The Neville Public Museum

The Neville Blog

Civil War Era Flag Returns

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
After months of conservation work this Civil War era flag is ready for exhibit! This important piece of Brown County history is more than 12 feet long and 8 feet high.

Flag Conservation
This flag has been at the museum since 1934. When we identified it for exhibit use last year it was clear the 157 year old flag needed some care. There was extensive shredding and areas of loss that made it difficult to exhibit and care for. To exhibit the flag safely, while also considering preservation, the piece needed conservation. A highly trained specialist worked on the flag. They supported the flag by hand stitching nylon tulle around the stripes to stabilize the fabric.

How Did We Identified the Flag?
This flag is believed to be the last flag to fly over Fort Howard. We were able to confirm this by putting together clues from different sources.
  • First was the writing on the upper left hand star: "From Major Shaylor, Old Fort Howard during the War, 1865."
  • Second, is an excerpt from History of Brown County by Deborah Martin that re-caps an event that took place at the Fort Howard in 1861. Martin mentions Mattie Underwood as the maker of the flag which matches the name in museum records. Martin also mentions Major Shaylor as “the venerable custodian of this ancient stronghold"-the same name on the flag.
  • Third is the style of the flag. The 34 stars represent the 34 states of the Union from 1861 to 1865 under President Abraham Lincoln. This canton design is in the “The Great Star” style. This pattern was used in the 1800s but died out after the Civil War. All these clues provided enough information to confirm this is the Fort Howard flag. 



What is Fort Howard? (Hint: Not a paper company)

The U.S. Army arrived on the shores of the Fox River in August 1816, two years before Brown County became a county. They established Fort Howard, changing the dynamic of the community and influencing what it is today. Fort Howard operated until 1852 when it was de-commissioned. In the following years a volunteer infantry used the site under the care of Major Shaylor. On May 3, 1861 President Lincoln made a speech calling for volunteers to join the Union Army. On May 18th, people of Green Bay and the surrounding areas put together a special event at Fort Howard. It supported Lincoln’s call and included the raising of this impressive flag. During the Civil War soldiers trained at Fort Howard before leaving for the South. Eventually, Chicago & North Western Railroad bought the land and the buildings were officially de-commissioned in 1872.

Ready for Exhibit
After all of this work on the flag and research we’re ready to share the flag with you! This remarkable artifact will be a centerpiece in the upcoming exhibit Our Brown County. Experience it for yourself starting May 29th!

Lisa Kain
Curator

Green Bay's Titanic Ties are Unsinkable

Thursday, April 12, 2018
On April 14, 1912 the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic. It sank less than three hours later in the early morning of April 15, 1912.  The sinking of the RMS Titanic 106 years ago may feel distant in time and place but Green Bay has deep connections to the disaster. 

Dr. William E. Minahan, who died on the Titanic, is buried in a crypt in Woodlawn Cemetery, visible from Riverside Drive.  Dr. Minahan was traveling home from Europe with his wife, Lillian, and sister, Daisy after an extended vacation abroad.  The Minahans had planned on sailing home sooner but a coal strike prevented their intended ship from leaving.  They thought they were lucky having been able to book first class tickets on Titanic, but history would prove otherwise.

On the night of the sinking, Dr. Minahan put his wife and sister into a lifeboat telling his wife, “Be brave.  No matter what happens, be brave.”  Those were Dr. Minahan’s final words.  His family received news on April 27, 1912 that Dr. Minahan’s body, one of only 340 of the nearly 1500 that perished, had been recovered.  

Dr. W.E. Minahan had many siblings, some of whom lived in Green Bay.  You may recognize the Minahan name; the Minahan-McCormick Building, owned by W.E.’s brother John, was a prominent Downtown Green Bay building until it was razed in 1984.  Another brother, Robert, was also a physician in Green Bay.  Sister Daisy, who survived the Titanic, was a popular school teacher in Green Bay.  

Much lore surrounds Dr. Minahan’s voyage and death on the Titanic.  Before their trip abroad, it's said that a fortune teller told him he would die on his second trip to Europe, a prediction he took seriously enough to buy a larger life insurance policy.  Decades later, in August of 1987, the family would again be struck by tragedy.  Dr. Minahan’s crypt in Woodlawn Cemetery was robbed.  

The next time you're in Green Bay driving down Minahan St. or past where the Minahan Building once stood, take a moment to remember Green Bay's personal connection to one of the great tragedies of the twentieth century.


Broad, William J. (2012, April 14). Experts Split on Possibility of Remains at Titanic Site. The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/science/titanic-may-hold-passengers-remains-officials-say.html

Gores, Stan (1968, April 12). Led Wife and Sister to Safety; Dr. Minahan Stayed on Titanic. Fond du Lac Commonwealth Reporter.

Scarborough, Mark (1998, April 18). Family here got news of ships sinking.  The Daily Tribune, p. 3A. 

Tianen, Dave. (1986, September 14). Lesson in humility. Green Bay Press Gazette, Scene-5.

Pedro Finally Lands

Wednesday, April 11, 2018
It is the Neville Museum that is the ultimate home for Pedro the Pelican.

First conceptualized in 2015, this mural idea has spent the last few years intent on finding a prime location to tell its story. Pedro, now at the Neville, will be near his family and friends who cruise the Fox River in first-class style.

Pedro was inspired by; you guessed it, the AMAZING Pelicans that have been popping up all over. Out of nowhere these huge animals started populating the Fox River corridor in Green Bay, but why? Remediation efforts taking place along the Fox have changed our ecosystem. First it was micro-organisms then small animal marine life, and then the small fish populations began increasing. Now we have top predators patrolling these waters. These pelicans aren't just passing through. We have large numbers of nesting pairs who regularly return to Green Bay to start their families.  

Pedro is a celebration of our remediation efforts and Green Bay's new relationship with the Fox River and its tributaries.  The Fox River facilitates our international businesses and is also an interwoven biological habitat for thousands of animals and plants.  The Fox River is at the base of the world’s largest fresh water estuary making it an extraordinarily unique and precious ecosystem. 

We also recognize the Fox River for its inherent beauty. The most exciting cities in the world embrace their waterways and leverage their beauty to bolster economic prosperity and heightened quality of life.  Green Bay is hot on that path. Not only are we expanding pedestrian trails along the Fox but we are also developing new amenities like kayak launches, parks and bike paths. 

Pedro is accented by immense waves, representing Green Bay's ambitious and dynamic future. As we grow and change new windows of opportunity open. The mural is a reflection of the exciting and dynamic state we now find ourselves in.  

If you've noticed these majestic birds on your way to work or if you're feeling the buzz that is pulsing in Green Bay come check out Pedro the Pelican at the Neville Museum and discover the many great things happening in Green Bay.


Kent Hutchison, Artist

For more information about the Neville's outdoor art visit Art at the Neville!

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Baseball has been America’s pastime since the 1800s and Opening Day remains an annual celebration for many fans across the country. 
The Stiller team playing at the their home field at Bay Beach
Did you know?  Green Bay has its own rich baseball history.  The first club in the area was known as the “Stars” and was organized in 1866.  By the 1920s and 1930s Green Bay had several baseball teams, many of which were connected to well-known local businesses.  Each team had a home field and played on Sunday afternoons.  Games had to be played during the day because electricity wasn’t available at the ballparks.  



One of Green Bay’s teams in the 1920s and 1930s was the Stiller team which was managed, coached, and sponsored by Ernest Stiller (of the Stiller Company).  The Stiller’s star players were the Collard brothers: Arthur (first base), Norb (second base), and Clem (shortstop).  
  This uniform was worn by one of the Collard brothers around 1925 and will be on display in the upcoming exhibit Our Brown County.
Green Bay has remained a baseball city and has been home to many teams like the Green Bay Bluejays, a farm team for the Dodgers in the 1950s and 1960s, and the Green Bay Bullfrogs who have played at Joannes Stadium since 2007.  

Women of Brown County: Eveline Scheckler

Monday, March 26, 2018
African American Settlement in Nineteenth Century Brown County
Eveline Scheckler, an African American woman, lived in De Pere from 1848 until her death in 1871. Though it is not widely known today, in the nineteenth century a small but steadily growing population of African Americans made Northeast Wisconsin their home. Eveline was one member of this community. The number of African Americans living here peaked in the 1890s, and plummeted in the early twentieth century. As a historian, this demographic data identifies a story I really want to understand. I began researching the history of African Americans in Northeast Wisconsin in 2011.

Why did Eveline Scheckler Move to De Pere in 1848?

Eveline first appears in the local historical record in 1850. She lived with Rebecca Schell Loy and David Loy, early white De Pere settlers. The Loys preserved their family papers and donated them to the Neville Public Museum. Eveline appears in them regularly, which allows us knowledge of certain aspects of her life.

In Pennsylvania in 1825, Peter Schell, father of Rebecca, took in the orphaned five-year-old Eveline. Eveline and Rebecca grew up together. When Rebecca married and moved to Wisconsin in 1847, Eveline joined her a year later. The Loy papers indicate that in some ways the Loys saw Eveline as family, but the papers also indicate a far more complicated story. In language evoking a very different status, one Loy identified Eveline as “our colored maid.” Eveline lived with the Loys until her death in 1871, cooking for the family and helping to raise their sons.

 Eveline is buried with the Loy Family at Woodlawn Cemetery in Green Bay.
What don’t we know about Eveline Scheckler?
Numerous aspects of Eveline’s life remain unknown. How was she orphaned; why did she land in the Schell home? Who were her parents; what were their lives? Documentation expanding our knowledge of her early life might exist in Pennsylvania, so some of these questions may be answerable. What will probably never be found are sources giving us Eveline’s own telling of her life story. The primary sources we draw upon to understand the past reflect the American history of white supremacy and injustices. The written sources available to us are influenced by many things. Who can read and write, and thus record their experiences and perspectives? What documents are kept; which are discarded? Which make it into archives and are thus available to researchers like me? In short, whose voices get preserved, and whose voices are misrepresented or omitted? As an African American servant in the mid-nineteenth century, Eveline was one of many people who were unlikely to be able to accurately record their own lives. Our knowledge of Eveline Scheckler comes only from the perspective of those who, though they said they loved her, also ascribed her servile status.


Women’s History Month
Aspects of Eveline’s life illustrate broader elements of African American women’s history. Racism limited the jobs open to free African American women, and directed them disproportionately to domestic work. Northeast Wisconsin was no exception to this phenomenon. In a parallel to Eveline’s experience, many other African American women living here in the nineteenth century worked as servants, washerwomen, seamstresses, milliners, and hairdressers. For more on the life of Eveline visit Our Brown County {1818-2018} opening in May 2018. 

Victoria B. Tashjian
Professor of History
St. Norbert College

Women of Brown County: Alydia Braskamp

Monday, March 19, 2018

What makes someone a hero? Is it their selflessness and empathy? Their instinct to help others? If these are the requirements, Alydia Braskamp exceeded all of these characteristics. She proved her compassion and courage through her service in World War I, working as a nurse under Dr. Bellin, and the creation of the Baby Health Center.

Alydia was born in Alton, Iowa in 1883 and moved to Green Bay in 1917 when she was 34 years old; but she did not stay long. The First World War had started and she was called away to serve with the Red Cross. Alydia was stationed near Bordeaux, France. As a woman in the early 1900s, Alydia was given work as a nurse in an operating room and with ambulances. She also did some field work and documented the experience through a photo album which the Neville cares for as part of the Collection.  The photographs show devastating scenes after attacks, the morgue, ceremonies, and life at the base. In France Alydia assisted the war effort, served those on the battlefront, and documented a critical point in history. She was left with lasting sinus issues caused by sleeping on the dusty ground in France.

