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Learn how Robert La Follette and the Progressive Movement reformed state government and the Republican Party in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Historical Essay

Nelson, Gaylord, 1916-2005

Founder of Earth Day

This Wisconsin Senator, best known as the founder of Earth Day, championed the preservation of the environment and natural resources.

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Desk used by Milwaukee Alder Vel Phillips, made by the Northwestern Furniture Company for Milwaukee City Hall, 1895. (Museum object #2007.16.1)

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Wisconsin Governor

Brief biography of Gov. Louis P. Harvey, helped organize the Republican Party in 1854, state senator from 1854-1857 and in 1862 became governor.

Historical Essay

Milwaukee Sewer Socialism

Read about the era in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when Milwaukee became the first Socialist city in the United States.

Historical Essay

Granger Gourd

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Ceremonial container made from a gourd, presented to Wisconsin Governor William R. Taylor, 1874. (Museum object #1993.53)

Read a short biography about this U.S. Senator famous for his penny-pinching attitude toward government spending and his courage in taking unpopular stands

Historical Essay

State Capitol Spittoon

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Ornamented bronze cuspidor (spittoon) used in the Wisconsin State Capitol, c. 1915-1955. (Museum object #1955.3600,A-B)

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

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

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

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

Appointment book made of ivory, used by Wisconsin politician and businessman Cassius Fairchild of Madison, WI, during the 1850s. (Museum object #1971.19)

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

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

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Engine fragment from the van used in the Sterling Hall bombing, 1970. (Museum object #1994.8)

Read how Robert La Follette, the Wisconsin Republican Party and the Progressive Movement reformed state government in the early 20th century.

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Giant knife presented to John Fox Potter by Missouri Republicans after his challenge to duel with a Virginia congressman, 1860. (Museum object #1957.112)

Learn about Robert M. La Follette's significant role in establishing the direct primary elections in Wisconsin.

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

Berger, Victor, 1860-1929

Symbol of Milwaukee Socialism

Learn about the man who was the symbol of Milwaukee Socialism. Read about his involvement in the newspaper business, politics, and his anti-war stance.
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