December 7th-9th: Historic Christmas Celebrations

Victorian Christmas Sharon

Get into the holiday spirit the weekend of Friday, December 7th through Sunday, December 9th with three different historical Christmas celebrations throughout the state of Wisconsin!

First there’s the Victorian Christmas in Historic Downtown Sharon on Friday, December 7th from 5:00 -9:00 pm, featuring roast chestnuts, dog sled demonstrations, and a parade of horse-drawn carriages…

…and then on Saturday, December 8th through Sunday, December 9th from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at both locations, you can merrily attend An Old World Christmas at Old World Wisconsin in Eagle or the Wade House Christmas at Wade House in Greenbush, both of which will feature tasty treats, live music, horse-drawn rides, and more!

Click on the titles below for more information about these holiday happenings:


Victorian Christmas

Visitors and townspeople are invited to dress in period costume and stroll Sharon’s quaint main street, while enjoying the lighted carriage parade, sled dogs, friendly vendors, fragrant smells, live music, and nostalgia of the evening. Please dress warm and bring your family and friends to enjoy a lovely holiday evening!

Friday, December 7

5:00 – 9:00 pm

Historic Downtown Sharon


An Old World Christmas

Stroll through the 1880s Crossroads Village decked in holiday greenery, full of homes and shops bustling with holiday preparations!

Saturday, December 8 – Sunday, December 9

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Old World Wisconsin, Eagle


Wade House Christmas

Experience the sights and sounds of an 1860′s Wisconsin Christmas!

Saturday, December 8 – Sunday, December 9

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Wade House, Greenbush


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Authors, Authors Everywhere!

From Saturday, November 10 through Thursday, November 15, authors are making appearances all over the state to discuss their latest books on a variety of historical topics! Click on the titles below for more information about these events, the authors, and their works:


The Making of Pioneer Wisconsin

Author Michael E. Stevens offers a unique and intimate glimpse into the lives of Wisconsin’s early settlers.

Saturday, November 10

1:00 – 2:00 pm

Livsreise, Stoughton


Indian Mounds of Wisconsin

Learn about the history of Native American mound building in Wisconsin with author Robert Birmingham.

Monday, November 12

6:00 – 7:00 pm

Manitowoc Public Library, Manitowoc


How to Make a Life: A Tibetan Refugee Family and the Midwestern Woman They Adopted

Author Madeline Uraneck discusses her life with a refugee family.

Monday, November 12

6:30 – 7:30 pm

Hudson Area Public Library, Hudson


The Great War Comes to Wisconsin

Examine Wisconsin’s response to World War I one hundred years ago with author Richard Pifer.

Monday, November 12

7:00 – 8:00 pm

New Berlin Public Library, New Berlin


Simple Things: Lessons from the Family Farm

Join Jerry Apps in Wild Rose for the Central Wisconsin launch of his latest book.

Tuesday, November 13

6:30 – 7:30 pm

Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose


Poles in Wisconsin

Join author Susan Gibson Mikos as she traces the history of Polish immigrants as they settled in America’s northern heartland.

Tuesday, November 13

7:00 – 8:00 pm

Kilbourn Public Library, Wisconsin Dells


Badger Boneyards: The Eternal Rest of the Dead

Join author Dennis McCann as he highlights the melancholy, the humorous, the tragic, and the universal in Wisconsin’s cities of the dead.

Wednesday, November 14

7:00 – 8:00 pm

Menomonee Falls Public Library, Menomonee Falls


Madison in the Sixties

Join Stu Levitan as he discusses 1968, a pivotal and tumultuous year that changed Madison–and the nation–forever.

Wednesday, November 14

7:00 – 8:00 pm

Middleton Public Library, Middleton


Wisconsin in Watercolor: The Life and Legend of Folk Artist Paul Seifert

Author Joe Kapler examines the life of this enigmatic artist and provides context for his extraordinary art.

Thursday, November 15

6:00 pm

Pendarvis, Mineral Point


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A Tour and Luncheon Worth Archiving!

FRIENDS of WHS Members Tour SAPF

Friends of WHS board members and others toured the new State Archive Preservation Facility (SAPF) on Madison’s near-east side on Tuesday, September 18th. Led by board president Phil Schauer, Friends members were given a tour of the new state-of-the-art facility by Matt Blessing, WHS administrator of the Division of Library, Archives and Museum collections.

Blessing led the group through the new four-story storage facility that will eventually hold more than 500,000 artifacts. The facility will also contain 200,000 books and over 50,000 archival boxes with millions of pages of manuscript pages and documents from state agencies. The WHS is also moving 110,000 historic objects to the new facility, located at 202 South Thornton Avenue, along with hundreds of boxes filled with over 400,000 archeological objects. In addition, the new facility will house 22,000 objects and several archival collections from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum.


