Skip to main content

Wisconsin Parent

Paper Discovery Center in Appleton, Wisconsin

Jan 27, 2014 09:06AM ● By Julie Henning
Located on the main floor of the 100 year-old Atlas Paper Company set on the shores of the Fox River, the Paper Discover Center in Appleton, Wisconsin is a museum/science and technology center that celebrates the history, art, and science of paper through interactive and engaging educational programs, exhibits, and activities.

With a rich history in the papermaking industry, Wisconsin is still the Number 1 papermaker in the United States of America—an industry that nets $200 billion annually and provides over 40,000 jobs, many of which remain in the Appleton and Fox Cities region today.

Paper Discovery Center View of Fox RiverA museum for all ages, the Paper Discovery Center engages patrons on a self-guided tour from tree to industry and begins with a short film on how and why Wisconsin continues to be a leader in sustainable paper products.

Paper Discovery Center MovieTo keep children engaged throughout the exhibits, look for one of two scavenger hunts near the stack of clipboards and pencils near the coat rack (we enjoyed the easier of the two scavenger hunts, and looked for photos of deciduous and coniferous trees hidden throughout the displays). Did you know aspen roots generate another tree after being cut down (no need to replant!)?

Paper Discovery Center Scavenger Hunt

Clues solved and prizes collected, we moved to the climbable exhibit, complete with work uniforms found in the Papermaking Career Lab.

Childs View of PapermakingAfter an obligatory "tacky tourist" sneeze photo taken at the Kimberly Clark Health & Hygiene exhibit, we moved to the Purdy-Weissenborn Paper Lab to try our hand at turning wet pulp into dry paper.

Paper Discovery Center SneezeA view of the lab from atop the children's play structure.

Paper Discovery Center Paper LabFirst we blended.

Paper in BlenderThen we sponged.

Sponging Paper

And absorbed.

Papermaking Instruction

And pressed.

Paper Discovery Center Squeezing PaperVoila!

Paper Discovery Center Paper HeartOne of the highlights of our recent trip to Appleton, the Paper Discover Center gets two Wisconsin Parent thumbs up. Admission is $12 for families, $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for children. Annual memberships are available and the museum does special events and programs, including the opportunity for scouts to earn a Pulp and Paper merit badge. PDC DisplayLocated in the same building as a coffee shop and adjacent to dining on the water (not to mention a short walk or drive to downtown Appleton), find a scrap of paper and start your bucket list!