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Contributors

The Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database documents material culture artifacts from the collections of more than 50 historic sites, museums and private individuals across the state. Find more information about each contributor below.

Alma Historical Society
The Alma Historical Society operates the Alma Area Museum in downtown Alma on the shores of the Mississippi River. Local industry and community life have centered on the river since Swiss immigrants first settled the town in 1848. The artifacts documented for the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database reflect Alma's Swiss heritage and its important role in Wisconsin's early logging industry.
Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion
In 1892, the Flemish Renaissance Revival mansion of Milwaukee's Captain Frederick Pabst, world-famous beer baron, accomplished sea captain, real estate developer, philanthropist and patron of the arts, was completed. From the day the house was inhabited, it was considered the jewel of Milwaukee's street of lavish homes known as Grand Avenue. The impressive array of artisans commissioned by the Pabsts to furnish their home included two major Milwaukee contributors: fine furniture makers and interior design specialists the Matthews Brothers and renowned metalworker Cyril Colnik.
Chippewa Valley Museum
Since 1974, the Chippewa Valley Museum has operated as a regional history museum in Eau Claire. The Chippewa Valley is the watershed of the Chippewa River and is a territory that covers all or parts of 12 counties in north and west central Wisconsin. The museum includes a children's gallery, short-term exhibition space, a working 1950s ice cream parlor, a multimedia Object Theater, and three long-term exhibitions examining Ojibwe history and life, 19th century European immigration, and 20th century rural life. Among the artifacts documented for the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database are furniture and metalwork associated with Herman Schlegelmilch, a German rifle maker and merchant who settled in Eau Claire in 1860; the Schlegelmilch House is now owned and operated by the museum.
Dodge County Historical Society
Established in 1938, the Dodge County Historical Society is dedicated to the preservation, advancement and dissemination of the knowledge and history of Dodge County, Wisconsin, specifically Beaver Dam. In 1985, the city of Beaver Dam leased the former Williams Free Library building to the Society. The library building houses three floors of local history exhibits, including the Harold Hempel Rock Collection, the Mary Swan Victorian Room, a one-room schoolhouse and a temporary exhibition space.
Douglas County Historical Society
In 1854 Douglas County was established at the western end of Lake Superior and the town of Superior was named the center of county government. A local historical society was founded that same year, operating under the name of the Superior Historical Society until 1934, when the group's name and mission was changed to include all of Douglas County. In 1963, the Douglas County Historical Society moved its collections to Fairlawn Mansion, the grand home built by lumber and mining baron Martin Pattison in 1890. In 2002, the Society relocated to another historic building in Superior--the 1925 Vasa Temple.
Dunn County Historical Society
Formed in 1950, the Dunn County Historical Society now operates a county-wide network of historic sites: the Russell J. Rassbach Heritage Museum, the Fulton and Edna Holtby Science and Technology Museum, the Empire in Pine Museum, the Caddie Woodlawn Historical Park, the Hillkrest one-room school and the Tainter Playhouse. Many of the objects documented for the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database are on view at the Rassbach Heritage Museum in Menomonie, including a hand-carved cane and a painted tin plate, both relics from local soldiers who served in the Civil War.
Elmbrook Historical Society
The Elmbrook Historical Society operates the Dousman Stagecoach Inn, a Greek Revival inn built in Brookfield in 1842 by Talbot Dousman. In 1981, the Society relocated the building to its current location in order to save it from destruction. The inn is furnished with mid-19th century artifacts collected in Wisconsin, including furniture used by early local families, an 1845 needlework sampler made by a young woman in Hartford, and the only intact example of a coverlet marked by early Milwaukee weavers Mealey and Leity.
