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Kenosha Public Museum

Location: Take Interstate 294/94 to Kenosha. Exit Hwy 158. Go east on Hwy 158 to Sixth Avenue. (Hwy 158 turns into 52nd Street in the city of Kenosha. It is approximately 11 miles from the Interstate to the lakefront and Sixth Avenue.) Turn right onto Sixth Avenue. Go two blocks south to 54th Street. Turn left onto 54th Street and go five blocks east to First Avenue. Turn right onto First Avenue. The museum is on your right and free parking is available in the lot on your left.

Museum Description: The Kenosha Public Museum has several displays that are of particular interest, but the highlight is the exhibit on the Schaefer mammoth butchering site. The Schaefer mammoth site is the first known mammoth butchering site found east of the Mississippi River. It is more than 12,000 years old. The story begins in 1964 when pieces of a mammoth tusk and a femur were dug up during a drain tiling operation. The specimens were donated to the Kenosha Public Museum. Although the museum had no immediate plan to display the items, they knew they were important and kept them in their collections for feature research. In 1990, museum personnel examined the femur and discovered cut marks on the bone indicating that the mammoth had been butchered. This startling discovery and an examination of a sketch map made in 1964 led archaeologists to the original find location. Excavations undertaken in the 1990s unearthed the bones of a single adult male Woolly Mammoth of about 30 years of age. The way the bones were scattered, butchering marks on several bones, and the presence of a red paint next to some of the bones, indicates that the site is a kill and butchering site. The mammoth was butchered along the shore of a glacial lake about 10,960 years B.P.

Time Period: Paleo-Indian Dates: 13,000 – 11,000 years ago
Comments: The Schaefer mammoth site is one of several Paleo-Indian sites that have been identified in the Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee County areas associated with older glacial lake beaches. The archaeological investigations at these sites typifies what happens in most archaeological investigations. This project relied heavily on the use of information from local residents. It also included an examination of specimens in existing museum collections and the project included collaborative efforts among archaeologists, geologists, geomorphologists, and paleontologists. The work at this series of sites has revolutionized the manner in which we view the Paleo-Indian occupations of the Upper Midwest.

Season: The museum is open Sunday-Monday noon to 5 p.m., Tuesday–Saturday 9 a.m. to 5p.m. For more information call 262-653.4140/262-653-4434. Always confirm museum hours.

Fees: None
Accessibility: The museum is accessible for people with mobility impairments.
Facilities: Rest rooms and parking are available.

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