Highlights of the tour of SAPF included a stop in the film storage room, where a temperature of forty degrees with a constant low humidity level will preserve the fantastic film and movie collection for the future. Blessing explained that when a film needs to be shown, it will be moved to a transition room where the temperature is gradually raised – again to preserve the quality of the film. Currently most of the film collection is still at the WHS headquarters on the UW campus. When the weather cools in October the collection will be moved to SAPF.


Blessing also explained the new digital identification system that helps staff locate objects and collections. Each object has a scanning ID code that is also on the storage box and the shelf where the box is stored at SAPF. When a researcher needs an object, they can identify it online at the WHS site. WHS staff at SAPF then can locate the needed document of object, pull it from its storage shelf, and by the next morning the researcher can access the needed material at the WHS headquarters building.


On the tour, Friends members saw an early version of the Oscar Mayer “Wiener Mobile,” the hamburger-carrying caricature of Marc’s Big Boy restaurants, and an early television camera from the WHA educational TV station. Stepping out onto the loading dock area of SAPF, Blessing explained that trucks arrive daily with materials from the WHS headquarters building. This process has been going on since early spring and will continue for several years before the move is completed.

Blessing stressed that the new SAPF facility helps the historical society meet its mission of “To collect, preserve and share.” The new facility was built with extra storage space so that the WHS can continue to meet its mission into the future.

FRIENDS of WHS Honor Fannie Hicklin

As part of the September meeting of the Friends of WHS board, a luncheon meal was shared at the Hungry Goat restaurant in Fitchburg. At the gathering, Friends’ President Phil Schauer honored Dr. Fannie Hicklin for her many years of service to both the Wisconsin Historical Society, where she served on the Board of Curators for 27 years including as President of the board, and the Friends of WHS group, where she served as a board member for many years.


After her introduction at the luncheon Dr. Hicklin regaled the gathered Friends members with stories about coming to Madison to get her doctorate degree at UW. During that time she also worked at the historical society and first became aware of the importance of the institution. Her witty recollections entranced the gathering as the centenarian (Fannie recently celebrated her 100th birthday!) retired educator’s presence made for a wonderful time for all.

– Brad Steinmetz, FWHS Vice President

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October 5 & 6: WADA’s 67th Fall Show

WADA Fall 2018

Mark your calendars for the

Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association
Antiques Show & Sale
October 5 & 6, 2018
Friday 10:00 – 8:00, Saturday 10:00 – 5:00
at the Waukesha County Expo Center



-Over 55 quality antiques dealers

-Special exhibit Antique Candy Containers

-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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Tuesday, September 18th: WHS Facility Tour and Lunch

10:30 am – 12:00 pm: Touring the State Archives Preservation Facility

(204 South Thornton Avenue, Madison, WI 53703)

Afterwards: Lunch at the Thirsty Goat

(3040 Cahill Main, Fitchburg, WI 53711)

The FRIENDS are pleased to invite you to an exclusive guided tour of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s newly constructed, state-of-the-art State Archives Preservation Facility. We have the opportunity to be shown the new building, which has an impressive space of 189,730 square feet. The Administrator of the Division of Library-Archives of the Wisconsin Historical Society, Matt Blessing, will be guiding the tour on Tuesday, September 18th from 10:30 am to noon.

State Archive Preservation Facility

Following this incredible opportunity to have a peek into the amazing archives held in this new facility, the FRIENDS will be having lunch at the Thirsty Goat in Fitchburg. The restaurant has great food and drinks, but even better is that 15% of the total spent by us at lunch will be donated to our very own FHWS!


Join us for a morning of learning about the preservation of Wisconsin’s history and celebrating the ability to aid these efforts through your support.

Please RSVP with names and phone numbers of those planning to attend to Patricia Lawler Layde at or 414-254-9135.


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Seven Events, One Day: Saturday, August 11th

You might not be able to be in two places at once, but we hope you’ll be able to attend at least one of these great events, all of which are happening on Saturday, August 11, 2018 around the state! From demonstrations to author appearances to sightseeing, history is happening all around you. Click on the titles of the events listed below for more information:


Historic Beer Brewing

Old World Wisconsin and the Museum of Beer and Brewing are partnering and bringing to life 19th-century brews.  See the brewers use equipment and techniques from the late 1800s and learn about heirloom hops and barley.

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Old World Wisconsin, Eagle


1860s Jams and Jellies

Lend a hand to help create flavorful jams and jellies as they were made more than 150 years ago.

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

(also Sunday 11:00 am – 4:00 pm!)

Wade House, Greenbush


Ojibwe Artist Residency with Rita Vanderventer (Red Cliff)

This will be a rare opportunity for the public to interact with Rita Vanderventer during her two day residency at the Museum as she demonstrates traditional art forms. Rita is an acclaimed regional mural artist, beadworker, and basketmaker.

10:00 am – 5:00 pm

(also Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm!)

Madeline Island Museum, La Pointe


Old Farm Country Cookbook

Return with author Susan Apps-Bodilly to an era when all food was local and farming was a family-run affair.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Amery Public Library, Amery


How to Be an Indian in the 21st Century

Join Oneida author Louis V. Clark III as he shares his collection of poems that reveal a profound life story of loss, identity, race, and culture.

