The Neville Public Museum

The Neville Blog

The Monowheel Returns

Friday, September 30, 2016

 Working in a museum, I get to see plenty of interesting artifacts.  Some are more widely recognizable and well researched and others are much more mysterious.  One of our mysterious artifacts is this object- the wooden monowheel.    While there are other monowheels in collections across the country, this is the only known one made of wood rather than metal.  

What is a monowheel?

This rare artifact is a self-propelled mode of transportation, much like a unicycle.  The big difference is the rider sits on the wooden seat inside the big wheel.  The rider uses the hand cranks to move the inner smaller wheel which transfers motion to the larger outer wheel with the stars.  

What do we know about the monowheel?

This monowheel was collected by Frank Duchateau in the early 1900s.  He donated it to the museum in 1943. According to a letter received by Duchateau in 1922, the monowheel was made by a Mr. Rowe in the 1860s.  It was first exhibited at the old museum on the corner of Jefferson and Doty Streets and was kept on display when the museum moved here.  In 2014, the monowheel was conserved and traveled to Madison and Appleton to be included in the exhibit Shifting Gears: A Cyclical History of Badger Bicycling.

What don’t we know about the monowheel?

We know a little about the monowheel but we are still missing some key pieces of information.  Why did Mr. Rowe create the monowheel?  What was it used for?   Are there other pieces like the monowheel in other collections? 

The answer to all of these questions is – we don’t know.   We can speculate what the piece was used for but without more information we can never be sure.  However, just because we cannot be sure does not mean the monowheel is not important.  This one-of-a-kind artifact is an excellent example of how the museum has collected, displayed and cared for artifacts throughout the last century.  

The monowheel is now back at the museum and on exhibit in On the Edge of the Inland Sea.  Check it out for yourself!

Lisa Kain
Curator 

The Murder of Lt. Foster and His Frock Coat

Friday, February 05, 2016
In our core exhibition On the Edge of the Inland Sea, you can get lost in all the stories and artifacts between the mastodon and the 1908 Holsman Car.  But one thing that caught my eye, even before becoming the curator, was a blue military coat tucked in a corner by the “Fort Howard” section of the exhibit.   Behind the Fort Howard in "On the Edge of the Inland Sea"coat is a sketch of a man pointing a musket at another man and below is a small label with a story.   The story of the coat’s owner's fate is captivating.  But the stories untold in the exhibit are even more remarkable.    

The first part of the story is what you find in the exhibit on the second floor of the museum.  The young U.S. Army lieutenant who wore this coat 185 years ago died in it. Lt. Amos Foster was shot and killed by one of his own soldiers, Private Patrick Doyle.   In February 1832, Doyle was detained in the guardhouse for being drunk and disorderly.   Alcohol consumption was a real problem at Fort Howard, especially since part of the soldier’s rations included two gills of whiskey or rum (the equivalent of four shots today).   After a few days, on February 7, 1832, Doyle persuaded a guard to escort him to the Lt. Foster’s quarters to talk to him.  After harsh words and a scuffle Doyle stole the guard’s musket and killed Lt. Foster.  Doyle was immediately arrested.  He was tried and sentenced to death in July of 1832.  It is said Doyle was hanged outside the stockade wall of the fort for all to see. 
Painting of Fort Howard from 1899 by B. Ostertac (#2704/1757)

My big question when I started to look at the coat more closely was how do we know?  How do we know what happened and the supposed words exchanged between Lt. Foster and Doyle?  How do we know this was Lt. Foster’s coat?  After I started pulling at this thread I found there is far more to this story than has been told in that label on the 2nd floor.  After digging through historical documents, different stories of the incident were revealed.  Interesting tales of Doyle’s time while he was incarcerated and even a ghostly haunting of the officer’s quarters are mentioned in people’s memoirs.  


Beyond historical documents the coat itself can tell you another part of the story.  It reveals Lt. Foster’s role in society while he wore it (a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Infantry based on the coat construction and rank insignia).  It can also share insight to his early demise.  We can clearly see where the bullet entered and exited.  We can see loss of wool from blood staining.  It is also probable the surgeon at the time, Dr. Clement Finely, tried to get at the wounds quickly.   The bottom 7 buttons appear to have been cut off, probably because they were buttoned at the time of the murder. 


