AriensCo is hard at work on the all-new AriensCo Museum. The multi-year effort is underway to renovate and relaunch the museum, which is housed at the company's original manufacturing plant in Brillion, Wisconsin. It features 14,000 square feet (1,300 square meters) of display space and a full-size replica of Henry Ariens' garage, where AriensCo started.
From the company's founding in 1933, AriensCo has been marked by technical prowess, advanced engineering and a commitment to its customers. Several exhibits will walk visitors through the company's storied history, along with dozens of machines that show its commitment to innovation. Interactive iPad displays, larger-than-life artwork and a movie theater show how AriensCo has transformed with the American landscape.
The museum tells the story of how AriensCo manufactured ammunition boxes for the U.S. military during World War II that were parachuted into battle zones to support troops. The original group of Ariens brothers used these funds to expand their manufacturing capabilities. Visitors can view one of these ammunition boxes and parachutes for a glimpse into the company's real history. It's just one of several interesting stops along the way.
"There's something in the museum for everyone," said Mel Edinger, AriensCo retiree and volunteer museum coordinator. "The equipment appeals to the Ariens and Gravely super fans. This latest expansion will especially be great for educational purposes to showcase the transformation of AriensCo alongside America."
For more than 85 years, the Ariens family name has been associated with quality and dependable machines. The most recent expansion was led by Chairman and CEO Dan Ariens, who represents the fourth generation to lead AriensCo. He approached AriensCo employees and retirees 15 years ago with the idea of capturing the history behind how the company has grown, both with its own advancements and through strategic mergers, which have helped AriensCo expand its presence across the lawn and snow industries.
The museum spotlights history from the early 1900s, the original Brillion Iron Works, items from the Great Depression era and equipment from the founding of AriensCo. There are pictures and advertisements from more than 60 years ago and displays that show the evolution of equipment designed for farmers, homeowners and professionals, among other featured pieces. While the renovation was underway, Edinger came across a box from the 1940s that was hidden in the ceiling. It held hand-carved, balsa wood machine models for the first AriensCo factory that were made by Mando Ariens.
"We've been here for a long time because we build quality products, and we'd like for everyone to be a part of that," Edinger said. "The AriensCo Museum is a testament to the company's remarkable history and staying power."