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Curators' Favorites: House & Home

Nativity Scene Crèche Set

Nativity scene creche set assembled and used by a Polish-American family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin beginning around 1895. (Museum accession #2007.100) Generations of a Polish-American family celebrated the Christmas season by setting up this crèche set in their Milwaukee homes. The...
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Posted December 18, 2008



Silver Wedding Presents

Silver ladle and spoon given to Syndonia (Hobbins) Jackson of Madison, Wisconsin as a wedding present, 1872. (Museum object #1955.304,A) As the daughter of a respected physician and a prominent member of Madison, Wisconsin society, Syndonia Josephine Hobbins would have...
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Posted December 4, 2008



Early Electric Dishwasher

Early household dishwasher manufactured by Hydro-Electric Manufacturing Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, c. 1930. (Museum object #1997.35.1A-D) The modernization of the American kitchen began in the early 20th century, bringing it out of the "shadows" and into the forefront of domestic and...
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Posted September 18, 2008



Asbestos Baby Bottle Warmer

Automobile baby bottle warmer lined with asbestos, made by the Hankscraft Company, Reedsburg, Wisconsin, c. 1955. (Museum object #1979.316.21) At the height of the Baby Boom, convenience items like this Hankscraft brand automobile baby bottle warmer proved popular for many...
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Posted May 8, 2008



Lead Toy Soldier Casting Kit

Toy-Moulds set made by the Make-A-Toy Co. and used by the Asmuth family of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1930s. (Museum object #1962.228.30,A-U) In recent years there has been renewed concern over the amount of lead showing up in the materials comprising children's...
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Posted December 20, 2007



Skunk Grease Medicine

Skunk grease made by Henry Blumer as a home health remedy for Adolph Strahm of Green County, Wisconsin, c. 1920. (Museum object #2006.1.1A-B) Henry "Hank" Blumer, a farmer living near New Glarus, Wisconsin, made this jar of skunk grease medicine...
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Posted November 29, 2007



Bemis Riddell Chaise Lounge

Bemis Riddell chaise lounge custom made for the company owner, Albert Bemis, c. 1925 (reupholstered, c. 1940). (Museum Object #1984.319.1A-B) Relaxing in a lounge chair while taking in views of Wisconsin's lake beauty is a summertime tradition enjoyed by generations...
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Posted June 21, 2007



1809 Map Sampler

Sampler embroidered by Cecilia Lewis at a boarding school in 1809. (Museum object #1984.294.1) Cecilia Lewis of Flushing, New York made this map sampler when she was a school girl of eighteen. On her embroidered map of the United States...
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Posted June 14, 2007



Child's Chamber Pot and Washbasin

Child's ceramic toilet set used by Elizabeth Marshall of Shorewood Hills, Wisconsin, c. 1905. (Museum object #1947.909,A-B) The early twentieth century middle-to-upper class American child was born into a society that offered a vast array of novel goods designed specifically...
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Posted February 1, 2007



1950s Pink Kitchen

Pink kitchen with General Electric appliances and custom built cabinets from a Waukesha, Wisconsin ranch home, c. 1958. (Museum object #2006.82) This pink kitchen, with nearly all of its original components, comes from a suburban Waukesha, Wisconsin home and represents...
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Posted December 14, 2006



Original Model Barbie Doll

Barbie doll purchased in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, c. 1961. (Museum object #1972.17.10) Barbara "Barbie" Millicent Roberts, an 11.5" tall plastic doll with a voluptuous female body supposedly from the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin, debuted at the International Toy Fair in...
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Posted October 12, 2006



Early Kelvinator Home Microwave

Kelvinator Microwave “Radarange” thought to be the first home microwave oven used in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 1956. (Museum object #1985.30) By today’s standards, this microwave oven is quite bulky and very heavy. Housed in a brushed stainless steel cabinet which...
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Posted August 10, 2006



World War I "Sons in Service" Flag

“Sons in Service” flag from the Washbush home in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, 1917-1918. (Museum object #1985.34.1) During World War I the Washbush family of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, hung this “Sons in Service” flag in the window of their...
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Posted May 25, 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