   
 
The coat Lt. Foster was wearing when he was murdered on February 7, 1832 (#1988.78.1)
 Entry point of the bullet that killed Lt. Foster

Now if you look at the photograph of the coat on exhibit in our main gallery on the second floor, you may notice it has all of its buttons.  That’s because the one on exhibit there is a replica.  Why would we not put the real thing out?  Because of all the coat has been through.  It has been through 19th century Wisconsin winters, a gunshot, blood stains, and several years in an attic in Texas.  That is why the exhibit team is beyond excited to pull the real thing out of storage for Life and Death at Fort Howard.  Not only will the coat be displayed for the first time at the Neville, but the team has created exciting new ways of explore the coat and Lt. Foster’s story. 

There is so much more we can and will share about this special artifact but nothing beats seeing the real thing.  Life and Death at Fort Howard is open through April 9, 2017!

Lisa Zimmerman
Curator 

    

5 Things You May Not Know about Stompy the Mastodon

Friday, October 23, 2015
Five Things You May Not Know about Stompy the Mastodon

1. He’s not a Woolly Mammoth

Stompy is a mastodon, but what’s the difference?  For starters mastodon tusks were less curved than a mammoth's. Mastodon teeth were different from a mammoth’s as well.  Why was that?  Because Mastodons lived in swampy areas and chewed on branches and shrubs.  Mammoths grazed on grasses in open plains. You can see the difference between the two species teeth just behind Stompy in the exhibit! 

2. His fur is made of cow tails

Stompy is covered in 1,500 cow tails!  The cow tails were washed, bleached, and colored before being adhered to his body.  This was done by the artist to achieve the look of shaggy curly hair which would’ve helped him stay warm at the end of the last Ice Age.

 

 Photo taken in 1983 right after the diorama was installed for the new museum

3. He sheds… so please don’t pet the mastodon  

Stompy is now 32 years old!  Over the years he’s begun to lose a little hair but who wouldn’t after entertaining the masses for three decades?  We’d love for Stompy to stick around another 30 years so please don’t pet him.  He’s a museum favorite and we want to keep him looking shaggy for a long time. The more exposure he gets to human touch the more he will deteriorate just like any other artifact in the museum.

 

4. He was made in Indiana  

When the museum started to plan for their brand new building in 1982, they also began to plan for a new large-scale exhibit about the history of Northeastern Wisconsin.  Part of that story was to be told with a diorama of the Late Pleistocene Period by diorama artists Pat and Theresa Gulley of Williamsport, IN.  The artists modeled Stompy from an elephant at the Indianapolis Zoo.  Stompy was the first piece to be installed in the On the Edge of the Inland Sea.

 

Photo of curator Dennis Jacobs preparing Stompy for the opening of "On the Edge of the Inland Sea"

 

5. He’s only 3/4th the size he should be

Due to size constraints in the exhibit the entire diorama is made at 3/4th size, including the Paleo-Indian hunters.  Imagine Stompy and the hunters just a little bigger next time you go through the Ice Cave!

Bonus Fact: Did you know the crouching hunter wasn’t originally behind Stompy?  He was first installed on the ledge directly across from Stompy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Next time you venture through our Ice Cave we hope you’ll take a second to say hi to Stompy, maybe snap a picture with him and consider how he came to be here at the Neville!

 

Photo take my Mallory VonHaden

 

 

New Teaching Collection Opens Opportunities for Object-Based Learning

Friday, September 05, 2014
How can rocks change from one type to another? What was it like to travel and explore Wisconsin 400 years ago? How did Wisconsin’s early settlers use our natural resources? 
 
Visitors attending the museum’s newest education program will discover the answers to these questions – and more – by analyzing objects from the newly established teaching collection. 

Made possible through the generosity of Schreiber Foods, the teaching collection complements a new educational program consisting of 20 inquiry-driven, object-based lessons that tie into central themes from the museum’s permanent exhibit, On the Edge of the Inland Sea.
Areas of exploration include:

1. Thinking like a Historian
What does it mean to think like a historian?

2. The Rock Cycle
How can rocks change from one type to another?

3. A Landscape Shaped Over Time
How did the Ice Age shape Wisconsin?

4. Plants and Animals of the Ice Age
What plants and animals existed at the end of the Ice Age?

5. Wisconsin’s First People
How do we know about people who lived long ago?

6. Native Americans in the Old Time
How did Native American people live in the Old Time?

7. The Age of Exploration
What was it like to travel and explore Wisconsin 400 years ago?

8. The Fur Trade Era
Who participated in the Fur Trade?

9. Treaty Making
What happened to Native American lands in the early 1800s?

10. Building a Town / Building a State
What did the U.S. government do with the land that it got through treaties?

11. Natural Resources
How did Wisconsin’s settlers use our natural resources?

12. Civil War
How did the Civil War affect the people of Wisconsin?

13. Immigration
How do people make a new life in a new place?

14. Peshtigo Fire
What factors led to the Peshtigo Fire?

15. Mass Production and Domestic Life
How did mass production change domestic life during the Gilded Age?

16. The Age of Invention
How did the inventions of the early 1900s change Green Bay?

17. Native Americans in the Modern World
How has Wisconsin’s history affected its Native American people and their way of life?

