Donate and Shop at WADA’s Winter 2020 Show

The FRIENDS of the Wisconsin Historical Society have been given a booth at the 46th Winter Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association Show & Sale, to be held on Friday, January 31 & Saturday, February 1 at the Waukesha County Expo Center, to promote their biennial “30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction” (to be held at Old World Wisconsin in April). W.A.D.A. is the founding and continuing sponsor of the event which raises important funding for Wisconsin historic preservation endeavors. Donations of auction items will be accepted at the FRIENDS booth and tax-deductible receipts will be provided!

WADA Winter 2020

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Donate Items for April’s Auction!

2020 Auction Rack Card - Donate

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Just One Donated Item Will Make a Difference!

2020 Auction - Oak Hall Tree a2020 Auction - Pipsqueak, Drunkard's Path 22020 Auction - Rosenau, Steuben Verre de Soie Comport, short

The FRIENDS of the Wisconsin Historical Society are currently collecting tax-deductible donations of antiques and vintage items for their April 25, 2020 “30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction” to be held, once again, at Old World Wisconsin’s historic Clausing Barn in Eagle.

Whether a traditional antique, a single collectible coin, a vintage rock or travel poster, or even a 1970s home video game console like Atari or Pong, just one donated item will make a difference! Only six months away, this important fund-raising auction is 2 years in the making! Interesting antique and vintage items made before 1980 are being gathered from across middle America, with tax-deductible receipts provided.

The inaugural auction, held in April 2010, was followed by four successful encores in April 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018. Thus far the proceeds from the five biennial auctions have provided important funding for historic sites in Wisconsin as well as for National History Day. A grant from the Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association continues their commitment as the benefit auction’s founding sponsors.

The auction’s now-legendary Preview Party includes dinner, prizes, a speaker, silent auctions, and good old-fashioned fun on Friday night, April 24, 2020. Seating is limited so make your reservations early by calling 262.352.0479.

Carol Miller of Bailey’s Honor Auction Service in Oconomowoc has once again volunteered to call the auction. You can follow Carol’s many auctions throughout the year at

For questions about  the April 25, 2020 “30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction,” or to make a donation of an antique or vintage item, please contact Phil Schauer at 608.295.7240, or Debbie McArdle at 815.575.1272,

2020 Auction - McArdle, Green Glass Decanter w Silver Overlay2020 Auction - Hedgwood - buggy2020 Auction - IMG_5630

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October 4 & 5: WADA’s 68th Fall Show

WADA Fall 2019

Mark your calendars for the

Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association
Antiques Show & Sale
October 4 & 5, 2019
Friday 10:00 – 8:00, Saturday 10:00 – 5:00
at the Waukesha County Expo Center



-Over 55 quality antiques dealers

-Special exhibit Kitchen Antiques

-Friday night fish fry dinner

-Free parking


Admission: $7 (good both days)

Click here for a $1-off admission coupon!


Directions: I-94 to Hwy J (exit 294) South 1 mile. West to Show.

GPS: 1000 Northview Road, Waukesha, WI 53188


Proceeds from the show benefit Wisconsin grants and scholarship programs.

For more information, call 414-510-4441 or visit

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Friends of WHS Annual Meeting Held at Delafield

The Friends of the Wisconsin Historical Society (FWHS) held the 2019 annual meeting on June 26th in Delafield, Wisconsin. Part of the FWHS group boarded a bus in Madison for the one-hour trip to Delafield, where other members and friends joined them. Over thirty people enjoyed the day led by FWHS president, Phillip Schauer.

While in Delafield, the group toured the historically amazing exhibit of Abraham Lincoln & The Civil War. The exhibit featured a life-sized portrait of President Lincoln that once hung in the White House and many more paintings of Civil War figures and events. A collection of sculptures of Civil War leaders featured a bust of Lincoln taken from an actual life mask of the President.

Annual Meeting 2019 Lincoln and Old Glory

Other relevant artifacts in the collection include one of the tables used at Appomattox when the CSA surrendered to General Grant, a fragment of the Surrender Flag, and a snippet of President Lincoln’s blood-soaked lapel that he wore when he was assassinated.

Annual Meeting 2019 curator gives details at lincoln exhibit

A key part of the exhibit is the Medal of Honor (on loan from the Gettysburg Museum) awarded to Alonzo Cushing, who was born in Delafield. Cushing was killed during Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg and a painting, Death of Alonzo Cushing, is also on display.