1:00 – 2:00 pm

Kenosha Public Museum, Kenosha


Hidden History of the Capitol Square

Discover stories of the men and women who established our iconic square as a center of politics, commerce, and social life on this walking tour.

4:30 – 6:00 pm

Wisconsin Historical Museum, Madison


Beer Baron’s Beer Cruise

Enjoy an early evening cruising Geneva Lake while learning about the history of the beer barons that vacationed and lived along its shores. No presentation about beer would be complete without a tasting, so join us in raising a pint together!

5:30 – 8:30 pm

Black Point Estate & Gardens, Lake Geneva


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FWHS Annual Meeting Features History Explorations

The Friends of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s (FWHS) annual meeting was held in Madison on Tuesday, June 26th. To start the day, FWHS President Phil Schauer welcomed everyone with coffee and snacks in the Sellery Room of the WHS Headquarters building on the UW campus. The historic meeting room was recently renovated with the latest in technology paid for through generous donations from the FWHS.

Annual Meeting 2018 - At Meeting a

Jim Draeger of the WHS staff then gave an interesting walkthrough history of the WHS building. Starting in the main lobby, Jim discussed the original construction of the state-of-the-art building in the late 1890’s that include a hands-on introduction to the marble pieces used in the construction of the ornate floor. Then the tour moved upstairs to the magnificent Reading Room where Jim regaled us with the renovations that occurred there. Returning the room to its former glory with its magnificent ceiling and other classical decorations was a massive task – mission accomplished!

Annual Meeting 2018 - Reading Room aAnnual Meeting 2018 - Reading Room b

Moving to the WHS Museum on the Capital Square, the annual meeting participants were treated to a “History Sandwiched In” talk by WHS archivist Julia Wong. “Moulded Eggs in Gargoyle Sauce, Pin Money Pickles and Roman Punch” highlighted the vast menu collection held by the historical society and showed the vast differences in food choices and tastes over the ages. Later, a short tour of the exhibits on the museum’s upper floors featured stops at the Native American exhibit, Wisconsin’s early days of lead mining that gave the “Badger” state its nickname, and the exhibit on fur trade before Wisconsin even was a state.

Annual Meeting 2018 - Julia WongAnnual Meeting 2018 - Trading Post

Our day concluded at the UW Memorial Union, where everyone enjoyed a catered lunch before participating in the FWHS annual meeting. President Schauer conducted the meeting, which featured reports on the Friends of WHS Auction held in April, the FWHS support of National History Day, and possible options to replace the FWHS’s annual Autumn Excursion. A change in the organization’s by-laws to exclude the treasurer from term limits and the re-election of the fifteen members of the board of directors concluded the annual meeting.

Annual Meeting 2018 - Phil Conducting MeetingAnnual Meeting 2018 - At Meeting b

President Schauer also invited everyone to a FWHS tour of the new Wisconsin Historical Society’s storage facility on Tuesday, September 18th – more details will be forthcoming.

–Brad Steinmetz, FWHS board member

Annual Meeting 2018 - Group Pic

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Party Like It’s 1959 at Circus World Museum

Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI is celebrating its biggest year yet with extraordinary performers and world-class animal acts all wrapped into a 1950’s-inspired theme called “Doo-Wop Big Top,” celebrating the decade that the site was founded and opened…

…and on Thursday, June 28 through Sunday, June 1, you can celebrate Circus World’s 60th Anniversary with a remarkable $5.00 admission rate for everyone for these four days only!

Circus World Museum Anniversary Days

Circus World opened on July 1, 1959 on less than an acre of property with 2 buildings and 6 circus wagons; admission was 60 cents. Given the rate of inflation, 60 cents works out to about $5 today. Even though Circus World’s value has increased with the addition of over 200 wagons and vehicles, several new and historic buildings, and more than 60 acres, admission for these four days will be the same as in 1959!

But on whatever days you choose to experience what Circus World has to offer, remember that “Doo-Wop Big Top” is available all summer long! Circus World Museum’s summer performance season runs through September 2, and the fall season continues to October 31.

For more information on Circus World Museum, visit

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We’re Meeting in Madison: Join Us at the Annual Meeting on Tuesday, June 26th

Annual Meeting 2018 Itinerary and Form

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Auction Success, and Success with #NAAPro!

The Friends of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Benefit Auction–which was held on April 28–not only forwarded the treasures and stories from the past to next generations, but also will be funding projects at our state’s historic sites with the proceeds. Thank you to all who attended!

Many thanks to our auctioneer, Carol Miller of Bailey’s Honor Auction & Estate Service (click here for more!).

The Benefit Auction Day this year also happened to coincide with National Auctioneers Week..and our customers loved that, as you can see below! Learn more about the National Auctioneers Association and the National Auctioneers Week by clicking here.

NAA 2018

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