Museum Issues: Supporters make Dennos’ interactives happen | ETC

Craig Hadley

Wow, what an outpouring of support! Thank you to everyone who visited, attended, volunteered, commented on social media, and otherwise engaged with the Dennos Museum Center this year. I am so thankful for your caring and thoughtful involvement.

So what exactly am I referring to?

Thanks to you, we were able to raise enough funds to help refurbish interactives in our Discovery Gallery for children. Some of these interactive components have been in the museum since the early 1990s and have been well-loved by several generations now.

As I write this, our staff has been hard at work these past few weeks sanding, repairing, and painting parts for the interactive Sound Wall, while the team in Educational Media Technology at NMC has been sourcing brand new computer parts to upgrade the old 1980s hardware that runs the interactive. We’re also partnering with our auditorium technicians to upgrade the wiring and speakers for the wall, so it will look great and sound even better than before.

You also helped us achieve our best Holiday Artist Market in over 10 years. In just two short days, our staff and volunteers welcomed more than 2,300 visitors to the Dennos Museum Center. Many enjoyed visits with more than 30 community artists and got a head start on their holiday shopping, while others took advantage of the free admission and viewed the galleries and current exhibitions. Be sure to keep an eye out for future store events in 2023. Our e-newsletter and social media pages make it easy to stay up-to-date with the latest information.

Many have emailed us over the past few months to prepare for holiday trips and, consequently, visits to other museums, too. Your Dennos Museum Center membership at the Trailblazer level and above gives you access to more than 2,000 museums nationwide for free, while every dollar you contribute stays at the Dennos and strengthens your local museum. Members at the $100 Trailblazer level or above receive the added benefit of reciprocal membership to NARM, ROAM, and now ASTC. We also offer a unique Smithsonian membership addon for just $25 additional per year. I look forward to using our family’s reciprocal benefits this holiday at the Indianapolis Museum of Art! Learn more at

In other news, Milliken auditorium will undergo some much needed renovation in the latter half of 2023. After nearly 32 years, the original stage lighting system will be replaced with brand new LED fixtures. And in addition to replacing the floppy drive that runs the Sound Wall in the Discovery Gallery, we will also be replacing the floppy drive that runs Milliken’s light board, too. We can’t wait to get this critical upgrade underway so that future lectures, films, and performances look and sound their best (none of us will miss the floppy disks, either).

We are truly fortunate to have such a magnificent museum right here in Traverse City. Thank you for your generous support – and if you haven’t been, please give us a try! That might make for an excellent new year’s resolution.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2023!


PS: If you have a spare moment, please take a look at our interactive collections database online. Thanks to our hardworking staff and summer interns, we now have over half of our Inuit collections accessible on our website. I hope you will take a look and enjoy some of the spectacular works in our world-class collection:

Craig Hadley is the executive director and chief curator at the Dennos Museum Center.

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