Next door to the Delafield History Center, the FWHS members toured historic Hawks Inn, a marvelously restored stagecoach inn from the Civil War era. Members of the Delafield History Society, dressed in period costumes, led tours of the three floors of the old inn. One of the most interesting parts of the tour was a stop in the kitchen where a lunch was being prepared over an open fireplace hearth.

Annual Meeting 2019 Hawks Inn tour

After the historic tours, the group walked to nearby Revere’s for a delicious lunch. President Schauer then led a short business meeting that featured the election of Riene Wells, Carol Lee Saffioti-Hughes, Linda Noer, Anne Gurnack, Frances Kavenik, Pat Raap, Brad Steinmetz, and Phillip Schauer as the voting roster for the FWHS Board of Directors.

Annual Meeting 2019 Waterville home

After the meeting concluded, those on the bus toured a unique farm homestead near Delafield that featured an 18th-century New England house that had been disassembled and moved to the site in rural Wisconsin.

Many thanks to President Schauer for arranging a truly memorable annual meeting trip for FWHS members!

– Brad Steinmetz

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July 23-25: Farm Technology Days in Johnson Creek


Who feeds us? The farmers, of course!

Part of the success of Wisconsin farmers is the advancement of farming technology. It has helped farms over the years become more and more productive.

You can check out this event that takes you from the olden days of how things were done, to looking toward the future.

If you were at our Annual Meeting held at Old World Wisconsin a few years ago, you’ll remember helping our pioneering friends, Ma and Pa, build a log cabin! These are two super-fun folks who know how to run a farm!

You can meet up again with Ma and Pa, as well as a whole lot of other interesting individuals and thought-provoking teams, this July 23rd through 25th at Farm Technology Days in Johnson Creek. Bring the kids along!

Learn how farm families did it back in the day, and see today’s equivalents. Manufacturers of farm equipment will be ready to answer your questions, and farmers can show you how things are done at the range.

Shell some corn with Ma and Pa, and don’t forget to pitch in and make some rope – rope was an important piece of making a farm successful!

Visit for more.

Farm Technology

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Wednesday, June 26: Annual Meeting 2019

Annual Meeting 2019 Postcard


Please click on, print, fill out, and mail the form below to register:

Annual Meeting 2019 Form

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Anne Gurnack Awarded for Polish Research

Congratulations to FHWS Board Member Anne Gurnack, a 2019 recipient of the Skalny Civic Achievement Award, a national award given by the Polish American Historical Association (PAHA)!

Since 1989, PAHA’s Skalny Civic Achievement Awards “honor individuals or groups who advance PAHA’s goals of promoting research on and awareness of the Polish experience in the Americas.” The awards are named after the Skalny family (Aniela, Anna, Ben, John and Joseph) that donated the funds to support this award.

Anne received the award in January for her contributions to the understanding of the “forgotten Poles” in New York City and Milwaukee. She has undertaken a number of efforts both to mobilize the Polish American community and to engage the Polish institutions to study, protect, and promote Kaszube heritage in Milwaukee. She has fostered cooperation between the Milwaukee Public Library and the Emigration Museum and contributed to the international cooperation between the Universities of Gdańsk and Wisconsin – Parkside.

As part of the annual meeting of the American Historical Associations in Chicago’s Chopin Theatre on January 3-6, Anne was presented with the Skalny award and also made a presentation there talking about the connections between the Kaszube settlements in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Canada, and the establishment of the earliest Catholic churches in the mid-1800’s.

To learn more about Milwaukee’s Jones Island settlement of Kaszube fishermen and how Anne’s research made it back to the Wejherowo Museum in Poland, click here for the story (and one of the FRIENDS’ most popular web posts!).

Anne Gurnack Award award3gurnack

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New Books and Author Appearances


Authors of a number of books on various topics of Wisconsin history will be appearing around the state in the latter half of March to discuss their works; don’t miss ‘em (and even if you can’t attend the events, be sure to check out the books themselves)!

Click on each title below for more information about the book event:


Studying Wisconsin: The Life of Increase Lapham

Monday, March 18 from 6:20 – 8:00 pm

Waupaca Area Public Library, Waupaca

In this illustrated talk about Wisconsin’s first scientist, authors Martha Bergland and Paul G. Hayes explore the remarkable life and achievements of Increase Lapham (1811-1875). Lapham’s ability to observe, understand, and meticulously catalog the natural world marked all of his work, from his days as a teenage surveyor on the Erie Canal to his last great contribution as state geologist. Self-taught, Lapham mastered botany, geology, archeology, limnology, mineralogy, engineering, meteorology, and cartography. A prolific writer, his 1844 guide to the territory was the first book published in Wisconsin. Asked late in life which field of science was his specialty, he replied simply, “I am studying Wisconsin.”


