OBJECT HISTORY: Plank Roads

Before the 1850s, Wisconsin did not have roads, at least not ones you would recognize. As more people moved to Wisconsin, settlers cut thick prairies and forests into roads, but these were just dirt paths that were often quite muddy. As a solution, Wisconsinites decided to build plank roads which had a lot of advantages over the dirt ones.

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OBJECT HISTORY: Madison-Style Ice Boat Model

This miniature ice boat was originally built in Madison, Wisconsin about 1916-1917 by a member of the Bernard family. Carl Bernard grew up in the culture of ice boating and began making models of them at a young age. Creating models helped the Bernards try new innovative building techniques and were also raced for fun.

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OBJECT HISTORY: Lifesaving Medal

All along Wisconsin’s 820 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, storms could mean the difference between profit and financial ruin, survival and terrifying death. This lifesaving medal reminds us of the risks that sailors and Wisconsin’s maritime communities have routinely faced since the early 19th century, and it documents the personal bravery, dedication, and ingenuity of those who would rescue their fellows…

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OBJECT HISTORY: Cherryland T-Shirt

In 1927, Marilyn Färdig’s grandparents, Andrew and Esther Färdig, purchased twenty acres of land in Ephraim, Image courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society. Image ID: 79142. Wisconsin, and started a cherry orchard. With the help of their seven children and workers from a variety of locations, including the southern United States, Mexico, and Jamaica, Andrew…

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