Fort Winnebago Surgeons' Quarters
The Surgeons' Quarters is the only building left standing at the former site of Fort Winnebago, just outside the city of Portage. In fact, this structure of pine logs and hand-hewn tamarack joists is an important surviving example of early French vernacular architecture in Wisconsin. It was built about 1826, purchased by the United States government in 1829, and remodeled in 1834 to serve as the home for the fort's medical officer and his family. After Fort Winnebago closed in 1845, the building was home to a number of families. Then, in the 1930s, community members realized that the property was in grave need of preservation. The Wisconsin Society Daughters of the American Revolution undertook an extensive restoration project and opened the Surgeons' Quarters to the public in 1954.
Fountain City Area Historical Society
Nestled in the bluffs along the Mississippi River, Fountain City is the oldest settlement in Buffalo County. The Fountain City Area Historical Society preserves artifacts and archives related to the history of the community and the surrounding area. The Society also supports the maintenance of the Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden and Museum in nearby Cochrane, an "outsider art" site created in the 1950s by Herman Rusch, a retired farmer.
Grant County Historical Society
The Grant County Historical Society maintains two sites in southwest Wisconsin: the Cunningham Museum in downtown Lancaster and the Mitchell-Rountree Stone Cottage in Platteville, built in 1837 by Reverend Samuel Mitchell. Artifacts documented for the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database come from the local history collections on view at the Cunningham Museum, including furniture used by early settlers in the area, a patchwork quilt made by a local Soldiers' Aid Society during the Civil War, and a shawl manufactured in the Lancaster Woolen Mill.
Hawks Inn Historical Society
In 1846, Nelson P. Hawks left New York for the Wisconsin frontier, where he built a three-story Greek Revival inn as a stagecoach stop for settlers heading west from Milwaukee. The Hawks Inn Historical Society in Delafield preserves and interprets the history of the inn and the surrounding community. Items documented for the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database include examples of mid-19th century furniture collected in Wisconsin and personal articles used by the Hawks family.
Hazelwood Historic House Museum
This Greek Revival building overlooking the Fox River was originally the home of the Morgan and Elizabeth Martin family--a political and cultural force in the city of Green Bay and the state of Wisconsin for almost one hundred years. The Brown County Historical Society purchased Hazelwood in 1989; principal restoration of this historic home was completed in 1995. Hazelwood is furnished with objects from the collections of the Brown County Historical Society and the Green Bay-De Pere Antiquarian Society, including the furniture and hand-painted porcelain featured in the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database.
Hearthstone Historic House Museum
Built on a bluff overlooking the Fox River in Appleton in 1881, Hearthstone's primary claim to fame is that it was the first residence in the world lit by hydroelectric power. The Queen Anne-style brick home was designed by Oshkosh architect William Waters. Much of Hearthstone's interior woodwork was the handiwork of a young Appleton woodworker named William Van Strattum. In addition to Van Strattum's woodwork and furniture, the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database features hand-painted ceramic tiles decorated by noted artist Frederika Crane of Green Bay.
Historic Blooming Grove Historical Society
The Historic Blooming Grove Historical Society maintains the 1856 Nathaniel W. Dean House as a living museum. Furnishings reflect the life of a Wisconsin gentleman farmer and his family during the second half of the 19th century. In addition, the Historic Blooming Grove Historical Society preserves the history of the Town of Blooming Grove, Madison's east side, and the village of Monona. The three oak barrels documented for the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database, all manufactured in the Hess Cooperage, reflect the area's once-thriving industrial corridor.
History Museum at the Castle
The mission of Appleton's History Museum at the Castle is to inspire appreciation for the rich history of the communities of the Fox River Valley through collections, exhibits and education. Owned and operated by the Outagamie County Historical Society, the History Museum at the Castle holds collections representing the history of the Fox Valley dating back to the 1840s. The Outagamie County Historical Society also operates the Charles A. Grignon Mansion in Kaukauna, a Greek Revival-style home built by fur trader Augustin Grignon in 1837. The Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database features original furnishings from the Grignon Mansion as well as early Wisconsin quilts, samplers and furniture from the Museum's collections.
