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Top 10 Objects Acquired for the State History Collection

From Paul Bourcier, Chief Curator of the Museum

Dining Chair, 2004.10.1a-c

Dining Chair, 2004.10.1a-c
Designed c. 1937 by Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) for the dining room of Taliesin West. The chair resided in Taliesin West until the furniture was replaced. It was then used in the Wisconsin cabin of James Lloyd Jones. Later, the cabin was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. John R. Howe and the chair was reupholstered by Mrs. Howe.
Donated with a matching ottoman by Lu Sparks Howe.

Given Wright's importance in the history of architecture and design and the fact that Wisconsin was his home, Wright furnishings have a special place in the museum's collections. The chair and ottoman join several other Museum pieces in documenting the products of Wright's designs.

Fair Ribbon Quilt, 2004.12.1

Fair Ribbon Quilt, 2004.12.1
Made by the donor's great aunt Elizabeth (Meibohn) Milward, of Madison from about 250 ribbons won by Elizabeth's husband William Henry Milward for his fruits, flowers, and poultry between 1908 and 1934. Several ribbons are from the Wisconsin State Fair, others are from agricultural fairs around the state (including Sheboygan, Madison, Milwaukee, and Fort Atkinson) and from around the Midwest (including the Chicago 1933 World's Fair). The Milwards owned the Coney Weston Farm on Odana Road. In January 1935 The Capital Times featured an Angus McVicar photograph of William Milward with the quilt. The quilt was exhibited at the Adult Hobby show in the YMCA on January 18, 1935.
Donated by Charlotte Larsen.

This artifact is extremely interesting, not only from the standpoint of quilt design, but also as documentation of regional agricultural fairs of the early 20th century.

Electric Drink Mixer, 2004.18.1a-b

Electric Drink Mixer, 2004.18.1a-b
Manufactured by Wisconsin Electric Co. of Racine between 1921 and 1928. The word "Horlick's" on its base refers to the Horlick's Malted Milk Co. of Racine, though the nature of the business relationship between the companies is unknown. Wisconsin Electric was founded in 1913 by Chester Beach and Louis Hamilton, who had previously helped found the Hamilton Beach Manufacturing Co. of Racine. According to legend, Hamilton Beach developed the first practical electric drink mixer in 1911 at the urging of William Horlick. Hamilton and Beach may have approached Horlick with a joint promotional venture.
Purchased.

The object helps document one of Wisconsin's many contributions to national culture — the related inventions of the electric mixer and the malted, as well as the relationship between noteworthy Racine manufacturers Horlick, Hamilton and Beach. This mixer is also an early product of Wisconsin's significant small appliance industry.

Sash, 2004.22.2

Sash, 2004.22.2
Worn by noted suffragist and peace activist Jessie Annette (Jack) Hooper (1865-1935) of Oshkosh, who served as recording secretary of the National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War. The Committee held an annual conference most years from 1925 through 1940, and Hooper was the chair of the Committee delegation that took petitions to the World Disarmament Conference at Geneva in 1932. Hooper may have worn this sash to one or more of these conferences between 1925 and 1935.
Donated by Lois Van Valkenburgh (transfer from Archives)

This artifact is associated not only with a significant Wisconsin suffragist, but also with the important efforts of Wisconsinites in peace activism in the early 20th century.

Top Hat, 2004.28.1.1

Top Hat, 2004.28.1.1
Worn by Francis Edward McGovern (1866-1946) at his inauguration as Wisconsin governor in 1911.
Donated by James H. van Wagenen

The museum received not only the hat, but also the frock coat and cane used by McGovern at his inauguration. These items join a small collection of clothing associated with the ceremonies and balls held in honor of the installation of the state's governors.

Seder Plate, 2004.35.1

Seder Plate, 2004.35.1
Used in the 1960s by the Norton and Lois Stoler family of Madison to help celebrate Passover.
Donated by Lois Stoler.

The museum acquired this plate after hosting the traveling exhibition, "Unpacking on the Prairie: Jewish Women in the Upper Midwest." The exhibition focused attention on documenting Wisconsin Jewish history.

Blanket, 2004.60.1

Blanket, 2004.60.1
Designed by renowned Ho-Chunk artist Truman Lowe beginning in November 2002 to honor the September 21, 2004, opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. The blanket design is based on the applique ribbonwork patterns of Lowe's mother, Mabel Davis Lowe, and is titled "Sauninga" ("The Shining One" in Ho-Chunk), which was Mabel Davis Lowe's given Indian name. The blanket was manufactured in 2003 by Pendleton Woolen Mills of Portland, Oregon, which called this a "Ribbon Robe," product #ZR495-50579. It was one of 1,000 produced in the "Special Charter Member Edition." Pendleton was the first U.S. manufacturer to specialize in American Indian blankets, and the only one producing them after World War II. Today, Native Americans account for more than 50 percent of all trade blanket purchases in the U.S.
Donated by Robert A. Birmingham.

The design of this blanket not only represents the work of a well-known Ho-Chunk artist, but also draws its inspiration from the designs of a ribbon artist whose work is already in the Museum's collection.

Cheese Kettle, 2004.64.1

Cheese Kettle, 2004.64.1
Made by D. Picking & Co. of Bucyrus, Ohio, and used by donor's parents, Ernest Albert and Hulda Hilfiker, to make Swiss cheese. Ernest and Hulda owned and operated the Tuscobia cheese factory north of Rice Lake, Wisconsin, from 1942 to 1984. Ernest was born in Boswil, Switzerland, and emigrated to the United States in 1924. He operated several cheese factories in Monroe, Wisconsin, before buying the Tuscobia plant in 1942.
Donated by Mary Hilfiker.

This kettle documents the contributions of immigrants to Wisconsin's culture and cuisine. It also embodies a time when every village in Wisconsin had its own cheese factory, producing small batches of cheese from local milk. Given the importance of the cheese industry in the state, this artifact is an important addition to the collection.

Wedding Suit, 2004.97.1a-b

Wedding Suit, 2004.97.1a-b
Worn by donor's maternal grandmother Emma (Ketel) Gallagher at her wedding on September 4, 1901, in Neillsville, Wisconsin. Emma was born August 1873, probably in Neillsville, the daughter of William Ketel, a stone mason, and Matilda Miller/Mueller. Emma married David Gallagher, a lumberman. The donor describes them as extremely poor. In the 1900 census Emma and her mother were both listed as seamstresses, so they would have made the dress.
Donated by Jean Ellarson.

Many of the wedding garments in the museum's collection were worn by middle-class women, but this one was worn by someone considered to be poor. The Museum also has examples of the bride's embroidery (the making of which supplemented her husband's income), a price sample piece, and a photograph of her at work on her embroidery.

Bronze Plaque, 2004.119.1

Bronze Plaque, 2004.119.1
Designed by nationally known sculptor Rene Paul Chambellan (1893-1955) and made c. 1946-47 for the Ripon Knitting Works of Ripon, Wisconsin. The plaque was made to commemorate the plant's earning the Army-Navy "E" award for excellence in war production during World War II.
Purchased.

The plaque's low-relief Art Deco design shows an array of ships, planes, armaments, factories, and farms that epitomize the "arsenal of democracy" image prevalent during World War II. More specifically, the plaque demonstrates the important contributions of small-town Wisconsin residents to the United States' successful war effort.

 

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