Damn the Old Tinderbox! Milwaukee’s Palace of the West and the Fire That Defined an Era

Tuesday, March 19 from 7:00 – 8:00 pm

Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee

Author Matthew J. Prigge tells the gripping tale of how in the dead of an unassuming January night in 1883, Milwaukee’s Newhall House hotel was set on fire. Two hours later, the building—once among the tallest in the nation—lay in ruins and over seventy people were dead.  From the great horror emerged an even greater string of mysteries: Who had set the fire and who was to blame for the staggering loss of life? The Newhall’s hard-luck barkeeper? A gentleman arsonist? What of the many other unexplained fires at the hotel? Had the Newhall’s management neglected fire safety to boost their profits?


Madison in the Sixties

Thursday, March 21 from 7:00 – 8:00 pm

Barnes & Noble – West, Madison

Madison made history in the sixties. Landmark civil rights laws were passed. Pivotal campus protests were waged. A spring block party turned into a three-night riot. Factor in urban renewal troubles, a bitter battle over efforts to build Frank Lloyd Wright’s Monona Terrace, and the expanding influence of the University of Wisconsin, and the decade assumes legendary status. Historian and journalist Stu Levitan chronicles the birth of modern Madison with style and well-researched substance.


Taking Flight: A History of Birds and People in the Heart of America

Friday, March 22 from 7:30 – 8:30 pm

The Village Booksmith, Baraboo

In this illustrated talk, author and longtime birder Michael Edmonds will explain how and why people in the nation’s heartland worshipped, feared, studied, hunted, ate, and protected the birds that surrounded them over the last 12,000 years. From ancient American Indian shamans to modern conservationists, our predecessors thought about and acted toward birds differently than we do. Edmonds will share stories from his 30 years of research among unpublished manuscripts, rare books, archaeological reports, and historic places that led to Taking Flight. Whether you’re a casual bird-watcher, a hard-core life-lister, or simply someone who loves the outdoors, you’ll encounter new ways of thinking about birds, people, and the extraordinary history that connects them.


Settlin’: Stories of Madison’s Early African American Families

Saturday, March 23 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm

Goodman South Madison Library, Madison

Author Muriel Simms will share some of the stories she collected for the book from the descendants of 25 early African American families who settled–survived and thrived–in Madison, Wisconsin in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Seeing a pressing need to preserve these little-documented experiences, the lifelong Madison resident collected stories from the families who came to Madison more than 100 years ago and formed vibrant and cohesive communities of churches, businesses, and social clubs, and who frequently came together in the face of adversity and conflict.


The Making of Pioneer Wisconsin: Voices of Early Settlers

Tuesday, March 26 from 1:00 – 2:30 pm

Oakwood Village University Woods – Auditorium/Arts Center, Madison

Between the mid 1830s and the 1850s, nearly three quarters of a million people moved to Wisconsin. Historian Michael Stevens tells the migration experience through the words of ordinary people. How did it feel to decide to move, adapt, and create a new society? Meet an excited young man who is delighted by the abundance of food in Wisconsin, or a teenage girl who missed her schoolmates, or immigrants who worried about their children forgetting their old language. It is easy to think of the first generation of settlers as stiff, cardboard figures as they appear in their portraits. By exploring their joys, sorrows, and humor, we come to understand their lives and even a little more about our own.


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Help Create a New Statewide History Museum on March 13 in Waukesha!

Share Your Voice

Share your voice!

Statewide Public Forum Series to Create a New Wisconsin History Museum

Be the first to see design concepts for a new Wisconsin history museum!

Wednesday, March 13

Waukesha County Historical Society & Museum

101 West Main Street

Waukesha, WI 53186

You are invited to share your thoughts and ideas with the Wisconsin Historical Society as we seek to create a modern, state-of-the-art history museum that connects and tells the story of all Wisconsinites.

Your participation will inspire conversations, create connections across the state, and provide invaluable feedback on design concepts for a new Wisconsin history museum. Now is the time to share your voice and be a part of this rare opportunity to celebrate and honor Wisconsin.


5:30 pm – Doors open (light refreshments provided)

6:00 pm – Welcome and introduction to the new museum project

6:30 pm – Share your feedback on a new statewide history museum

This public forum is free and open to everyone; advanced registration is preferred. Click here to let us know you will be there!

This event is co-hosted by the Waukesha County Historical Society and Old World Wisconsin.

This event will also be traveling to other communities around the state in the following weeks and months. Click here for a list of upcoming locations!


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