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 www.wifarmtechnologydays.com/jefferson/ 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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WHS Celebrates Black History Month

The Wisconsin Historical Society celebrated its 3rd annual Black History Month Open House on Tuesday, Feb. 19. Community members could see the African American archival and museum collections on display and participate in a listening session about the creation of a new Wisconsin history museum on Madison’s Capitol Square.

WHS Black History Month

“The importance of black history is to remind us who we are and who we can be potentially,” Tanika Apaloo, Community Engagement and Diversity Liaison for the Wisconsin Historical Society, told Madison365. “It certainly should be something that is more than one month. It’s something that in my position and in my role that I recognize and celebrate every day.

“Black History Month is very important to me. I think that a lot of the challenges that are occurring in our black community would be mediated in a lot of ways if youths and adults alike new more about their history and their culture,” Apaloo added. “I think the relationship between culture and history is an intangible one and its difficult for us to move forward and be confident in who we are without both knowing where we come from and knowing our purpose.”

Archival documents have been on display for Black History Month in an exhibit called “African American Activism in Wisconsin,” featuring documents that tell the story of the fight for African American suffrage in the 19th century. This includes the proposed 1846 state constitution that allowed granted voting rights to African American men and the 1866 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision in favor of Ezekiel Gillespie that finally enacted this right. Moving forward a century, the exhibit highlights documents from the 1960s actions in Milwaukee to desegregate schools and enact fair housing legislation and also features items commemorating the 50th anniversary of the UW-Madison Black Student Strike.

Wes Covington

One of the highlights that the museum archives feature is a display about the Negro Baseball League as it came through Wisconsin. The WHS created a prototype, interactive story map to explore the reach of African American baseball in Wisconsin. Although Wisconsin did not host a long-lived Negro League team like the Kansas City Monarchs or the Chicago American Giants, black ballplayers were a regular presence in communities throughout Wisconsin for decades, even in small northern towns with few African American residents.

“This is important for sharing stories. And it’s everyday stories,” Apaloo said. “Some people think that something has to be very significant to be historic. That’s not the case. In oral history interviews, there are so many everyday people who have done very significant things. They are unsung heroes, so to speak that had that oral history not been discussed or discovered, we would never had known about it. And, they, too, would have never realized what they are doing is historic.”

–David Dahmer, Madison365 Publisher and Editor-in-Chief


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February 1 & 2: WADA’s 45th Winter Show

WADA Winter 2019

Mark your calendars for the

Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association
Antiques Show & Sale
February 1 & 2, 2019
Friday 10:00 – 8:00, Saturday 10:00 – 5:00
at the Waukesha County Expo Center



-Over 55 quality antiques dealers

-Special exhibit Made in Wisconsin

-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 www.wisconsinantiquesdealers.com.

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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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