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

Sousa Conductor's Baton

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Conductor's baton presented to Marquette University by John Philip Sousa in 1924. (Museum object #1980.228.12)

Historical Essay

Milwaukee's Maverick Aviator

Milwaukee's William Mitchell went from a court-martial for insubordination to being widely understood to be the father of the modern U.S. Air Force.

Historical Essay

How Madison Became a City

Madison went from a small village in 1836 to being organized and governed as a city in 20 years time

Historical Essay

Petersylvania, Wisconsin

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

Historical Essay

Bra Flag

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Land of the Freed-up Woman American flag banner made from bras, 1971. (Museum object #2000.79.1)

Discover the connection between P.T. Barnum and the 1853 statewide referendum on liquor sales and why it failed.

Historical Essay

John Muir's Clockwork Desk

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Cockwork study desk built by naturalist John Muir while at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1861-1863. (Museum object F1998.85.1)

Historical Essay

Magician's Escape Trunk

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Escape trunk, restraining devices, and curtain used by magician Ben Bergor of Madison, Wisconsin, 1940s. (Museum objects #1982.159.17,19,21,23,25)

Learn about the movement to gain voting rights for women and Wisconsin's role in that struggle.

A Wisconsin Civil War Story

Learn how Cordelia Harvey established a hospital in Madison to help Civil War soldiers
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