Exceptional exhibits for children, families, and seasoned veterans of the paper industry alike!  From historical photos of people, buildings, and machines to samples of pulp and paper, there’s lots to touch, smell, and examine. 

Exhibits provide a passageway for you to delve into the world of paper.  Over 10,000 square feet of gallery space, there is plenty of room to learn, explore, and play.

Upcoming Exhibits

Temporary exhibits bring exciting displays to the Paper Discovery Center. Visitors see something new and fresh when they return.

•We are currently in the process of scheduling future temporay exhibits.

Permanent Exhibits

• Health & Hygiene
Explore the many ways in which paper products help us control the spread of germs and diseases. With a giant sneeze greeting you at the start of the exhibit, you'll soon want to learn more about how you too can choose a cleanlier lifestyle with paper.

Diapers, toilet paper, facial tissue, and aseptic food packaging are all presented in a "Then and Now" format, showing the health benefits provided by these paper products. "Diapers" will give you a peek at the amazing granules that capture all of the liquid inside the diaper, keeping the baby dry. "Toilet paper" will take you inside the outhouse, exploring the corn cobs, coconut shells, and anchor cables that your ancestors used before the introduction of toilet paper, as well as encourage you to perform your own wet strength tests of common papers found in the modern bathroom. A video microscope will give you a chance to play scientist, investigating the insides of various paper products used to keep us healthy. The exhibit wraps up with a touch screen interactive trivia game - see how much you know about germs, bacteria, and the paper products that help ensure good hygiene.

The Health & Hygiene exhibit is sponsored by Kimberly-Clark Corporation.

• Working: Man, Woman, and Machine: Deitrich Artwork close up
Thomas M. Deitrich's Fox River Paintings Exhibit. This unique exhibit, featuring the art of former Lawrence University artist-in-residence Thomas Dietrich, showcases the work of man, woman, and machine in making paper. Eleven paintings of circa 1950s papermaking operations in Appleton's former Fox River Paper (now part of Neenah Paper, Inc.) detail the process. Captured memories of former and current paper industry workers are displayed and visiting retirees and workers are asked to share their own memories. Also included are artifacts representative of the papermaking process from the Paper Discovery Center collection.

• Theater
Your introduction to the world of paper begins in the 46-seat theatre, a gift from the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau.  Take in the sights and sounds of a paper mill as paper machines, converting lines, and robots move before you on the screen.  Flashes of various products made of paper on the screen allow you to begin your appreciation of the many uses of paper in our lives.

• A Child's View of Papermakingfiberspace2
fiberspace1A Child's View of Papermaking is a colorful, interactive exhibit that helps the visitor discover how paper is made. The two-story exhibit is a large paper machine made for kids and adults to play on and learn. Many topics are covered, including: the science and technology of papermaking, where paper can be found in your home, recycling, and the history of papermaking.

The paper machine is divided into five parts, including: control room, headbox, forming board, press, and drying cylinders. In the control room visitors can, through an optical illusion, look out onto a paper mill through the perspective of a control room engineer and explore the papermaking process through a computer touch screen. Visitors can then walk into the head box and swing out onto the forming board made from several cushy layers of foam. Holes in the drying cylinders give views inside.

The first floor offers several hands-on learning areas, including a game to explore where paper is in your home and an interactive map to explore the history of papermaking throughout the world. Celebrity autographs from Big Bird, Robert Redford, Carol Burnett, and more detail the importance of paper in their lives.

• The 19th Century Atlas Mill Mona & Doug Dugal Exhibit
Discover the past of the Atlas Mill, as you stand inside the 19th century structure along the Fox River.  The history and architecture of the Atlas Mill are detailed through a photographic timeline exhibit.  Learn how the Atlas Mill was utilized as a research and testing facility for Kimberly-Clark in its later years, and view samples from the mill’s large array of products.  Let the exhibit take you back to the days when the machines were humming.