18. World War I
How did World War I affect Wisconsin?

19. Culture in Northeastern Wisconsin
What are some of the cultural traditions in Northeastern Wisconsin?

20. Preserving History
How do people take care of Wisconsin’s history?

Supporting these lessons are a diverse array of objects, ranging from a physics model of a glacier, to the teeth left behind by Ice Age titans, to the material culture of the immigrant groups who would later settle in this region. 
 
Students will explore the surfaces and materials of authentic and reproduction objects; feeling their weight; and manipulating them, as they must have been handled by their past owners. The physical nature of the activity allows visitors to experience a sense of discovery and excitement as they draw connections between the unfamiliar objects they hold and their own base of experiences. Two new Samsung tablets will supplement the teaching collection, with music, videos, and primary source materials such as photographs, maps, patents, and more!

One of the major strengths of this program is that it is fully customizable and can be adapted to suit a wide range of audiences, interests, and learning modalities. Listed below are just a few of the possibilities:

1.  Target Audience: School Groups
In addition to “Thinking like a Historian” and “Preserving History,” teachers can select up to three areas of focus. These areas will be covered in-depth during their visit and include elements of role-play, storytelling, and hands-on experiences for their students.

2.  Target Audience: High School Students
High school students can volunteer to become Junior Expedition Leaders. Through this mentorship program, students will learn a thematic area and interpretive techniques before progressing to provide family programming on Explorer Saturdays.

3. Target Audience: Families
Beginning in the new year, families visiting the Neville Public Museum on the first day of the month will have the opportunity to participate in Explorer Saturdays, interacting with the Junior Expedition Leaders and objects from the teaching collection.

4. Target Audience: Individuals with Memory Loss
Finally, these objects enable the museum to extend its collections to create meaningful experiences for older adults with dementia and their caregivers.

There are plenty of opportunities to get involved with this exciting program! Teachers may reserve the program for their students by contacting Kirsten Smith at 920-448-7851 or Smith_KA@co.brown.wi.us. Individuals wishing to volunteer as Expedition Leaders can find the Neville Public Museum’s volunteer application here.

Special thanks to Schreiber Foods for their generous support of this project.

Ashwaubenon School District Technology Project

Monday, May 12, 2014

From the Ice Age to the Age of Invention

Fourth Grade Students Become Virtual Tour Guides


The next time that you visit the Neville Public Museum, bring along your smart phone, tablet, or similar mobile device. With an internet connection and QR code scanner, a 4th grade student from Ashwaubenon School District will be your virtual tour guide. Just look for the QR codes in On the Edge fo the Inland Sea!


What is a QR code?

This symbol is a QR code. It is used to quickly connect smart phones, tablets, and similar mobile devices to online digital content. Scanning these codes in On the Edge of the Inland Sea will direct your mobile device to display a video of your virtual tour guide in the exhibit space.


Who are these tour guides?

One student from each 4th grade classroom in the Ashwaubenon School District was selected to research and create a video interpreting the history of Northeastern Wisconsin. There are 10 videos to discover in On the Edge of the Inland Sea, covering a range of topics from glaciers to electrical inventions.

According to Jamie Averbeck, Ashwaubenon School District’s Technology Integration Specialist who led the project, “Ashwaubenon schools are excited to partner with the Neville Public Museum. It gives our students a real-world experience in creating meaningful digital content for an authentic audience.”


Where can I download a scanner?

QR code scanning applications are available for download in the Google PlayiTunes, and Amazon markets. The museum offers free wireless internet access to guests with non-cellular connected devices.


Visit the Neville Public Museum of Brown County Today!

This exhibit addition entitled, From the Ice Age to the Age of Invention:  The Shaping of Brown County, will open Tuesday, May 13, 2014. 

Be sure to see it while you can and support Ashwaubenon Public School's 4th grade students!



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