Kenosha Public Museum
Founded in 1936, the Kenosha Public Museum is a natural history and fine and decorative arts museum. Since 2001, the Museum has been located in Harbor Park, a reclaimed factory site on the shores of Lake Michigan. From 1970 to 1976, the Kenosha Public Museum amassed what is probably the most representative collection of early Wisconsin pottery in the state. Primarily collected by then-director Kenneth Dearolf, the collection numbers 320 examples of stoneware and earthenware produced in 19th-century Wisconsin. A total of 91 works by twelve documented potters are included in the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database.
Koskela House Finish Museum
The Koskela House Finnish Museum was established in Brantwood in 2006 to preserve Finnish and Finnish-American heritage for future generations. Museum collections are housed in a restored log cabin originally built in 1902 by Finnish immigrants in north-central Wisconsin. The Kosekela House artifacts featured in the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database include handmade furniture created by both Finnish and German settlers in the region.
Langlade County Historical Society
The Langlade County Historical Society is housed in the former Antigo Public Library, a Carnegie Library built in 1905. The Deleglise Cabin, constructed in 1878 as the home of Antigo's founder, Francis Deleglise, was moved to the museum grounds in 1913. The objects featured in the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database include furnishings associated with the Deleglise family as well as a chair manufactured by the Crocker Chair Company of Antigo and several beaded bandolier bags, part of a recently donated collection of Great Lakes Indian beadwork.
Marathon County Historical Society
The Marathon County Historical Society in Wausau operates two sites: the Yawkey House Museum, a Classical Revival home built in 1901, remodeled in the Arts and Crafts style in 1908, and fully restored in 2008; and the A. P. Woodson House, home to the Society's exhibition areas, administrative offices, research library, and artifact storage. The artifacts documented for the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database include quilts, needlework and metalwork as well as limited-edition books printed by the Philosopher Press, a noted Arts and Crafts-era press founded in Wausau in 1897.
Mayville Historical Society
Organized in 1968, the Mayville Historical Society maintains a complex of historic buildings. The Hollenstein Wagon and Carriage Factory was founded by John Hollenstein, who came to America in 1869 from Switzerland and settled in Mayville with his wife, Dominica Zuest, in 1873. The Hollenstein family lived in a home adjacent to the factory, now furnished with artifacts from the community and surrounding region. The Society moved two additional structures to the site in 1978: the original Mayville firehouse, constructed in 1874 and the Brunke Cigar Factory, established in 1881. Objects documented in the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database include needlework by Hertha "Hattie" Hollenstein, wife of John Hollenstein Jr. as well as a spinning wheel built by Frank Fell, a local woodturner who carried Mayville's Civil War-era spinning wheel industry into the twentieth century.
McFarland Historical Society
The McFarland Historical Society received its charter from the Wisconsin Historical Society on April 18, 1964, as a result of interest generated by a school exhibition of artifacts presented by parents in 1963. The Society's holdings received a tremendous boost by Margaret Greene Kennedy's donation of her uncle Albert Skare's private collection in 1969. In 1971, a museum was built on McFarland's Main Street and in 1973, the Skare Cabin was carefully dismantled and moved to the Museum property.
Milwaukee Art Museum
The Milwaukee Art Museum has its roots in two Milwaukee art groups from the 1880s. These organizations and their collections merged under one roof for the first time in 1957. The Museum and its holdings continued to grow over the decades. In 2001, a major addition put the Museum on the map, nationally as well as internationally. The Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database features five important works by Wisconsin artisans from the Museum's collection--a marquetry table by master woodworker Peter Glass, a set of plates hand-painted by ceramic artist Susan Frackelton, an ornate hanging cupboard by John Cleveland of Racine County, an elaborate crazy quilt by Margaret Beattie of Janesville, and a hand-woven coverlet made for a family in Walworth County.
