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Curators' Favorites: Sports & Recreation

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



African American Bowling Shirt

Bowling shirt designed, made and worn by Earlene Fuller of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, c. 1995. (Museum object #2008.176.5) The sport of bowling has deep roots in the Midwest and Wisconsin, but it is not usually associated with African Americans. The sport...
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Posted December 11, 2008



Wonder Spot "Book" Sign

Wonder Spot "Book" sign that greeted thousands of visitors to the beloved Wonder Spot attraction in the Wisconsin Dells area, c. 1990. (Museum Object #2007.142.8) This sign welcomed tourists to the cabin at the Wonder Spot attraction in Lake Delton,...
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Posted October 23, 2008



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



Lottery Ball Drawing Machine

Ball drawing machine used by the Wisconsin Lottery for Daily Pick 3 and Daily Pick 4 games, 1992-2000. (Museum object #2001.83.16.1A-B) How can politicians raise money for the ever-increasing costs of public services without extracting it from voters by continually...
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Posted September 11, 2008



Giant Punt Gun

Punt gun used to hunt waterfowl on Lake Mendota, Madison, Wisconsin, c. 1866-1870. (Museum object #1947.1743) Talk about bang for the buck! (Or should that be that "bang for the duck"?) Made by August Herfurth of Madison, Wisconsin, this jumbo...
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Posted August 14, 2008



Indian Clubs for Physical Exercise

Weighted wooden Indian clubs used for light exercise in the Women's Physical Education Department of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, c. 1900. (Museum object #1994.108.1-2) America's obsession with physical fitness is not a modern fascination. In fact, it began...
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Posted August 7, 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



Jose Canseco Baseball Card

Baseball card featuring Jose Canseco of the Madison Muskies, published by Larry Fritsch Cards, Inc. of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, 1983. (Museum object #1984.156.13) Well before achieving fame for his power hitting and use of anabolic steroids, Jose Canseco played for...
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Posted March 20, 2008



World Series Welcome Sign

"Welcome" sign used to decorate lamp posts in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin during the 1957 World Series. (Museum object #2007.68.1) Henry Aaron's 10th inning home run on September 23, 1957 defeated the St. Louis Cardinals and propelled the Milwaukee Braves into...
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Posted October 4, 2007



British Open Golf Glove

Golf glove worn by Sherri Steinhauer of Madison, Wisconsin to win the 2006 Weetabix Women's British Open, August 3-6, 2006. (Museum object #2007.81.2) As she removed this glove from her hand after chipping out of a greenside bunker at the...
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Posted August 2, 2007



Donald's "Educational" Marbles

Jar of marbles used in Wisconsin fair exhibits by Professor John Sweet Donald of the University of Wisconsin during the 1920s. (Museum object #1953.663) While today people tend to flock to the Wisconsin State Fair for attractions like rides, animals,...
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Posted July 26, 2007



Campers' Wash-Up Kit

Wash-Up Kit made by the Bay West Company in Green Bay, Wisconsin and distributed by the Yankee Paper and Specialty Co. of Menasha, Wisconsin in the 1920s. (Museum object #1998.6.2) "Are we there yet?" may well have been one of...
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Posted July 5, 2007



UW Union Terrace Sunburst Chair

Deauville-style chair used at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Memorial Union Terrace on Lake Mendota, 1930s. (Museum object #1982.271.9) When the University of Wisconsin's Memorial Union first opened on the shore of Madison's Lake Mendota on October 5, 1928, it was...
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Posted May 24, 2007



Suzy Favor Hamilton's Olympic Track Shoes

Pair of Nike running spikes worn by Suzy Favor Hamilton during the 2000 track season. (Museum object #2006.110.1A-B) Born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin in 1968, Suzy Favor Hamilton became one of the greatest all time middle-distance women track runners in...
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Posted April 12, 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



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



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



Milwaukee Braves Baseball Jersey

Road jersey worn by Milwaukee Braves first baseman Joe Adcock in 1957. (Museum object #2006.68.1) For most of the 1950s, the Milwaukee Braves were consistently one of the best teams in the National League. One reason was slugging first baseman...
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Posted October 19, 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



Early Two-Piece Bathing Suit

Two-piece bathing suit worn by Lois Nelson of Racine, Wisconsin, c. 1947. (Museum object #2003.113.6A-B) More than a decade before Brian Hyland belted out his 1960 ode to the famous “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” Racine, Wisconsin...
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Posted August 24, 2006



