The Dungeons and Dragons Museum. The museum, to be located at 723 Williams Street in Lake Geneva, celebrates Lake Geneva as the birthplace of the Dungeons and Dragons game phenomenon, and the home of its late originator Gary Gygax. Lake Geneva is the wonderfully appropriate location for a place dedicated to this man’s brilliant work. The first floor of the property will be the museum, which needed approval, as the property was zoned for general business and needed central business zoning. With the recent approval of land use that allows for a commercial apartment, the second floor will be the home of the museum curator. Parking for the property will be accessible From Williams Street as to not disturb the residential people on Marshall Street.
The Dungeons and Dragons Museum is almost complete, and with approval from the plan commission and city council now accomplished, the doors will be open to the public very soon. A Dungeons and Dragons display was due to be installed in the regular Lake Geneva Museum over by the White River, but the likelihood of that happening, because of the approval of the real museum, remains in doubt. There are numerous Garycons that have been put on. These are conferences very similar to Star Trek or Comicon conventions. The XIV Garycon will be presented for attendance at the Grand Geneva Resort on the 24th of March in 2022. The last two were canceled (except for some events being online) because of the virus, but the 2022 convention will be full-blown, with unrestricted attendance.
Gary and his fellow inventor (Dave Arneson) created the world’s first true fantasy game in 1974 and then sold it in 1997 to Hasbro, the giant toy company. Gary Gygax died in 2008, having lived to see his small, seemingly simple fantasy game, become the most popular fantasy game of all time, and it still remains so following Gary’s passing. A statue was attempted to be funded and then placed in Library Park a few years after his death, but nothing came of that movement. Possibly, with the continued success of the game, especially internationally, this idea will be re-visited at some future time. Having a museum that is now very likely to attract thousands of gaming visitors each year, may change the public’s opinion and open a few more wallets. The Dungeons and Dragons Museum has the wonderful likelihood of attracting many young people to Lake Geneva and the surrounding communities, and that is a much-needed thing.
The average age of a homeowner around Geneva Lake is just over sixty years of age. As more and more property is left vacant due to aging, the children of the owners remain likely to sell their properties to other people who only want the places for vacation stays. Lake Geneva needs a solid base of young people, not just as workers but as additional thinking resources of how to move the community on into the future. Gayle Gygax and her children remain in the Lake Geneva area. Gary’s surviving wife has been a tireless supporter of the continuance of Gary’s work and memorializing his memory. She is not the curator of the museum, but she is there behind the scenes everywhere. Gayle Gygax, the Phantom of the Museum, is more of a product of her relationship with Gary than could ever have been imagined.