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From Sacred Calumets to Ashtrays

Discover the important role that tobacco and the Peace Pipe have played throughout Wisconsin's history.

Read about the Woodland and Middle Mississippean Indian cultures that flourished at Trempealeau and Aztalan 1000 years ago.

Discover historical details and explore our online collections related to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Historical Essay

Petersylvania, Wisconsin

A Bizarre Story of Land Prospecting Gone Awry

Read the amazing story of a man who watched his potential 10,000-square-mile northern Wisconsin empire disappear into thin air.

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Maple sugar container made by missionary Rosalie Dousman, mid-1800s. (Museum object #1969.419)

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Concrete walleye decoy purchased at PARR Rally in Minocqua, Wisconsin, April 15, 1989. (Museum object #1990.178.1)

Read about the development of social and cultural institutions such as public schools, churches, colleges and universities and Indian mission schools.

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Sturgeon decoy carved and painted by Ojibwe artist John V. Snow. (Museum Object #1996.118.106A-B)

Some Interesting Stories of the Winnebago Chief

Read about Ho-Chunk Chief Dandy's interesting and friendly interactions with white settlers in Wisconsin, even while he was a fugitive.

Read about the fur trade conducted with the Wisconsin Indians over two centuries by first the French, then the British, and finally the Americans.

An Unreliable Text and Other Evidence

Wisconsin History books teach that Jean Nicolet was the first white person to reach the state, but he may have been the second.

Read about Wisconsin's Indian tribes and their changing legal status throughout the 20th century.

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Eagle feather dance staff used at 1933 World's Fair by Ho-Chunk dancers from the Wisconsin Dells. (Museum object #2001.49.1)

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Army jacket decorated with Native American beadwork worn by Chief Simon Onanguisse Kahquados of the Forest County Potawatomi. (Museum object #1943.330)

The Story of Two Communities Through Photographs

Read about the history of Manitowoc and Two Rivers, two Wisconsin communities, and view photos documenting more than 150 years of life in the two cities.

Historical Essay

Menominee Fancy Dance Bustle

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Fancy dance back bustle made of dyed turkey feathers, Neopit, Wisconsin on the Menominee Reservation, c. 1982. (Museum object # 1982.48.8)

Historical Essay

Effigy Mounds Culture

Learn about the Effigy Mound communities which transformed Native American life in Wisconsin between 600 and 1000 AD.

Historical Essay

Cadotte, Michael, 1764-1837

Pioneer Fur Trader

Brief biography of pioneer fur trader Michael Cadotte.

Discover how two Ojibwe chiefs traveled to Washington DC and negotiated with then-President Millard Fillmore to keep rights to their land.

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Native American courting flute carved by Louis Webster, of Menominee, Stockbridge, Potawatomi and Oneida descent, 1994. (Museum object #1996.118.93)
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