The Neville Public Museum
The Neville Blog
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/
St. Norbert College
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.
#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.
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.
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.
#1 Neon: Darkness Electrified
Neon: Darkness Electrified illuminates the history and explores the science behind the glowing tubes. Most of these neon signs have disappeared from highways and storefronts. A local collector, Jed Schleisner, works diligently to gather and restore these historic pieces of Americana. Neon opened in July and since thousands of guests have explored the exhibit. The exhibit has also been featured in several events like Electrified: Library Summer’s Reader Day, 90s Night, and a Night at the Museum.
#2 Morbid Curiosities: 99 Ways to Die
Morbid Curiosities returned in 2017 for its second year. This year 300 guests (doubled from last year) explored deadly museum artifacts. A murder mystery and black light art project provided added Halloween fun! If you missed it this year make sure to get tickets early for next year’s Morbid Curiosities!
#3 Artifact Tournament
In September the museum hosted an Artifact Tournament to select an artifact for the upcoming exhibit Our Brown County. Eight artifacts went head to head in this bracket style competition. Over 400 votes were counted via Facebook and the winner was a Vietnam War Flight Suit worn by John Evans (1965-1973). The Flight Suit will be on exhibit in Our Brown County opening May 29, 2018!
#4 Alice in Dairyland
This year marked the fourth time Brown County hosted the Alice in Dairyland Finals. It was one of the largest finals events ever and was held at the legendary Lambeau Field. In celebration of this event the exhibit Alice in Dairyland opened in January. During the Finals weekend thirty one of sixty nine Alices visited the exhibit. Among them was Margaret (McGuire) Blott, the first Alice. This exhibit explored the impact Wisconsin agriculture has on our everyday lives, along with Alice, in a one of a kind hands-on experience.
#5 Explorer Wednesday Lava Lamps
Each first Wednesday of the month is Explorer Wednesday. From 5-7pm during Brown County Resident Free Night guest can participate in art projects, science experiments, or guided tours of exhibits. In August, guests made their own Lava Lamps!
There were so many more events and exhibits that helped make 2017 a great year for the Neville. Did we miss your favorite? Comment and let us know what your favorite exhibit/event/program was this past year!
Guests enjoyed great food, a silent auction, entertainment from the John Kelley Duo and Audrey Nowak, and several activity stations including a neon demonstration with Neon artist Jed Schleisner, a viewing of Pyle Paintings from our collection with the Green Bay & De Pere Antiquarians, a personal tour of the Estamos Aquí cabin with Antonio Saldaña, Bruce the Spruce, and more.
The success of the event was attributed to the participation of over 140 guests, the sale of 40 silent auction baskets/experiences, and Lego Lambeau Fan Sales. We had the generous support of many silent auction donors, 18 table and station sponsors and individual ticket buyers. We also benefited from generous discounts and outright donations by our supportive vendors. Many thanks are extended to all involved.
This year’s event brought in over $20,000 after expenses, which will be used to help fund the Museum’s
On behalf of the Foundation Board of Directors and the planning committee, we extend a special thank you to all of our sponsors, donors, volunteers and guests that helped make the event a great success!
We greatly appreciate your support in helping to create a community legacy of bridging communities and connecting generations!
Executive Director, Neville Public Museum Foundation
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”.
UW- Green Bay
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. 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.
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.
A man named Elisha Morrow built a house in Green Bay in 1857 for his wife and six daughters. He was an early organizer of the Republican Party of Wisconsin and one of the delegates who helped get Abraham Lincoln nominated as the Republican candidate for president in 1860.
The second youngest of Morrow’s daughters, Helen, inherited her much beloved home after her father died. Helen was forced to sell the property to the Green Bay Women’s Club in 1920 because she didn’t have the money to keep it. Helen eventually moved to Boston to help raise her nephew after the passing of her sister but returned to Green Bay later in life. She was never able to purchase back her family home. Helen passed away in 1952 at the age of 90.
The house went through four more owners before Brad and Eric Schmiling purchased it and turned it into Captain’s Walk Winery in 2006. Helen is believed to be the ghost who haunts the building today. It is said that she throws books, runs the freight elevator, flickers lights, and turns the sinks on and off. While renovating, they stayed one night in the house, and one night only. That night they heard a little girl bouncing a ball and running around giggling on the second floor…but no one else was there.
So, next time you go wine tasting at Captain’s Walk, make sure you’re nice to Helen… after all – it’s still her home!
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