Milwaukee County Historical Society
The Milwaukee County Historical Society was founded in 1935 to collect, preserve and make available materials relating to the history of the Milwaukee community. Through a broad range of activities, the Society seeks to promote a greater appreciation of the Milwaukee community's rich heritage and a better understanding of life today. The Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database includes objects from the Society's collections representing Milwaukee's manufacturing history (utilitarian stoneware by Charles Hermann and furniture by the Matthews Brothers) as well as its cultural history (a quilt made by local German families and hand-painted porcelain).
Milwaukee Public Museum
The Milwaukee Public Museum has collected historical materials since the Museum's founding in 1882. Originally acquired as part of the Department of Ethnology, by the 1940s it was apparent that the MPM had enough material and curatorial expertise to form a separate History Section, which they did in 1945. Today, the History Section curates the cultures of Europe, United States and Asia with a focus on business technology, firearms, decorative arts, clothing and textiles, ancient history, numismatics, European folk life and American daily life. Truly a "public" museum, many of the MPM's collections have been donated by the people of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
Mineral Point Historical Society
The Mineral Point Historical Society was established in 1939 to prevent the destruction of Orchard Lawn, the Italianate home built in 1867 by local entrepreneur Joseph Gundry. The Society is currently involved in a major restoration of the building's interior and grounds. Items from the Society's collection cataloged for the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database include locally-made furniture, hand-painted china and a Cornish needlework sampler.
Mt. Horeb Area Historical Society
The Mt. Horeb Area Historical Society was founded in 1975 to document and preserve the history of southwestern Dane County. This region's Norwegian heritage is reflected in the many artifacts made by Norwegian immigrants featured in the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database, including examples of furniture by cabinetmaker Aslak Lie and a violin in the traditional Norwegian Hardanger style. Locally-made textiles, including quilts, lace work, and woven blankets, are another significant part of the Society's holdings documented here. In addition to managing a collection of thousands of artifacts, photographs, and archival materials, the Society operates the Mt. Horeb Area Museum, featuring both permanent and changing exhibitions of regional history.
Neville Public Museum of Brown County
Green Bay officially became a city in 1854, but its history as an inhabited region began long before. Archaeological findings establish the region as a seat of prehistoric cultures many centuries before the arrival of Europeans, documented by the landing of Jean Nicolet at Red Banks in 1634. Because of the community's location at the mouth of the Fox River, it was first a military stronghold and later became the important industrial center that it is today. The Neville Public Museum of Brown County traces its roots back to 1915 when a small display opened in the public library. Today the Neville Public Museum is a regional museum of art, history and science with collections representing Northeast Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Items from the museum's collection documented for the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database include metalwork by early French Canadian craftsman Joseph Jourdain and hand-painted ceramics from the Pauline Pottery.
New Holstein Historical Society
Descendants of the early settlers of the community of New Holstein founded the New Holstein Historical Society in 1964. In 1974, members of the Timm family presented the Society with the Hermann C. Timm House and much of its contents. Built for Hermann Christian Timm and his wife, Augusta Muenster Timm, the home was erected in two sections. A Greek Revival-influenced residence was built in 1873. In 1892, a large Stick Style addition was constructed on the front of the house, and the earlier part of the house, now the rear, was updated. An extensive restoration of the building was completed in 2007. The Society also operates the Pioneer Corner Museum, which features space for rotating exhibitions as well as permanent displays of artifacts from the early history of the community.
New Richmond Heritage Center
The New Richmond Heritage Center consists of 11 buildings including a ca. 1880s Italianate farmhouse, a log barn, a 1930s-era general store from the town of Ubet, the Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church built in 1891 in Superior, and two new exhibition halls. Objects documented for the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database include a child's chair manufactured by the Strand Ski Company and a table assembled from a piano destroyed by the infamous 1899 New Richmond tornado.
