Inspiring All Generations...


The Paper Discovery Center and Paper International Hall of Fame look to Inspire All Generations by building programming and events around our four mission elements... Motivating Learning, Experiencing Technology, Celebrating Innovators and Promoting Cultural Heritage.

We ask ourselves - always - does this program, event and activity keep our mission in mind? Then we know we are on the right track to present members, visitors and educators with creative, inventive, challenging (and fun!) events to keep everyone engaged.

It is our hope that while you visit us you will be inspired and see our mission present in all that we do!

Help support our Mission!

Our History

Honoring a Legacy...

The Paper International Hall of Fame was founded in 1992 by a small group of paper industry leaders. They felt strongly that those who had done so much to develop the industry should be recognized for their impact in the health, education and general well-being of people all over the world. Paper is an important part of the manufacturing contribution to the economy and the Hall of Fame is instrumental in preserving that history.

The International Hall of Fame Board of Directors opened the Paper Discovery Center in March 2005 as a science and technology education museum, which fosters the understanding of paper and related industries, its heritage, impact on quality of life, and challenges and opportunities.

Since the first days of greeting visitors, the mission has expanded, along with a greater focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and STEAM (A is for ARTS!) focused programs and events. We take pride that we are able to lead young people on this important path of learning.


Our restored building on the banks of the historic Fox River has been called a jewel.
Come and discover this jewel for yourself!

Early Atlas Mill History

In 1878, the four founders of Kimberly-Clark along with three Minnesota businessmen, started the Atlas Paper Company and built a mill on the site of the former Whorton Brothers sawmill in Appleton, Wisconsin. Excerpts from the 1878 Appleton Post, illustrate how the community and Kimberly-Clark viewed this construction:

"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."

The Atlas Mill was "the largest establishment of the kind in the West and there was none in the whole country having a greater capacity ... involving an outlay of $125,000 ... 500 horsepower!" according to an 1879 edition of the Appleton Daily Post.

The mill had three paper machines that first produced jute and wood manila papers. The original Atlas Mill burned down in 1888 and was rebuilt five months later. In 1907, the Atlas Paper Company was sold outright to Kimberly-Clark. There were three other K-C mills built in Appleton adjoining Atlas - the Tioga, Vulcan and Tellulah mills. The Tioga was the former Genesse flour mill and was operated by K-C as a flour mill for four years before it was converted to a paper mill in 1883. None of these mills remains today. In 1908, the Vulcan Power Plant, which furnished 25-cycle hydroelectric power to the Atlas and Kimberly mills, was constructed on their sites.

In 1999, Kimberly-Clark donated the Atlas Mill to the Paper International Hall of Fame.


Learn more about the history of the paper industry at the Discovery Center!

Exhibit Information

What happens WHEN YOU SNEEZE?

HOW MANY DIAPERS does a baby go through in a day?

WHAT DID PEOPLE USE before toilet paper (and where did they GO TO THE BATHROOM?

HOW DOES a piece of PAPER GET MADE (and can you really make it out of ELEPHANT POO)?

Get the answers to these questions - and much more when you explore the Paper Discovery Center. Kids of all ages enjoy the various activities from a scavenger hunt to making their very own sheet of paper. Besides our permanent exhibits, we always have some fun seasonal items to help you learn, create and imagine.

And when the weather cooperates, VISIT the OUTDOOR LEARNING CENTER where you can learn about AMERICAN TREE SPECIES, watch FISHERMEN BRING IN THE CATCH OF THE DAY, or see a variety of birds from CRANES to PELICANS (yes, pelicans!) to EAGLES (boy, are they big!).


Monday - Saturday from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM


Adults      $7
Senior (62+)      $5
Child (3-18)      $5
Members      FREE


Paper Discovery Center
425 W. Water Street
Appleton, WI 54911

Jobs and Volunteering



Take them on a Learning Adventure...

Approximately 10,000+ visitors come to the Paper Discovery Center annually. Each year hundreds of which are school-age children visiting with class field trips where the focus is on STEM education. As participation in our STEM programs increases every year, our staff designs educational programs based on school curriculum. We rely on volunteers to help engage these young minds and hope you'll consider joining this important adventure.


  • Front Desk / Gift Shop - Greet visitors, collect entry fees, answer phones and assist shoppers with purchases.
  • Visitor Experience Associate - Help visitors make paper in our paper lab, help with hands-on activities and help with large groups of visitors.
  • Volunteer Educator for Field Trips - Help school-age children explore and experience the wonders of making paper, discovering the world of science, technology, engineering and math during one of our fun, hands-on school visits.
  • Training and support provided.

We appreciate your time and talents!

For more information about volunteer opportunities, please contact Maria at:

Maria@PaperDiscoveryCenter.org or call 920-380-7491.

Click to email us for more information: