The Neville Public Museum

The Neville Blog

Why Does the Museum Have an Emmy?

Monday, November 20, 2017
The entertainment industry of Hollywood has been around since the early 1900s. We’ve watched all the films, seen all the television shows, and watched in awe as the stars hit the red carpet. It is almost hard to believe that something like this could hit close to home. Dan Smith, a native to the Green Bay area, is one of our hometown Hollywood heroes.



Dan Smith’s Emmy

Dan Smith broke into the Television Industry as a director. In the 1940s he put on a series of shows with his involvement in the “Neighborhood Playhouse Theater”. He held yearly summer plays after rehearsing with the kids all summer. They showcased the final product to the community in front of his garage to close out the summer.

He received his big break as an assistant director on The Ed Sullivan Show during the 1960s, worked on The Merv Griffin Show, The Joey Bishop Show, and directed several commercials, game shows and soap operas. It was not until 1987 however, that Dan Smith received the utmost recognition for his work. He directed a children’s mathematics program for a PBS series entitled Square One Television. It was for this project that he was awarded a Daytime Emmy Award for Best Director. The following year, he was nominated in the same category for the same program. In 2002, Dan Smith gifted his Emmy award to the Neville Public Museum and is now a part of the permanent collection.



Origin of the Emmy

The first ever Emmy Awards were held on January 25th, 1949 with three separate categories, Primetime, Daytime, and L.A. Area Awards. When it came to finding a design for the statue the winners would receive, the Academy turned down forty-seven designs before finding the perfect fit. The design for the statue was created by Television Engineer Louis McManus who used his wife as his model. This design was chosen by the Academy Board Members in 1948. The statue's design is a woman with wings holding an atom, and each portion has a different meaning. The wings are supposed to be representative to the muse of art, while the atom that the figure is holding represents the electron of science. An Emmy weighs about six pounds and twelve ounces and is made of copper, nickel, silver and gold. It was named by Television Engineer and third Academy President Harry Lubke, when he selected the name “Immy” after an Early Image Orthicon Camera; it was later altered slightly to “Emmy”.

Morgan Moe
Intern
UW- Green Bay

Keeping the Holidays Alive

Thursday, November 09, 2017
Each year the museum puts together holiday displays from our collection of figurines that once decorated the windows at H.C. Prange Co. in downtown Green Bay. Dolls of Christmas Past are displayed in vignettes on our stage and Snow Babies play outside our gift shop. This year is no different but you may notice that we changed some things about our displays compared to years past. We decided not to have our dolls move this year.



As with all our exhibits, when they are completed we inventory and do condition reports before returning the artifacts back to storage. After Holiday Memories last year, we did an extensive condition report of the artifacts. In looking closely we discovered evidence of stress. Piles of rust at the feet of some of the figures are a clue that something was happening internally that we cannot see on the outside.


Rust is caused by corrosion, a natural process where metal is gradually destroyed. Running the dolls causes the metal rods to move resulting in the rust falling from the rods inside the figurines. This leaves the piles you see in the picture above. Running the dolls constantly, even for a two month exhibit, causes strain on the internal mechanics. Piles of rust weren’t the only things we found while performing our condition reports. We also found issues with the clothing and brown marks on the surface of some of the figurines. Both of these things can happen over time.

 The brown marks on this doll are not freckles. Dolls like this were made using a hard plastic. This Plastic breaks down over time and can begin to “sweat” leaving brown marks on the surface of the figurine. The marks are caused by an oily liquid oozing out of the doll. The ooze can also leave a tacky slime behind.

The brown marks on this doll are not freckles. Dolls like this were made using a hard plastic. This Plastic breaks down over time and can begin to “sweat” leaving brown marks on the surface of the figurine. The marks are caused by an oily liquid oozing out of the doll. The ooze can also leave a tacky slime behind. This picture shows one of the issues we found with the felt and textiles of our figurines’ clothing. Over time the fabric has deteriorated, ripped, faded, or become stained.

This picture shows one of the issues we found with the felt and textiles of our figurines’ clothing.  Over time the fabric has deteriorated, ripped, faded, or become stained.

This year, we are decreasing the stress put on our dolls to help ensure that we can display them well into the future.

James Peth
Research Technician

Beneath the Courthouse Dome

Tuesday, November 07, 2017
Over a year ago, the few us from the Neville were invited to a behind the scenes tour of the Brown County Courthouse Dome. The county was beginning a $1.6 million project to replace the copper on the dome. We agreed and were offered an amazing look into one of the most iconic buildings in the county. A few things stood out as we walked the catwalk behind the clock face, below the copper dome.



First, hundreds of names are etched into the bricks, some dating back to the 1930s. Although it is technically graffiti, these marking are still a piece of the building’s history. It meant something to them to leave their mark in this historic place. Second was the astonishing engineering of a clock installed in 1911. The large clock face, hands, and mechanics of the special Seth Thomas Clock that still run today were mesmerizing. Another part of the project was to replace the wooden hands. When the wood gets wet they expand and become heavier which throws off the time on the face.





As work progressed we devolved a great relationship with the crew. They would call us when they pulled something they thought we might want for the museum’s collection. We now have in our possession parts of the copper dome, original wood clock hands, and a brick signed in 1937. We didn’t just collect these things to add them to our massive collection but to interpret the courthouse as a symbol and historic place in our upcoming exhibit celebrating the 200th anniversary of Brown County. Our Brown County is a celebration of two centuries of history and the people who have called it home. The courthouse has been a part of that story since 1911.

In 1908, plans and construction began for the new courthouse in downtown Green Bay on the same block as the new Federal Building. Architect, C.E. Bell was chosen. He was well known for designing grand governmental buildings. We even have his original blue prints in our collection! In 1909, the county board approved $8,000 more for the project to fund the murals that still grace the halls of the building.



As construction concluded, plans for a major unveiling of the new building were set into motion. On January 13-14, 1911 an estimated 10,000 people attended the public opening reception. The local newspaper reported that people were overwhelmed by the building’s detail and beauty.

The courthouse has gone through different renovations throughout the years including the addition of an elevator in 1940. Walls were painted over and some of the historic beauty marks of the building were lost. In 1976, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places to protect its historical nature and to honor its architectural place in Brown County history.

During the 1980s concerns over space and care of the building grew. In 1988, a $10.6 million project began that included additions to the south and west sides for Clerk of Courts, the Detention Center, and the Law Enforcement Center as well as restoration and renovation on the interior and exterior of the building. The project took more than four years to complete. In January 1993, 82 years after the first public reception, an open house was hosted for the public to view the completed project.

In 2008 and 2009 the lantern that sits on the very top of the dome was replaced. Finally this year the county finished the project replacing the copper on the dome as not just a way to invest in the key symbol of Brown County, but to help launch our 200th Anniversary where we will reflect on how far we’ve come and where we’re headed.

Lisa Kain
Curator

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