’s for a deal we headed to an area museum. What could be a better cure for boredom than a Castle with a floor dedicated to Harry Houdini.
Like many Midwestern cities of the same size, Appleton has an industrial history. Large paper mills helped build the city into a place with colleges, arts and a strong community. The Museum at the Castle includes a series of well done exhibits highlighting some of the remarkable members of Appleton. Every small town has a story, this one just happens to have some magic in it.
It’s hard to believe that this little museum caused a bit of a controversy. The Houdini gallery creatively takes you through the progression of his career in more of a broad explanation of the industry at a time. The exhibit is kid friendly. It begins with a showcase about circus performers and early vaudeville, connecting each fun area with a skill Houdini mastered at a young age.
The second area brings up more of how he polished his act and came up with his truly unique way of presenting tricks. The third area is where the controversy starts, it reveals how he was able to to many of his tricks. It by no means tries to downplay his skills, many of the displays give you a chance to understand how in depth his training and preparation was. There is one area where you can preform a trick with the stage and all. Had I been feeling better I would have videoed us doing the trick.
We had a blast playing with all the magic tricks and they do a great job with highlighting what makes Appleton special. Exactly what a local museum should do.