Victorian Baby Carriage

Baby carriage used by the McFetridge family of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, c. 1871. (Museum object #1963.135.225) With one of her four young children confined safely in this exceptional baby carriage, Martha Aiken McFetridge could stroll in style through the parks...
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Posted May 4, 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



Early Madison Hand-Carved Table

Early hand-carved table made by Levi Havemann, a German immigrant to Madison, c. 1860. (Museum object #1998.21.1) German-born Levi Havemann came to Madison, Wisconsin in 1854 as a skilled wood carver and cabinet maker. He lived at several locations around...
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Posted March 30, 2006



Hanukkah Decoration for the Home

Cardboard Hanukkah decoration used by three generations of a Wisconsin family, c. 1960. (Museum object #2002.388.6) The Bernard and Annette Howards family of Racine, Wisconsin purchased this decoration and many others for their celebration of Hanukkah, c. 1960. The light...
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Posted December 29, 2005



Nancy Hanks Doll: An Historic American Girl

German bisque doll with her trunk of clothes and accessories, c. 1908. (Museum object #1966.408.1) Lucien and Mary Esther Hanks of Madison, Wisconsin wanted their children to have the best of everything, so it is not surprising that they bought...
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Posted December 22, 2005



Pink Evergleam Aluminum Christmas Tree

Six-foot Evergleam Christmas tree with 94 branches made by the Aluminum Specialty Company of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, c. 1966. (Museum object #2005.174.1.1) Merlin and Nancy Molstad purchased this pink Evergleam aluminum Christmas tree around 1966 when they began operating Nelson Flag...
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Posted December 15, 2005



Frank Lloyd Wright Cardboard House Model

Frank Lloyd Wright house model featured in Life magazine, 1938. (Museum object #2005.133.1) In 1938 Life magazine invited notable architects to design "dream homes" for four American families, each at a different income level. Each family was assigned two architects,...
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Posted November 3, 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



"Broken Star" 4-H State Fair Quilt

"Broken Star" quilt made from flour and feed sacks for a 4-H project, 1931. (Museum object #2005.115.1) Elda Strahm, a farm girl from York Township in Green County, Wisconsin, made this quilt as part of a 4-H project when she...
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Posted August 4, 2005



Frank Lloyd Wright Furniture

Chest of drawers with mirror designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for commercial market, c. 1955. (Museum object #1995.2.2.1-2) Built by the Heritage-Henredon Furniture Industries of Morganton, North Carolina, this Frank Lloyd Wright designed chest of drawers with mirror dates to...
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Posted June 2, 2005



Norwegian Trinket Box

Trinket box brought to Wisconsin by Norwegian immigrants, c. 1870. (Museum object #1993.6.2) According to family history, Ole Olsen Kalvestrand received this trinket box from his father, who originally constructed it in 1794. His father intricately carved the front, top,...
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Posted May 12, 2005



Home Childbirth Training Kit

"Miniature Home Delivery Kit" used to instruct expectant mothers by the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, c. 1938. (Museum object #1995.6.1-51) While removing obsolete debris from the basement of the Wisconsin Bureau of Maternal and Child Health building in...
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Posted May 5, 2005



Multi-Purpose Food from Fallout Shelter

Multi-Purpose Food from Cold War fallout shelter in Racine, Wisconsin, 1960. (Museum object #1996.81.81) Paul and Edith Sobel purchased this and several other cans of Multi-Purpose Food (MPF) to help stock the fallout shelter they installed in their new ranch-style...
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Posted April 14, 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



Ukrainian Decorated Egg

Pysanky Ukrainian Easter egg decorated by Wisconsin artist Betty Pisio Christenson, 1980s. (Museum object #1996.118.356) This chicken egg is an example of pysanky, an intricately decorated Ukrainian Easter egg. The artist was Betty Pisio Christenson, of Suring, Wisconsin. Her parents...
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Posted March 24, 2005



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