Sam Gee is a doctoral student in the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought. He grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in history and religious studies.

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a close up of a babcock ice cream carton

OBJECT HISTORY: Babcock Ice Cream Carton

Ice cream has been a delicacy for hundreds of years, but in the last century, Wisconsin has come to be considered home to some of the world’s best ice cream. Babcock Hall, established in 1951, has contributed to this reputation, establishing ice cream as a symbol both of Wisconsin’s dairy farming past and its appeal as a summer destination for tourists from around the world.

a close up of a trade blanket


This blanket, ordinary though it may seem, tells the story of an important meeting of cultures that occurred in Wisconsin between 1634 and 1763.