North Wood County Historical Society
In 1879 Major William Henry Upham, a Civil War veteran and future governor of Wisconsin, came to Marshfield. He built a complex of lumber operations including a sawmill, shingle mill, power plant, grist mill, and a furniture factory. The Upham Mansion is the restored home of William Henry Upham. Constructed in 1880, the mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It now serves as the center for the North Wood County Historical Society exhibits, activities, and local history research. The objects documented in the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database include furniture produced by the Upham Manufacturing Company and household goods used by the Upham family.
Oconto County Historical Society
The Oconto County Historical Society maintains three buildings in Oconto: the historic Beyer Home Museum; the George E. Hall Annex, which contains permanent and temporary exhibitions, research files, photographs, and artifact storage; and an urban barn. Built in 1868 by Cyrus and Kitty Hart, the Beyer Home is believed to be one of the first brick homes in Oconto County. In the 1970s the Society restored the house's interior to the 1890s era, when it was the home of prominent local citizens George and Fannie Beyer. The Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database documents some of the furniture, porcelain and quilts that now furnish the Beyer Home.
Old World Wisconsin
Old World Wisconsin, the largest outdoor museum of rural life in the nation, opened in 1976 as a major part of the state's commemoration of the United States bicentennial. To create the museum, researchers traveled throughout Wisconsin in search of authentic historic buildings hewn by generations of Wisconsin settlers and collected furniture and other artifacts of daily life descended in the families of early settlers around the state. A total of 48 objects featured in the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database represent the material heritage of Germans, Norwegians, Bohemians, Finns, and Yankees in Wisconsin.
Oneida Nation Museum
Members of the Oneida Tribe from New York began moving to the Wisconsin Territory in the 1820s. They settled along the Duck Creek area near southwest Green Bay and established a constitution in 1836. Since then, the Oneidas have endured and thrived. The Oneida Nation of Wisconsin built a museum after receiving a Bicentennial Grant in 1976. The Oneida Nation Museum opened in 1979 for the purposes of preserving and displaying the history and culture of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and to serve as an educational resource for the region. The Museum collection consists of art and cultural objects, photographs, and archives. A selection of lace made by Oneida artists is included in the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database.
Pendarvis
In 1935, Robert Neal and Edgar Hellum saw Mineral Point's history and heritage teetering on the brink of oblivion, and they decided to preserve what they could of its most tangible symbols--the stone cottages built by early 19th-century Cornish immigrants. Neal and Hellum collected the objects documented for the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database--earthenware pots by local potter Bernard Klais and examples of early regional furniture--in conjunction with the Pendarvis restoration. In 1970, the Wisconsin Historical Society acquired the property and the following year began operating the restoration as a historic site interpreting the history of Cornish settlement and Wisconsin's lead mining heyday.
Peshtigo Fire Museum
Operated by the Peshtigo Historical Society, the Peshtigo Fire Museum is located in the first church built in Peshtigo after much of the village was destroyed in the infamous fire of October 1871. The museum's collections consist of artifacts salvaged from the fire--including the tabernacle rescued from Father Peter Pernin's church--as well as artifacts of local history from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Pittsville Area Historical Society
The Pittsville Area Historical Society operates a museum of local history and a restored one-room schoolhouse. The museum collections include more than 170 examples of art pottery manufactured by the Wisconsin Ceramic Corporation (better known as Pittsville Pottery) collected by local resident Ed Arnold. Thirty highlights from the Arnold Collection are featured in the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database.
Price County Historical Society
The Price County Historical Society operates the Old Town Hall Museum in Fifield. The Old Town Hall Museum was a government building from 1894 until 1967, when it was acquired by the Price County Historical Society, which restored the building and opened it to the public as a museum in 1976. The Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database highlights quilts, furniture and other artifacts made and used by Price County residents.
Rock County Historical Society
The Rock County Historical Society owns and operates three sites in Janesville: the Helen Jeffris Wood Museum, featuring a changing exhibition space as well as a permanent display of Edgerton art pottery; the Lincoln-Tallman House, a restored ca. 1857 Italianate mansion; and the Frances Willard School, which provides an immersive experience of a 19th-century one-room schoolhouse for area students. The Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database includes highlights from the Rock County Historical Society's large collection of Pauline Pottery and other art pottery made in Edgerton, furniture produced in Janesville factories and a number of well-preserved local quilts.
