The Paper Discovery Center opened its doors to the public in late February of 2005. An arm of the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame, Inc., the Paper Discovery Center first began to take form in 1999. It was in that year that Kimberly-Clark Corporation donated its former Atlas Mill on the banks of the Fox River in Appleton, WI, to the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame to serve as its permanent home.
In May of 1992, a group of former and current paper industry executives in the Fox River Valley had met to discuss how the importance of paper, and particularly some of the giants of the industry, could be recognized. They especially felt the industry deserved recognition as the cornerstone of the Valley’s economy. Later in 1992, formal meetings were held with the Neenah Historical Society to develop the concept and format of the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame, Inc., which was formally registered with the Bureau of Patents and Trademarks in Washington, DC, in 1993.
Beginning with its first induction ceremony in 1995, the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame continued to grow in size of inductees and prominence. The donation by Kimberly-Clark enabled the Hall of Fame not only a home but a place to exhibit the many artifacts it had been collecting and tell the story of paper.
The Paper Discovery Center opens as a science and technology center in Northeast Wisconsin with the aim of celebrating the art and science of paper through interactive and engaging educational programs, exhibits, and activities, with a focus on the industry’s exciting future. It is upholding the vision of one 1878 news reporter who said of the Atlas Mill: “The foundations of this building are being laid with the intention that they will serve the interests of coming generations, and this object in view is a sign of real progress.”