• From Tree to Tissue
Walk through the Paper Discovery Center tissue mill and explore the process of making paper through touch, sight, and smell!  Learn how skilled papermakers make soft tissue for your nose from trees and the recycled paper you collect at home.  All stages of papermaking—from harvesting to pulping, bleaching, refining, and formation—will be shown.  An integrated walkway invites you to explore the differences in paper made from chemical and mechanical pulp and the variations in lignin and brightness levels.  Once the slurry is “prepared,” try your hand at the controls of the Amazing Tissue Machine and watch as the paper is being “formed.”  At the end of the process, stand next to the cross-section of a roll of tissue from a local mill and touch the end-result of the magnificent process you just experienced. 

The From Tree to Tissue exhibit is sponsored by Georgia-Pacific Corporation.

• Raw Materials
Learn how materials other than wood are used to make paper.  Did you know that bamboo is used to make paper—or how about animal dung?!  Samples of the various fibers and final paper products are on display.

• Purdy-Weissenborn Paper Lab

Roll up your sleeves and get ready to learn the art of hand papermaking!  Watch as your creation turns from a wet sheet of pulp to a dried sheet of paper ready to take home.

• Printing
Watch an historic Chandler Price Printing Press (circa 1916) run and a video showing the press used to create a multi-colored print. Mirror-imaged lead type are on display, as well as a set plate showing how spacers are used. Practice your keyboarding skills on an antique manual typewriter. See how good your mind can decipher spatial orientation, as you complete a crossword puzzle in mirror image using authentic wood blocks used in printing presses. Play a matching game that travels through the history and technology development of printer designs.

• Sustainable Forests and Genetic Engineering
Learn about the development of sustainable forests and the extensive replanting now occurring on paper industry tree farms.  See a cut off section of an actual tissue culture cloned tree, first explored at the Institute of Paper Chemistry in 1969. Join in the debate and consider the positives and negatives regarding biodiversity and the use of genetic engineering to create dramatically improved trees.

• Lake State TAPPI's People In Papermaking
People In Papermaking invites every visitor to the Paper Discovery Center to become part of the industry's global workforce through this unique exhibit. Visitors to the Paper Discovery Center receive time cards, bearing the likenesses of one of twelve characters employed in the careers of chemistry, engineering, forestry, harvesting, sales/marketing, and packaging. Taking on the identity of the workers, they are then encouraged to punch in at the time clock, don the appropriate apparel, and learn more about the career through a computer interactive. Upon completion of the exhibit experience, visitors are invited to check out the museum's Paper Industry International Hall of Fame to explore the lives of notable individuals within their character's career area.

• Outdoor Learning Center
The Outdoor Learning Center provides a dramatic environmental learning venue for visitors. The 15,000 square feet of property along the Fox River details the relationship of the forests to the papermaking process with thirteen trees used for pulpwood and a mini-plantation of red pine. Using a dichotomous key provided by the Paper Discovery Center, visitors will learn how to identify individual trees using the photos of leaves, bark, branching patterns, and fruit depicted on permanent outdoor signage. Additional informational leaflets provide background information on the trees, the type of paper they are used to produce, and more. Visitors will also enjoy the beauty of the Fox River, home to numerous birds including such majestic species as bald eagles.

The Outdoor Learning Center is sponsored by International Paper & the State of Wisconsin.

• Hall of Fame The Paper Industry International Hall of Fame (sponsored by the Elis Olsson Memorial Foundation, Metso Paper USA, Inc., and Pöyry) celebrates the accomplishments of inductees from throughout the world.  Inducted under the categories of academic, economics, entrepreneur, founder, leadership, marketing/sales, research & development, service, and technology, these individuals have made significant contributions to the paper industry.  Explore the creative and innovative lives of each of our inductees through a computer interactive that displays induction ceremony videos and plaques, as well as biographical text.  Search for inducted family and friends—or for the individuals from the company that makes your favorite brands!  To learn more about the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame or to submit a nomination application for consideration, visit the Hall of Fame website.

Past Exhibits - click on link to see prior temporary exhibits that have been shown at the Paper Discovery Center

Online Exhibits

Online exhibits are bonus attractions for you, our online guests.  Click here to explore...

Tom Dietrich's
Fox River Paper

Paintings Exhibit
An example of our online exhibits

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Paper Discovery Center     •     425 W. Water St., Appleton, WI 54911     •     Ph. 920-380-7491