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Curators' Favorites

Curators' Favorites offer you an in-depth look at over 200 selected artifacts from the Wisconsin Historical Museum. These objects were selected by museum curators because of the fascinating stories they tell about Wisconsin history. Each entry features a photograph of the object, a short essay, and supplementary images to help illustrate the object's history. This gives you an opportunity to quickly learn about the story of each object and the historical context that makes it significant.

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Butch Vig's Original Drum Set

Posted on October 03, 2012

Drum kit used by Viroqua, Wisconsin, native Butch Vig when he played with the bands Spooner, Fire Town, and the Grammy-nominated Garbage.
(Museum Object #2011.67.1.1-.6)

When the Beatles performed on the February 9, 1964, "Ed Sullivan Show," teenage girls in the studio swooned and those at home went crazy with excitement. Adolescent boys, however, couldn't keep their eyes off band member Ringo Starr's Ludwig drum kit with the oyster black pearl finish. Soon after the Be ...

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Recent Objects Featured in Curators' Favorites

Schlitz 'Sunshine Vitamin D Beer Can'

Posted April 2, 2012: Schlitz "Sunshine Vitamin D" Beer Can featuring Continental Can Co.'s new crown top design, 1936. (Museum Object 2011.77.1) This can of Schlitz "Sunshine Vitamin D" beer, documents the American fascination with vitamins that began shortly after they were discovered in...

Civil War Governor Harvey's Knife

Posted September 21, 2011: Pocket knife found on the corpse of Wisconsin Governor Louis P. Harvey after he drowned in the Tennessee River on April 19, 1862. (Museum object #1969.4) Louis P. Harvey had been the Governor of Wisconsin for only a month when...

1957 Soap Box Derby Racer

Posted August 31, 2009: "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...

Oscar Mayer Wiener Banjo-Ukulele

Posted August 12, 2009: Banjo-ukulele used by jingle composer Richard Trentlage in the first recording of the Oscar Mayer Wiener Song, 1962. (Museum object #2009.59.1) Were it not for the words written on its surface, this banjo-ukulele, an easy-to-play, handy instrument, probably wouldn't arouse...

Caine Mutiny Costume

Posted April 6, 2009: Naval uniform costume worn by actor Fred MacMurray in the 1954 motion picture "The Caine Mutiny." (Museum object #2009.19.1) Native of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, movie star Fred MacMurray made his fame and fortune playing nice guys in motion picture comedies...

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