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.

OBJECT HISTORY: Nash Car

By the beginning of the twentieth century, horses and wagons were quickly giving way to new horseless carriages, or automobiles—and the landscape of Wisconsin’s towns and roadways began to change as well. Wagon shops, once part of one of the largest industries in Wisconsin, began making automobile parts instead. By 1925, motor vehicle manufacture had…

OBJECT HISTORY: Le Maire Sundial

The Le Maire Sundial is a rare example of a mid-18th century French sundial (cadran solaire) compass (boussole). It was found near Green Bay in 1902 by a local antiquities collector, Frank Duchateau. The sundial is broken, missing its glass compass cover as well as the back of its gnomon holder. Located on the front surface,…

OBJECT HISTORY: The SS Meteor

The SS Meteor was launched as the SS Frank Rockefeller in Superior, Wisconsin by the American Steel Barge Company in 1896. The last remaining of only 44 “whaleback” ships ever built, she was designed by a Scottish immigrant named Alexander McDougall. She is 380 feet long, 45 feet wide and 26 feet deep. You may notice that the SS Meteor looks somewhat different…