Local museums tapped top in the country

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NORTHEAST, Wis. (WBAY) - History has plenty of life in Northeast Wisconsin leading to not one but two local museums making the list of the best in the country.

National Railroad Museum

From the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay to the History Museum at the Castle in Appleton, Northeast Wisconsin can brag its museums are the best as the Institute of Museum and Library Services says both are among the 29 finalists for the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. That's highest honor given to museums for their service to the community.

"Our staff and our volunteers working incredibly hard to service the community, so to have that recognized was just a huge thrill for everybody here," says Jacqueline Frank from the National Railroad Museum.

Matt Carpenter from the History Museum at the Castle adds, "It's very humbling and we're really proud to share the prestige and honor with our community partners who really help us make this a great museum in the community."

The finalists were chosen for the contributions to the community. The National Railroad Museum says it's worked to build programs since its last nomination almost ten years ago - didn't turn into a medal opportunity.

This is the first nomination for the History Museum at the Castle which learned it's being recognized specifically for three of its displays, including its look at the history of the Outagamie County Asylum for the Chronic Insane.

According to Matt Carpenter, "We take our local stories and we put them in a broader context. And we're always looking for stories that can inform the present and inform the future."

Looking to the future, both museums will be assigned a day between now and the end of April where they'll be celebrated by the IMLS and people are encouraged to use #ShareYourStory when posting about the impact the museums have had.

Jacqueline Frank adds, "They want to know what we're doing and how we're making lives better.//Share you story on Facebook and let people know how we make a difference and how we've helped you personally."

The National Medal ceremony for the top ten is scheduled for May 24th.