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Lake Geneva, the birthplace of Dungeons and Dragons, now has a D&D museum

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Posted at 1:35 PM, Aug 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-26 13:35:34-04

LAKE GENEVA, Wis. — A Dungeons and Dragons museum has opened in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, the birthplace of the popular fantasy tabletop role-playing game.

The Dungeons Hobby Shop Museum opened at 723 Williams St. in July as a way to preserve the legacy of the game and to honor Gary Gygax, who co-created D&D in 1974.

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The game is a cooperative adventure game that incorporates fantasy and role-playing. Players work together to complete quests.

"Generations right now don’t even know the name Gary Gygax, so our major goal is to get (a) Welcome to Lake Geneva sign that says, 'Welcome to Lake Geneva, home of Gary Gygax co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons,'" said Jeff Leason, the museum curator.

That might seem like a lofty goal, but the game has the stats to back it up. It has been consistently played for 47 years by millions of people all across the globe. It has even generated around $1 billion in revenue, according to the BBC.

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“This museum should have been here 30 years ago, but we’re here now," Leason said.

In fact, the museum is in the exact same building as the original D&D headquarters. Inside are vintage figurines, old manuals, and everything in between. Almost everything inside has been donated.

You won't find many modern-day pieces there, though. The majority of collectibles inside are from the 70s and 80s.

One of the most valuable items is a $10,000 wooden box set from the first edition.

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The curator, Leason, is not just a D&D super fan. He has his literal name attached to the history of the game.

“Yeah, it's the one thing that I feel most comfortable with is D&D.”

Leason was an editor, writer, and producer of some of the very first modules.

He worked for Tactical Studies Rules (TSR) from 1978 to 1986. TSR was created by Gygax so he could self-publish his game.

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Leason hopes that his museum can inspire more people to play. More so, he wants local residents to know that this worldwide game was created by a guy in Lake Geneva.

"We need to spread the word that Gary Gygax is the creator of Dungeons and Dragons, and lived here. The city could benefit so much from that," he said.

The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Entry and tours are free, but donations are accepted.

This story was originally published by James Groh at WTMJ.