July 17 2014 06:51 AM

The museum's carbon footprint has been significantly reduced with a $90,000 upgrade.

The National Dairy Shrine in Fort Atkinson unveiled a $90,000 technological upgrade to its main floor display last week. "We are very pleased to share the excitement of some of the changes that were made in the National Dairy Shrine portion of this museum complex," National Dairy Shrine Executive Director David Selner said, noting that the organization truly appreciates the partnership it has with the city and historical society.
updated display at National Dairy Shrine museum

Ground for the Dairy Shrine was broken in 1980 and the space was formally dedicated in 1981. Eight years ago, a $200,000 renovation project was completed on the lower level.

"We are completing some more renovations to continue to make this an exciting place to be in and view," said Selner, of Denmark, Wis. "We have done some really big technology investments here to bring that history alive to our visitors. We think that is important to make this real for the visitors that come to Fort Atkinson and stop in this museum complex."

The main floor portion of the Dairy Shrine museum had not been upgraded substantially since its opening in 1981.

"Electronics are expensive," Selner said. "We could do the paint and the mortar, but buying all the television screens and the technology was costly. It was very much a technology-driven renovation. We had equipment they were not making replacement parts for anymore."

new video display at National Dairy Shrine museum

Prior to the upgrade, videoscreens were outdated and used high-wattage bulbs. The update has cut the Dairy Shrine's electricity use in half. "One of the real keys for us was to make everything as energy efficient as possible," Selner said.

To ensure that the project could be completed, the Fort Atkinson Community Foundation provided an additional $40,000 grant.

Meanwhile, Selner explained that the first areas addressed were the visual displays. Among the highlights visitors encounter at the Dairy Shrine is an 18-minute computer presentation examining the importance of the dairy industry and its various opportunities.

The Joe Eves Library was also renovated with new bookshelves.

remodeled Joe P. Eves Library at National Dairy Shrine museum

He noted that the other big piece of the renovation is the corner viewing area. One of the corner displays with some dairy artifacts was removed to make space to install a flat-screen television that is hooked up to a computer with access to more than 280 videos explaining the significance of the dairy industry through the years. The videos date back to the early days of the Dairy Shrine with interviews with past honorees and scholarship recipients.

Today, the National Dairy Shrine attracts roughly 15,000 visitors annually and showcases the past, present and future of the dairy industry, housing the organization's extensive collection of dairy artifacts. Aside from chronicling the dairy titans of yesteryear, the National Dairy Shrine is committed to inspiring the dairy leaders of the future.

To see the renovated portion of the museum and Eves Library, watch the video below:

Above is an abridged version of the article that appeared in the July 10, 2014 issue of the Daily Union. To read the full article written by Whisner visit: http://on.hoards.com/DU-NDS.