The Neville Public Museum

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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,

Anna Denucci
St. Norbert College

Top 5 Events and Exhibits from 2017

Thursday, December 28, 2017
Our exhibit team was extremely busy in 2017 installing 15 different exhibits and hosting a variety of fun packed events. We couldn’t possibly re-cap all of them so here are five of our favorite exhibits and events from 2017!

 #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!

Lisa Kain

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
UW- Green Bay

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

Vietnam Flight Suit Wins the Artifact Tournament

Monday, October 02, 2017
Voting is over and the results are in! The flight suit worn by John Evans during the Vietnam War is the winner. Thank you to everyone for participating in the artifact tournament for the upcoming exhibit Our Brown County.

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. Our Brown County opens May 29, 2018!

Vietnam Flight Suit, 1965-1973
The man who wore this flight suit flew high above the terrain of Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines between 1965 and 1973. John Evans volunteered for the U.S. Air Force and served as a combat aerial photographer. During the war, Evans was frequently shot at, but luckily was never shot down. After leaving the Air Force he became a lawyer and worked for Brown County and Oconto County. In 2016, Evans lost his battle with lung and brain cancer believed to have been caused by exposure to Agent Orange.

Artifact Tournament Championship

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
This is the final round! The winning artifact in this match will be featured in the upcoming exhibit Our Brown County! . 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. All voting must be done September 29th on the museum’s Facebook Page.

Vietnam Flight Suit, 1965-1973
The man who wore this flight suit flew high above the terrain of Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines between 1965 and 1973. John Evans volunteered for the U.S. Airforce and served as a combat aerial photographer. During the war, Evans was frequently shot at, but luckily was never shot down. After leaving the Air Force he became a lawyer and worked for Brown County and Oconto County. In 2016, Evans lost his battle with lung and brain cancer believed to have been caused by exposure to Agent Orange.

Hotel Northland Switchboard, 1930s-1950s
The Hotel Northland was at the center of a booming downtown Green Bay, hosting celebrities, Green Bay Packers players and staff, and a wealth of other people during its time as a hotel. This piece of communication technology from the mid-twentieth century connected calls from the outside to hotel guests during their stay in Green Bay.

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