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Curators' Favorites: Kids

1957 Soap Box Derby Racer

"Soap box" coaster car operated by Van Steiner in the All-American Soap Box Derby in 1957. (Museum object # 2009.56.1) This "soap box" coaster car was built and raced by 15-year-old Van Steiner of Argyle, Wisconsin, in the spring and...
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Posted August 31, 2009



Southern Colonial Dollhouse

Southern Colonial dollhouse handmade and furnished by Ann Little of Columbus, Wisconsin, 1976-1977. (Museum object #2007.191.1) A dream house in miniature. That is how the maker of this intricate masterpiece, Ann Little, referred to her nine room Southern Colonial style...
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Posted November 20, 2008



Soap Box Derby Racer

Engineless "soap box" car operated by Phil Lenhart in Madison's Soap Box Derby, 1950-1952. (Museum object #1982.173.1) Soap Box Derby racing was a favorite pastime for many boys in the 1950s and 1960s. Every summer, boys aged 11 to 15...
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Posted July 17, 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



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



World Famous Duncan Butterfly Yo-Yo

Duncan Butterfly yo-yo manufactured by the Flambeau Corporation, Baraboo, Wisconsin, 1988-1995. (Museum object #2001.83.13) Did you know that one of the world's most famous toys, the Duncan yo-yo, was produced in Wisconsin for most of its existence? The Duncan Company,...
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Posted March 29, 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



Madison Style Ice Boat Model

Madison Style ice boat model built by the Bernard family, c. 1917, rebuilt 1977. (Museum object #1983.292) This miniature ice boat was originally built in Madison, Wisconsin about 1916-1917 by a member of the Bernard family. Museum records indicate the...
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Posted January 18, 2007



Boy's Dress

Dress worn by John Kiser as a child near Oregon, Wisconsin, c. 1856. (Museum object #1950.5744) John Bonsack Kiser grew up on a farm near Oregon, just south of Madison in Dane County, Wisconsin. Born on May 2, 1855, he...
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Posted January 4, 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



World War II Airplane ID model

Airplane identification model constructed by junior high school students in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1942. (Museum object #1966.298.34) "Friend or foe?" One of the many questions on the concerned minds of Americans following the December 7, 1941 attack by the Japanese on...
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Posted December 7, 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



Mirro Sno-Coaster: Cold Weather (and Cold War) Fun

Mirro Sno-Coaster sled manufactured by Aluminum Goods Manufacturing Co. of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, 1955. (Museum object #2006.2.1) In 1954 the Aluminum Goods Manufacturing Company of Manitowoc, Wisconsin was the largest manufacturer of aluminum cookware in the United States. Yet its size...
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Posted January 26, 2006



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



Milwaukee Orphanage Shirt

Shirt given to a child leaving St. Joseph Orphanage, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, c. 1920. (Museum object #2005.82.1) Around 1920, the St. Joseph Orphanage in Milwaukee sent seven-year-old Frank D. Drewezicki to another orphanage in Marinette, Wisconsin. Before leaving, the staff at...
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Posted December 8, 2005



Alice in Dairyland Dress Model

Winning entry for the first Alice in Dairyland dress design, 1948. (Museum object #2005.157.1) On June 28, 1948, the Wisconsin Centennial Dairy Committee informed Miss Betty Lou Jahn of Milwaukee, the maker of the model dress seen to the left...
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Posted December 1, 2005



Ho-Chunk Beaded Reebok Baby Shoes

Reebok baby shoes beaded by Ho-Chunk artist Linda Lucero, c. 1990. (Museum object #1993.102A-B) Ho-Chunk artist Linda Lucero of Black River Falls, Wisconsin, modified this pair of Reebok baby shoes by attaching glass beads. Linda is a Ho-Chunk beadworker using...
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Posted October 6, 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



Big Boy

Trade figure from the Big Boy restaurant on South Park Street, Madison, Wisconsin, 1971-1985. (Museum object #1993.52) In 1932, scientists at Owens-Illinois Glass Company discovered a way to make glass fibers in commercial quantities and began marketing the material as...
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Posted January 31, 2005



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