OBJECT HISTORY: Pasty

The lead mining industry of the 1830s and 1840s brought miners from Cornwall, England to southwestern Wisconsin. The miners brought Cornish traditions like the pasty, a filling food for hungry miners. The availability of pasties today demonstrates the lasting traditions of early European immigrants in Wisconsin. Pasties are folded pastries filled with meat and vegetables.…

OBJECT HISTORY: Fiddle

As the lumber industry flourished in Wisconsin beginning in the 1840s, immigrants from all over Europe and Canada came to live and work in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. All winter, men called lumberjacks would cut down pine trees, preparing the timber to be used as building material, or sometimes to be turned into pulp or…

Increase Lapham and the Founding of the United States Weather Bureau

As immigration to Wisconsin swelled in the 1840s, so, too, did the state’s scientific and technological community, with innovations across industries ranging from agriculture and manufacturing to geology and environmental studies. Among Wisconsin’s first “pioneer …

OBJECT HISTORY: Slate

Before chromebooks, iPads, and even lined paper, students still had to complete their assignments. In the past, students did most their schoolwork on a slate. A slate is a small, rectangular blackboard made from slate stone. They had two sides and the edges were wrapped in leather or wood to protect students’ hands. In the…

OBJECT HISTORY: Galena

Galena, the official state mineral of Wisconsin, is the raw material used to produce lead. During the Wisconsin “lead rush” of the 1820s-40s, lead was more valuable than gold. That is because just about everybody, rich or poor, used objects made of lead in their daily lives ­­– products that ranged from plumbing to toothpaste!…