Rusk County Historical Society
Gates County, Wisconsin was formed in 1901 from the northern portion of Chippewa County. It was named after Milwaukee land speculator James L. Gates who owned tracts of cutover land in northern Wisconsin. Construction of the Gates County courthouse began that same year. On the closing night of the 1905 legislative session, the name of the county was changed to Rusk in honor of Jeremiah M. Rusk, a respected local leader and three-term governor of the state. The Rusk County Historical Society was founded in 1955. The Society's museum complex consists of ten buildings, including two cabins, a schoolhouse, and several exhibition halls, all found at the Rusk County Fairgrounds in Ladysmith.
St. John Chrysostom Church
Founded in 1851, St. John Chrysostom Church in Delafield is considered one of the finest examples of "Carpenter Gothic" architecture in the United States. The "Little Red Church on the Hill" was consecrated on May 20, 1856 by Reverend Jackson Kemper, the first Bishop of Wisconsin. Local blacksmiths, stonecutters, and other craftsmen created much of the interior furnishings, which continue to be used today by the church's active congregation.
Sauk County Historical Society
The Sauk County Historical Society was founded in Baraboo in 1905. Beginning in 1907 the Society presented exhibitions in the Sauk County Courthouse. In 1938 the Society acquired the Jacob Van Orden Mansion, a Tudor Revival-style building constructed in 1902, as a new home for the ever-growing collection. In 2006 the Society obtained the former administrative building of the Island Woolen Mill and converted it into the Sauk County History Center in order to house research materials and exhibition space.
Sheboygan County Historical Society
The Sheboygan County Historical Museum complex includes four historic buildings: the Taylor House, built for Judge David Taylor in the early 1850s; the 1864 Weinhold family log home; the 1867 Bodenstab Cheese Factory; and the 1890s-era Schuchardt Barn. In addition, two modern buildings provide space for permanent and changing exhibitions of county history. In the late 19th century, Sheboygan's successful furniture industry earned it the nickname "Chair City," and the museum's collection includes examples of furniture from numerous local manufacturers. Other examples of Sheboygan County's industrial production featured in the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database include a Puritan phonograph, a cast-iron bench from the Kohler Company, and a blanket from the Brickner Woolen Mills.
Ten Chimneys Foundation
Ten Chimneys, a National Historic Landmark in Genesee Depot, was the country estate lovingly created by Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, widely considered the greatest acting team in the history of American theatre. Ten Chimneys, with its main house, Swedish cottage, pleasure follies and agricultural outbuildings, consists of nine historic structures and sixty acres of grounds and gardens. Summer after summer the Lunts retreated to Ten Chimneys to rejuvenate and rehearse. Ten Chimneys' diverse collection is comprised of the original objects selected by the Lunts in the 1920s, '30s, and '40s.
Vernon County Historical Society
The building that now houses the Vernon County Museum in Viroqua was built in 1918-19 as a training school for teachers. The Vernon County Historical Society also maintains the Old St. Mary's Church Museum, Foreaker Country School, and the Sherry-Butt House, once the home of Civil War Lieutenant Colonel Cyrus M. Butt.
Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, Decorah, Iowa
Just as Norwegian immigration to America began to peak in 1877, Norwegian Americans at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa started to collect and preserve objects documenting their chapter of the immigrant story, making them pioneers in the preservation of cultural diversity in America. Today that early collection has grown into the Vesterheim ("Western Home") Norwegian-American Museum, the largest and most comprehensive museum in the United States dedicated to a single immigrant group. The museum houses over 24,000 artifacts, which include large samplings from the fine, decorative, and folk arts, and the tools and machinery of early agriculture, lumbering, and other immigrant industries. The Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database features examples of furniture, woodcarving, rosemaling, and other traditional crafts produced by Norwegian immigrants in Wisconsin.
