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Society in Line for $1 Million in Federal Funding

One of the carriage exhibits that will move to the new Wade House Learning and Visitor Center and Wesley Jung Carriage Museum with the aid of nearly $1 million in Federal Highway Administration funding

Nearly $1 million in federal funding will come to the Wisconsin Historical Society to help finance a building project at the Society's Wade House historic site and to conduct archaeological surveys of five historic Lake Michigan shipwreck sites. The Society expects both projects to enhance local heritage tourism opportunities. The windfall counts toward the Society's recently launched public phase of its $77 million Forward! Campaign, the first major fundraising campaign in the Society's history. With most of that $77 million goal already achieved, the Society seeks an additional $8.3 million to complete the campaign.

The source of the just-announced funding is the Federal Highway Administration's Transportation Enhancement program. It will come to the Society in the form of reimbursements administered by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation after the two projects' completion. The funds support qualifying projects that fit one of 12 criteria relating to surface transportation.

$800,000 for the Wade House Learning and Visitor Center

Wade House will open a new Learning and Visitor Center and Wesley Jung Carriage Museum in 2013. The funds will reimburse Wade House $800,000 toward the cost of installing exhibits in the carriage transportation museum upon its completion. The museum will bring compelling stories within the world of horse-drawn transportation to life in vignette settings, interactive exhibits and hands-on experiences.

$170,000 to Support Underwater Archaeological Shipwreck Surveys

Another $170,000 will support the Society's underwater archaeology program with a project called "Wisconsin's Historic Shipwrecks: Documenting and Promoting our Maritime Past." The project will involve conducting archaeological surveys of five shipwrecks that represent a cross section of historically significant vessel types that have sailed Wisconsin waters.

Archaeological documentation of the shipwrecks will allow for their nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, providing the sites with additional layers of legal protection. The project will also develop educational and outreach materials as well as historic markers using data and images collected during the surveys. Those data and images will also document the sites on two websites: and

Finally, the project will result in the addition of state-sponsored mooring buoys to mark the five sites and promote visitation by divers while protecting the sites from improper anchoring techniques.

:: Posted November 18, 2010

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