Dungeons & Dragons has a long history, and a couple of dedicated fans are taking steps to showcase the story of the roleplaying game in its birthplace. According to Kenosha News, owner Justin LaNasa and curator Jeff Leason have opened up the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, dedicated to all things D&D and TSR (Tactical Studies Rules).
The museum is located on the site where TSR opened its first dedicated store, and is stocked with tons of artifacts from the company’s earliest days. According to the newspaper, former staff members have donated a number of items, such as rare boxed sets, books, magazines, merchandise, and artwork from the 1970s and 1980s.
There’s been a long-running effort to commemorate the founding of TSR and the creation of its best-known product for years. Back in 2013, Jim and Debbie Hunton launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund a museum, but it didn’t come close to meeting its funding goal of $150,000. Over the last year, the Geneva Lake Museum has been working on an exhibit about the company called A Legacy of Imagination: The Creation of a Culture.
This museum is separate from those projects. Earlier this summer, LaNasa, who owns the building, asked to have the city’s planning commission rezone an apartment at the location for the then-proposed museum, which was granted. With that hurtle out of the way, Leason was able to set up shop in a second-story commercial apartment.
LaNasa and Leason both worked at TSR, donated a number of items from their personal collections, and have received donations from other employees who were looking to clear out their homes. According to Leason, they’ll be regularly rotating items to display. The museum will also host gaming sessions from Friday to Sunday for adults and children, and has set up a membership program to support itself.
Leason told the Kenosha News that he has some greater ambitions to showcase TSR founder Gary Gygax Jr.’s legacy: he wants the town to display the late gamer’s name on its welcome signs, and set up a memorial for him, hoping to help turn the town into a destination for gamers who want to see where D&D was born. There’s also a convention planned for the summer of 2022.
The museum is located at 723 Williams St. in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and is open from Wednesday to Sunday. Admission is by donation.