Page 6 - March-April 2012 | Columns Newsletter | Wisconsin Historical Society
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Local History

                                      Collections Highlight

                                      The Skare Collection at the McFarland Historical Society

A round wooden box with lid from the  IN 1942 the Wisconsin Magazine of History               moved it to the Society’s property on McFarland’s
Skare Collection                      wrote: “Museum curators and antique collectors          Main Street.
                                      have figuratively gone mad over the treasures that
                                      Albert Skare has housed in his ‘Hidden Farm’               Highlights from Skare’s extensive collection
                                      log cabin museum near McFarland.” Born in               can now be viewed online thanks to a
                                      McFarland in 1878 to Norwegian immigrant                collaboration of the McFarland Historical
                                      parents, Albert Skare began assembling a collection     Society, Wisconsin Heritage Online and the
                                      of Norwegian and Norwegian-American artifacts           University of Wisconsin-Madison. In summer
                                      sometime in the early 20th century. In addition         2011 the UW’s material culture program paired
                                      to bentwood boxes, hand-carved spoons, turned           three undergraduate students with three local
                                      wooden bowls and other examples of folk art             historical societies to help them build digital
                                      brought to Wisconsin by Norwegian immigrants,           resources. History major Katie Dreps worked
                                      he collected farming equipment, tools, kitchen          with McFarland Historical Society President Dale
                                      implements and other artifacts of daily life in         Marsden and other society volunteers to select,
                                      rural Wisconsin used by his family members and          research and catalog examples of the household
                                      other Norwegian-American families in the area.          goods and folk art in the Skare collection. Katie’s
                                                                                              own Norwegian heritage inspired her to learn
                                         Following Skare’s death in 1967, his niece           more about these objects: “My grandmother grew
                                      Margaret Greene Kennedy donated the entire              up on a farm outside of Lodi, the granddaughter
                                      collection of more than 1,000 objects to                of Norwegian immigrants. … This internship has
                                      the McFarland Historical Society. In 1973               been a great opportunity for me to connect with
                                      McFarland Historical Society volunteers                 my Norwegian heritage in a direct way.”
                                      disassembled the log cabin that was once at the
                                      heart of Skare’s “Hidden Farm” museum and                  View selections from the Skare collection
                                                                                              online at http://content.mpl.org/mcfarland. •

                                      2012 Local History Conference Adds Town Square
                                      Exhibit Space

                                      The annual Local History and Historic                   for displays. In deciding to provide this area,
                                      Preservation Conference, September 28–29, will          Sonja Ivanovich, Administrative Committee
                                      convene in Madison at the Sheraton Madison              president, commented: “Our board felt that there
                                      Hotel this year and will have a special new             are so many of our affiliates that are doing so
                                      feature of interest to local historical societies.      many wonderfully creative projects and activities,
                                      The Wisconsin Council of Local History is               that we need to provide a venue that encourages
                                      sponsoring a Town Square area in the Inspiration        them to publicly show conference attendees
                                      Ballroom that will provide table display space          their significance. This area will also provide
                                      for any interested affiliated society at no charge.     an opportunity for learning, networking and
                                      The council’s Administrative Committee decided          exploring ideas that will help organizations grow.”
                                      to offer this opportunity to encourage local
                                      organizations to prepare displays of their activities,     Space is limited and available on a first-come,
                                      showcase any special projects or awards, display        first-served basis. More information will be
                                      products, and in general do some “bragging”             available as the conference dates draw near. Any
                                      about their local historical organization.              member organization interested in reserving a
                                                                                              table should contact either Roy Ostenso, council
                                         The area will allow for conference attendees         member-at-large, at ostensor@sbcglobal.net or
                                      to gather for refreshment breaks and general            by phone at (715) 505-1110 or Terry Thiessen,
                                      networking opportunities to learn more about            council vice president, at tethiessen@frontier.
                                      the various organizations that are using the space      com or by phone at (920) 948-7748. •

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