 

After being honorably discharged in 1919, Alydia returned to Green Bay and began working as the Assistant Supervisor of Nurses and Instructor as the Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing (now Bellin College). She eventually established the Baby Health Center which provided care for infants and advice for the new mothers in the area. 

The hardship and horrors that Alydia saw during the war made her more determined than ever to provide care and courtesy to the people around her. Her dedication on the field in France carried over to her life in Green Bay.  Alydia spent the rest of her life serving the Green Bay area and improving the quality of life for its residents.  She is just one of the many nurses whose dedication and selflessness have helped shape our community.  

Women of Brown County: Syble Hopp

Monday, March 12, 2018
Syble interviewed for a teaching position with Superintendent of Brown County Schools Joe Donovan in the 1950s. He knew instantly that she was destined to do more than teach kindergarten. Joe’s dream was to create a program for students with special needs and he knew Syble was the one to do it. Syble’s special needs program started with one classroom and grew into its own school, named in her honor.

Starting the program was not an easy task. At the time many students with special needs did not attend school. Syble went door to door to recruit students and meet with parents. She eventually became a leader in Special Needs Education. Syble advocated for her students and other children with special needs, as she believed they deserve the chance to receive an education and the opportunity to have days full of fun and creativity. Her dedication not only touched her students but also the teachers she worked with and mentored. Because of her work, the school is still open today.


In 1975, Syble became ill, which affected the students and the school. She had always been able to attend school events but when she fell ill she was unable to make the holiday festivities. Instead, the students came to her. More than 60 kids and teachers loaded a bus and went to her home. They set up a tree in her yard and decorated it so she could see it from her window. The students also brought small gifts that they made for her. They left a sign in the yard that read, “We love you more than Christmas” to show how much they appreciated her for her. Syble passed away a few days later.

Syble was a dedicated woman who worked to improve the lives of those that were never given a chance to be educated. Though she may be gone, her compassionate attitude and dedication to her students is left as a legacy at Syble Hopp School.

*Dreamers and Doers: A Project of Green Bay Area Branch American Association of University Women, 1994
*Syble Hopp: A Documentary, Jeffery Slayter
*Green Bay Press Gazette: Love at Christmas, December 24, 1975

Women of Brown County: Dr. Rosa Minoka Hill

Monday, March 05, 2018
Sometimes people have a calling to do something great, something that leaves a legacy. Dr. Rosa Minoka Hill had that inner voice telling her to serve and so she did. Her work and determination to help others affected both those treated by her and by all of those around her. Dr. Hill’s renowned service and intriguing story gave her not only a special spot in Green Bay history, but also a rightful place among some of the most influential people of Brown County.
Rosa Hill and Sue Cook stand by Rosa's grandmother's head stone. The two plan to enter nurses' training after graduation in June, they will follow in the footsteps of Rosa's grandmother, Dr. Rosa Minoka Hill.
Dr. Rosa Minoka Hill was born in New Jersey in 1876 to a Mohawk mother and a Quaker physician. She earned her M.D. at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania while keeping her ties to her Native American roots. She eventually established her own medical practice in Philadelphia. She provided care at the Lincoln Institute where she met Anna Hill, an Oneida girl from Brown County. Then she met Anna’s brother, Charles, a student at the Carlisle Indian School. They married in 1905 and the newly wed Charles and Dr. Rosa Minoka Hill moved back to Charles’ home in Oneida.

At first Dr. Rosa Minoka Hill played the expected role of farmhouse wife. She gave up her practice until she realized the medical needs of the people in her new home. She knew providing medical care was something worthwhile and worked with native medicine men. Dr. Hill was able to blend her medical practices with the tribal practices. This way, rich cultural aspects were combined with innovative technology to provide the best care possible. She had a “kitchen clinic” for many years. It was open from 7am to 10pm every day and all were welcome. Dr. Hill became known by the name Yo-da-gent, meaning “she who serves” in Oneida. * Her understanding of culture, tolerance, and willingness to serve all who needed is something we can all admire.

