Collage of historical images.

Wisconsin History Essays

Learn something new about the past and gain a deeper understanding of your world. Hundreds of essays tell the stories of the people, places and events that are Wisconsin history.

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Search by keyword below to find information on Wisconsin's history.

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Historical Essay

Gumball Slot Machine

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Trade stimulator gumball slot machine seized from a Shullsburg, Wisconsin tavern in 1945. (Museum object #2008.13.1A-B)

Historical Essay

Lottery Ball Drawing Machine

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Ball drawing machine used by the Wisconsin Lottery for Daily Pick 3 and Daily Pick 4 games, 1992-2000. (Museum object #2001.83.16.1A-B)

Historical Essay

Mrs. Fairchild's Worth Gown

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Gown made by Charles Frederick Worth of Paris for Frances Fairchild of Madison, Wisconsin, 1880. (Museum object #1945.960,A)

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Portrait of Lucius Fairchild by John Singer Sargent, 1887. (Museum object #1942.305)

Learn about the election that was so close that Wisconsin briefly had two governors until one was exposed for tampering with ballots.

Read about Governor Tommy Thompson's efforts to revitalize Wisconsin's economy and reform the state's welfare programs in the 1980s and 1990s.

Historical Essay

Governor Dreyfus's Red Vest

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Red velveteen vest worn by Wisconsin Governor Lee Sherman Dreyfus, c. 1975. (Museum object #1982.450.15)

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Badge worn to support William Jennings Bryan by Wisconsin delegate Charles Donohue at Democratic Convention, Denver, July 1908 (Museum object #1997.36.1)

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Collage featuring likeness of civil rights activist Father James Edmund Groppi by artist Gloria Adair of Milwaukee, 1966. (Museum object #1993.37.1)

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Plaque commemorating the passage of the 1915 Seaman's Act. (Museum object #1942.530)
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