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Curators' Favorites: Arts & Entertainment

Butch Vig's Original Drum Set

Drum kit used by Viroqua, Wisconsin, native Butch Vig when he played with the bands Spooner, Fire Town, and the Grammy-nominated Garbage. (Museum Object #2011.67.1.1-.6) When the Beatles performed on the February 9, 1964, "Ed Sullivan Show," teenage girls in...
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Posted October 3, 2012



Oscar Mayer Wiener Banjo-Ukulele

Banjo-ukulele used by jingle composer Richard Trentlage in the first recording of the Oscar Mayer Wiener Song, 1962. (Museum object #2009.59.1) Were it not for the words written on its surface, this banjo-ukulele, an easy-to-play, handy instrument, probably wouldn't arouse...
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Posted August 12, 2009



Caine Mutiny Costume

Naval uniform costume worn by actor Fred MacMurray in the 1954 motion picture "The Caine Mutiny." (Museum object #2009.19.1) Native of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, movie star Fred MacMurray made his fame and fortune playing nice guys in motion picture comedies...
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Posted April 6, 2009



Racine Belles Movie Costume

Racine Belles baseball uniform costume worn in the 1992 movie, A League of Their Own. (Museum object #2008.145.1.1) By the time the motion picture A League of Their Own opened on July 1, 1992, most Americans had forgotten or never...
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Posted October 16, 2008



Pauline Pottery Covered Jar

Hand-painted earthenware jar manufactured by the Pauline Pottery, Edgerton, Wisconsin, 1888-1892. (Museum object # 1964.95.1,A) Between 1888 and 1909 the city of Edgerton, Wisconsin was home to six different companies producing nationally recognized ceramic art. The art potteries of Edgerton...
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Posted September 4, 2008



Liberace's Performance Jacket

An elaborately beaded jacket worn by pianist, performer, and Wisconsin native Liberace during his performances in the late 1970s. (Museum object #2008.77.1) Liberace, the flamboyant pianist, may have made a name for himself in glitzy Las Vegas, but he grew...
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Posted July 3, 2008



George Pollard's Palette

Used by the artist George Pollard of Kenosha, Wisconsin, as a 'scrapbook' of his distinguished career. (Museum object #2007.108.1) Renowned artist George Pollard (1920-2008) of Kenosha, Wisconsin, used this painter's palette during his career as a portrait artist of some...
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Posted April 24, 2008



Ella Wheeler Wilcox Doll

Doll depicting Wisconsin poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox made by Milwaukee artist Joan (Beringer) Pripps, 1947-1948. (Museum object #2007.139.19) Joan M. Beringer knew from an early age she would be an artist and, after studying at the Milwaukee Art Institute and...
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Posted February 28, 2008



Father Groppi Collage

"Denial of Absolution" collage featuring likeness of civil rights activist Father James Edmund Groppi by artist Gloria Adair of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1966. (Museum object #1993.37.1) In 1966, Milwaukee, Wisconsin artist Gloria Adair felt compelled to compose a work of art...
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Posted January 31, 2008



Polka Rhythms Bandstand

Bandstand used by Chad Przybylski and his Polka Rhythms of Pulaski, Wisconsin, from c. 1980 until 2003. (Museum object #2003.10.1) Alongside cheese, beer and brats, the polka might be one of the most readily recognized Wisconsin icons. In fact, in...
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Posted January 17, 2008



Governor Doyle's Festivus Pole

Six-foot "floor model" Festivus pole and stand made of an extruded aluminum alloy manufactured by The Wagner Companies of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and used by Governor Jim Doyle, 2005. (Museum object 2007.84.1A-C) Unadorned and lusterless. These are typically not adjectives used...
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Posted December 13, 2007



Chris Farley's Black Sheep Jacket

Campaign jacket worn by Chris Farley in the 1996 movie Black Sheep. (Museum object #2007.86.1) Around 1995 burly comic Chris Farley, a Madison, Wisconsin native, best known for his five years on the television show Saturday Night Live (SNL), decided...
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Posted December 6, 2007



Ristaucrat Jukebox

Table-top Ristaucrat S-45 Selective Jukebox, produced by Ristaucrat, Inc., Appleton, Wisconsin, 1951. (Museum object #1974.7.2) The precursor of the modern jukebox appeared in 1889, when businessman Louis Glass fitted an Edison phonograph with a coin slot and installed it at...
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Posted November 22, 2007