Charles died in 1916 leaving Rosa with six children and a mortgaged farm. These circumstances along with the Great Depression led Rosa to pursue a medical license in Wisconsin even though she already had one in Pennsylvania. She had to borrow the $100 to take the Wisconsin Medical License Exam. She passed the exam at the age of 58 and opened a practice in town. She practiced and served there for 12 years.

It is obvious that Dr. Hill had a calling to help others. She was determined to not let the expectations society had of women during that time to distract her from what she wanted to do. She was able to have a family and serve all those who needed help. She eventually had to provide for her family and found a way to do so while providing necessary medical care to others. Her passion, strength, and respect for people of all backgrounds are things we can admire today.

* Dreamers and Doers : A Project of Green Bay Area Branch American Association of University Women, 1994
* Dr. Rosa Minoka Hill Green Bay Public School, https://minokahill.gbaps.org/

Anna Denucci
Intern
St. Norbert College

SPARK!

Monday, January 22, 2018
According to the Ageing and Disability Resource Center of Brown County, nearly 15,000 people in our community may have dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other types of clinical memory loss.  As this number continues to grow, cultural organizations like the Neville Public Museum can play a role in helping families stay actively engaged in their community.


In 2017 the museum became part of the Spark! Alliance.  SPARK! is a program designed to stimulate conversations, provide peer support, and inspire creativity through engaging in museum experiences.  The Neville joins over 20 other museums in Wisconsin and Minnesota in its commitment to offering monthly programs for people with memory loss and their care partners, free of charge.



To me, the best part about SPARK! is that it isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” approach.  Each museum does things their own way.  At the Neville, our SPARK! program focuses on a different temporary exhibit each month.  Because we have so many different types of exhibits throughout the year, each SPARK! program is unique.  Sometimes we’ll do science experiments, sometimes create works of art, and sometimes focus on storytelling.  Regardless of the activities, every month our goal is to create a supportive environment where families and friends can simply enjoy being together, and experience something new and different. 

To learn more about SPARK! at the Neville Public Museum or to register for an upcoming program, please click here.

Ryan Swadley
Education Specialist 


Coming in 2018....

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
2018 is shaping up to be an exciting year at the Neville!  From exhibits to programming we can’t wait for our visitors to share in these exciting events!  Here’s a little preview of the upcoming year:  

#1 Our Brown County, Opens May 29, 2018

Our Brown County is a celebration of 200 years of history focusing on the stories that make Brown County the place we choose to live, work, and play. Explore these stories through 50 artifacts, 50 photographs, 50 people, and 50 places that demonstrate the complex, diverse, and rich history of Brown County.























#2 Delay of Game: Experience of African American Football Players in Titletown
Opens August 11, 2018

It has been one hundred years since the Green Bay Packers were formed but African American players have only been part of the story since 1950. These athletes made an immediate impact on the game, but what happened off the field? In this exhibit, discover how the challenges and contributions of African American players have changed our community.









#3 Holiday Memories of Downtown Green Bay
Opens November 10, 2018

Celebrate the holiday season at the Neville!  See our Snow Babies, charming “Dolls of Christmas Past,” and enchanted forest that once adorned H.C. Prange department store. Holiday Memories returns as a full gallery exhibit this year.  

Other holiday events include the Children Only Shop, and Bruce the Spruce.  Holiday Memories is a wonderful family tradition.



#4 SPARK! 

We’re proud to introduce our newest program series in 2018: SPARK! 

SPARK! is a cultural program for people with early to mid-stage memory loss and their care partners. Programs are designed to keep  participants actively engaged in their communities by providing experiences that stimulate conversations, provide peer support, and inspire creativity through engaging in museum experiences.

You can find more information about SPARK! at the Neville here. 






#5 Morbid Curiosities
, October 2018

Get your tickets early for this in-demand Halloween-time program!   Explore some of morbid and creepy artifacts in our collections, pulled for one night only. Don't miss your chance to get up close and personal with these rarely-seen objects. 

This is not your average museum tour. Come prepared to laugh, play games, experience the exhibits in a new way, and maybe even touch some stuff.

We can't wait to see you in 2018! 


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