Vilas Historical Museum
The Vilas Historical Museum in Sayner opened to the public on August 16, 1959. It was founded by Mabel Sayner Dewitt, the daughter of Orrin Sayner, for whom the town of Sayner was named. More than 40,000 objects are on view in the museum complex. Among the items included in the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database are examples of furniture hand-crafted by a young Carl Eliason, a local resident credited with the invention of the snowmobile.
Villa Louis
In 1843, fur trade agent Hercules Dousman established a home on the banks of the Mississippi River at the settlement known as Prairie du Chien. Following Dousman's death in 1868, his son Louis Dousman planned the construction of a more stylish residence to replace his childhood home. In 1885, Louis and his wife Nina set about a top-to-bottom renovation of the Villa Louis to make its rooms a showplace of British Arts and Crafts design. The Wisconsin Historical Society acquired the Villa as its first historic site in 1952. A meticulous restoration of the site was completed in 2005, supported by major evidence of the ca. 1885 interiors found in family photographs, letters, and business records. Ninety percent of the furnishings at the Villa are original to the home, including the examples of furniture and silver from St. Louis and Milwaukee cataloged for the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database.
Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum
Milwaukee's Villa Terrace, designed and built by architect David Adler in 1923, was originally the residence of Lloyd Smith of the A.O. Smith Corporation and his family. In partnership with the Charles Allis Art Museum, the Villa is now part of the Milwaukee County War Memorial Corporation. A highlight of the Villa's collection is the Cyril Colnik Collection, made available online for the first time through the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database. In 1991, Gretchen Colnik donated to the Villa over 200 works by her father, Cyril Colnik (1871-1958), considered one of the foremost metal craftsmen of his time. The museum installed a major permanent exhibition of this collection, including photographs, drawings and blueprints from the museum's Cyril Colnik Archive, in 2007.
Waukesha County Museum
The 1893 structure at East Avenue and Main Street in Waukesha is home to the Waukesha County Museum. Originally constructed as the county's second courthouse, the building is owned and operated by the Waukesha County Historical Society & Museum, Inc., a not-for-profit organization. The Waukesha County Museum has been in the same building since its opening in 1914. The building was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1975. Three floors of exhibits cover such topics as the Civil War, early settlement in the county, architecture, toys from many generations, and technology. The Research Center contains over 28,000 printed documents and over 250,000 photographs for researchers to reference and the museum has over 17,000 objects in its collection.
Wisconsin Historical Museum
The collections of the Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison contain 110,000 historical objects and nearly 400,000 archaeological artifacts. They are used by staff, academic scholars, collectors, local historians, authors and the general public to document the history of what is now Wisconsin from pre-historic times to the present. The Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database includes a sampling from the Museum's collection of 19th century utilitarian ceramics as well as examples of work by the Pauline Pottery and other Edgerton art potteries. The Database also features nearly 30 beaded bandolier bags made by Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Menominee and Ho-Chunk women in late 19th and early 20th century Wisconsin.
Wrightstown Historical Society
In 1833, Hoel S. Wright left Vermont for the Wisconsin Territory, where he established a settlement southwest of Green Bay that he called Bridgeport (later renamed Wrightstown in honor of its founder). Wright built a home on the east side of the Fox River in 1843 and lived there with his family until 1865. In 1871, German immigrant Carl G. Mueller acquired and rebuilt the Wright house, adding the two wings of the present structure. Mueller and his descendants lived in the house until the late 1930s. In 1974, the Village of Wrightstown purchased the property and the Wrightstown Historical Society restored the building, now known as the Mueller-Wright House, with the help of a grant from the Fort Howard Paper Foundation. Many objects associated with the Wright and Mueller families are among the house's current furnishings, including the furniture and needlework documented for the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database.
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