Menominee Fancy Dance Bustle

Fancy dance back bustle made of dyed turkey feathers, Neopit, Wisconsin on the Menominee Reservation, c. 1982. (Museum object # 1982.48.8) For centuries, Indians across North America have held ceremonies celebrating warfare, successful hunts and harvests, marriages, births, animals, and...
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Posted November 1, 2007



Magician's Escape Trunk

Escape trunk, restraining devices, and curtain used by magician Ben Bergor of Madison, Wisconsin, 1940s. (Museum objects #1982.159.17,19,21,23,25) Ben Bergor was a Madison-born and Madison-based performer and booking agent, who from the 1910s through the 1950s worked in tent shows,...
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Posted October 25, 2007



Stereo Realist 3-D Camera

Stereo Realist f3.5 camera made by the David White Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, c. 1951. (Museum object #1980.337) Since the dawn of photography in the early 19th century, millions of people have enjoyed the semi-permanent record of life that photographs...
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Posted September 27, 2007



Hill Street Blues Badge

Police captain's badge prop worn by Wisconsin's Daniel J. Travanti on the television series Hill Street Blues, 1981-1987. (Museum object #2007.41.2) With the premiere of Hill Street Blues on January 15, 1981 a new type of police procedural hit the...
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Posted September 6, 2007



Native American Courting Flute

Native American courting flute carved by Louis Webster, of Menominee, Stockbridge, Potawatomi and Oneida descent, 1994. (Museum object #1996.118.93) Once common among Wisconsin’s Woodland Indians, the use of traditional flutes began to decline in the late 1800s. Almost a century...
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Posted February 8, 2007



Odyssey Home Video Game System

Magnavox Odyssey Home Video Game System played by Susan and John Gyarmati of Cedarburg, Wisconsin during the 1970s. (Museum object #2006.95.2) This Odyssey Home Video Game System, made by Magnavox between 1972-1974, was one of the earliest video games created...
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Posted December 21, 2006



Watercolor Farm Scene by Paul Seifert

Landscape view of the Martin Luetscher II farmstead, Honey Creek Township, Wisconsin, c. 1875 (Museum object #2005.182.1) This vibrant watercolor painting, by renowned German American folk artist Paul Seifert, documents an early Wisconsin farmstead, the pioneer farm family who resided...
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Posted November 16, 2006



Happy Days Bowling Shirt

Leopard Lodge League bowling shirt costume worn on Happy Days television series, 1977-1984. (Museum object #2006.39.1) Like the fictional Shotz brewery featured in the television series Laverne and Shirley that drew from one stereotype for which Milwaukee, Wisconsin is particularly...
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Posted September 7, 2006



Shotz Brewery Costume

Shotz Brewery smock used in Laverne and Shirley television series, 1976-1980. (Museum object #2006.38.1) Introduced in the show's opening credits along side an undeniably catchy theme song, the lavender Shotz Brewery smock -- like Laverne's famous "L"-embroidered sweaters -- is...
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Posted August 17, 2006



Sousa Conductor's Baton

Conductor's baton presented to Marquette University by John Philip Sousa in 1924. (Museum object #1980.228.12) Renowned conductor and composer John Philip Sousa presented this wooden baton to Harold J. Homann, assistant director of the Marquette University band, during a 1924...
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Posted June 29, 2006



Rosemaled Norwegian Immigrant Trunk

Decorated trunk brought to Wisconsin from Norway by immigrant Mette Kristina Larsdotter Mokrid, c. 1845. (Museum object #2000.77.1) Mette Kristina Larsdotter Mokrid brought this painted trunk to the Readstown area of Vernon County, Wisconsin from her original home in Luster,...
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Posted May 11, 2006



Rosaline Peck's Violin

Violin and bow played by Madison, Wisconsin pioneer Rosaline Peck, 1830s. (Museum object #1969.304.2,A) Rosaline Peck, the first white woman settler of Madison, played this violin at gatherings inside her public house cabin located near Capitol Square. As she played,...
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Posted April 6, 2006