Nash Ambassador Automobile

1948 Ambassador sedan, manufactured by the Nash Motors Division of the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation, Kenosha, Wisconsin, 1947-1948. (Museum object #1992.156) The Ambassador was the Nash Motors Company's top of the line model in 1948. This model 4868 four door sedan sports...
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Posted August 3, 2006



Harley-Davidson Knucklehead

1941 Model FL motorcycle manufactured by the Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1941. (Museum object #2003.19.1) The FL was Harley-Davidson's first modern "heavyweight" motorcycle. Introduced in 1941, the FL featured the high compression version of the company's first 74-cubic-inch overhead...
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Posted July 20, 2006



Elto Cub Outboard Motor

Elto Cub outboard motor manufactured by the Evinrude Motors Division of Outboard Marine and Manufacturing Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1939. (Museum object #1997.35.3) Produced for only two years, the Elto Cub is an interesting sidelight to the venerable history of the...
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Posted July 6, 2006



Anti-spearfishing Concrete Walleye Decoy

Concrete walleye decoy purchased at PARR Rally in Minocqua, Wisconsin, April 15, 1989. (Museum object #1990.178.1) In the spring of 1989, tensions over Native American off-reservation spearfishing rights reached a boiling point in northern Wisconsin. Anti-spearfishing organizations encouraged the design...
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Posted May 18, 2006



1930s UW Gym Suit

University of Wisconsin student gym suit worn by George Williams, 1933-1934. (Museum object #2005.144.1.1-2) In the midst of the Depression, George Williams of Sugar Grove (Vernon County), Wisconsin managed to attend the University of Wisconsin in Madison during the 1933-1934...
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Posted April 13, 2006



Wooden Curling Stone

Wooden curling stone used near Lodi, Wisconsin in the 19th century. (Museum object #1957.205) When is a stone not a stone? When it’s wood! This wooden curling stone was used between about 1850 and 1880 on a frozen stretch of...
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Posted February 23, 2006



FitzRandolph World Cup Racing Skin

Casey FitzRandolph’s racing skin worn during the 2003-2004 World Cup speed skating events. (Museum object #2005.146.1) While watching long-track speed skaters during the 2002 Olympics, commentator Bob Costas wondered why Wisconsin dominated the sport and concluded, "It must be the...
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Posted February 9, 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



Ojibwe Winter Spearfishing Decoy

Sturgeon decoy carved and painted by Ojibwe artist John V. Snow. (Museum Object #1996.118.106A-B) John V. Snow, a member of the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe, carved and painted this wooden spearfishing decoy to resemble a sturgeon. Ojibwe fishers use a...
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Posted January 19, 2006



Deer Hide Jacket

Deer hide jacket of Ruel Garnich Baldwin, c. 1915. (Museum object #2005.147.1) Like many young men living in Ashland, Wisconsin, Ruel Garnich Baldwin (1893-1978) participated in the yearly hunting season. Sometime between 1913 and 1916 he had the hides from...
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Posted November 17, 2005



Milwaukee Braves World Series Bat

Baseball bat issued to Milwaukee Braves second baseman Red Schoendienst for the 1957 World Series. (Museum object #2005.128.1) The Milwaukee Braves were already a very good baseball team when Albert "Red" Schoendienst joined them in June of 1957. Featuring future...
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Posted October 20, 2005



Pioneering Carbon Fiber Trek Bicycle

Model 2500 bonded carbon/aluminum racing bicycle, made by the Trek Bicycle Corporation, Waterloo, Wisconsin in 1988. (Museum object # 2005.135.1) The Model 2500 is a pivotal bicycle in the Trek Bicycle Corporation’s development of carbon fiber technology. Headquartered in Waterloo,...
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Posted September 15, 2005



Brett Favre's Packers Jersey

Green Bay Packers football jersey worn by Brett Favre during game against Chicago Bears, January 2, 2005. (Museum object #2005.83.1) Just a week after the passing of Reggie White, his former teammate and friend, Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre...
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Posted September 8, 2005



Aqualand Water Ski

Water ski used at Camp Timberlane for Boys in Northern Wisconsin, 1962. (Museum object #2003.115.1) Aqualand Manufacturing Company of Woodruff, Wisconsin, began making wooden water skis in 1961 and often sent their products to nearby Camp Timberlane for Boys for...
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Posted July 21, 2005



Wittenberg Grays Baseball Uniform

Baseball uniform worn by William Gates, second baseman for the Wittenberg Grays in the early 1920s. (Museum object #1975.90A-B) In the late nineteenth century, many small Wisconsin towns fielded baseball teams to compete with those of surrounding communities for fun...
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Posted March 3, 2005



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