Vinnie Ream Marble Sculpture

Spirito Del Carnevale (Spirit of the Carnival)sculpture by Vinnie Ream, 1870. (Museum Object #1965.270.2) While traveling in Italy in 1870, Wisconsin-born sculptor Vinnie Ream witnessed the festive preparations for the Roman carnival and became inspired to create Spirito Del Carnevale...
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Posted March 23, 2006



Bra Flag

Land of the Freed-up Woman American flag banner made from bras, 1971. (Museum object #2000.79.1) By 1971, in the midst of the feminist movement, Marjorie Engelman of Green Bay, Wisconsin had experienced a new sense of liberation. She had started...
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Posted March 16, 2006



Forward Statue

Forward statue by Wisconsin artist Jean Pond Miner, 1893. (Museum object #1998.1.1) In 1895 sculptress Jean Pond Miner received an unusual honor for a woman of her day: her seven-foot tall allegorical statue Forward was given a prominent position at...
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Posted March 2, 2006



George Washington Portrait by Thomas Sully

Copy of Gilbert Stuart's portrait of George Washington painted by Thomas Sully, 1854. (Museum object #1942.506) From the ubiquitous portrait on the classroom wall to the dollar bills in our pockets, images of President George Washington are some of the...
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Posted February 16, 2006



Necktie Quilt by Allie Crumble

Variation of a friendship quilt using neckties made by Allie Crumble, 1982. (Museum object #1996.118.16) Drawing from established quilt traditions, Allie Crumble offered a portrait of her African-American church community. This pieced quilt consists of thirty-six large squares with each...
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Posted February 2, 2006



Ho-Chunk Eagle Feather Dance Staff

Eagle feather dance staff used at 1933 World's Fair by Ho-Chunk dancers from the Wisconsin Dells. (Museum object #2001.49.1) A member of the Ho-Chunk Nation (formerly known as the Winnebago) carried this feather staff, or flag, during performances at the...
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Posted November 23, 2005



August Schlaak’s Exquisite Marquetry Table

Marquetry table made by August Schlaak as a Christmas present for his daughter, 1923-1929. (Museum object #2003.78.1) Highly-skilled craftsman August Schlaak created this intricate bureau table, a combination writing and dressing table, over a seven-year period before giving it as...
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Posted September 29, 2005



Milwaukee Handicraft Project Depression-Era Artwork

Block-printed wall hanging produced by workers of the Milwaukee Handicraft Project, 1935-1943. (Museum object #1981.184.4) On November 6, 1935, in the midst of the Great Depression, the staff of the Milwaukee Handicraft Project (MHP) opened its doors to find a...
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Posted September 22, 2005



The "Incomparable" Hildegarde Record

Souvenir Record Album of Wisconsin songs recorded by the "Incomparable" Hildegarde, 1968. (Museum object #2001.50.13.1-2) "Hildegarde was perhaps the most famous supper-club entertainer who ever lived," said Liberace, another Wisconsin native. "I used to absorb all the things she was...
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Posted August 25, 2005



Fairchild Portrait by John Singer Sargent

Portrait of Lucius Fairchild by John Singer Sargent, 1887. (Museum object #1942.305) After losing an arm at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, General Lucius Fairchild returned to a political career in Wisconsin, eventually serving as governor for three successive...
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Posted June 30, 2005



"Midget Wedding" Dance Costume

Kehl School of Dancing’s "Midget Wedding" Costume, 1940. (Museum object #2005.108.1A-C) On June 21, 1940 eight-year old Virginia Lee Kehl wore this costume, consisting of a dress, trunks, headpiece, and veil, to portray the bride in the Kehl School of...
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Posted June 23, 2005



Hardanger Fiddle

Mid-nineteenth century violin converted into Hardanger fiddle by Knute Hellund, c. 1893. (Museum object #1973.56) In 1893, Theodore Mikkelson of Chetek, Wisconsin, gave his seventeen-year-old nephew, Adolph K. Austin, an old violin. Under the tutelage of his uncle, Austin learned...
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Posted March 31, 2005



Fair Ribbon Quilt

Quilt made of fair prize ribbons won by William H. Milward between 1908 and 1934. (Museum object #2004.12.1) Made by Elizabeth (Meibohn) Milward, of Madison, Wisconsin from about 250 award ribbons won by her husband William Henry Milward for his...
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Posted January 17, 2005



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