The Neville Public Museum

The Neville Blog

Artifact Research: An Intern's Experience

Monday, September 28, 2015

My time at the Neville Public Museum was extremely educational even though it ended far too soon. I took this internship so I could gather more experience in the museum field. During my internship I worked on a variety of projects and tasks. I began my internship by learning the museum’s cataloging system and database since it varies in different museums. With their database mastered on a basic level I could attach pictures and information. This helped the museum’s digital initiative where every object will have a picture in Argus, though there is a lot to be added yet! A major project I worked on was cataloging two accessions of Kaap’s restaurant artifacts into the museum’s permanent collection. This was a very valuable experience that laid the groundwork for any future cataloging I may do. I learned a great deal at the museum but honing my research skills was the greatest one. I spent a great amount of my time researching artifacts the museum has for research requests and for the future Fort Howard exhibit opening in April 2016.

I worked on two aspects of the upcoming exhibit; women’s clothing and accessories, and weaponry. As fascinating as women’s fashion is during the early 1800s, my favorite aspect of research for Fort Howard was the weaponry and armory because it is just so intriguing! The items held in the collection that date to the Fort Howard era are mostly muskets but other artifacts include: bayonets, swords, pistols, a cannonball, and other various guns. The main armories of the time period we were interested in were the Springfield Armory (the model 1816 being the most abundantly produced), and the Harpers Ferry Armory. During the early 1800s most muskets were flintlock but because the time period for this exhibit extended from 1800-1850 some of the muskets were percussion locks. This was a change that made the guns more reliable and weather resistant than flintlocks. This also meant that some of the guns that were made earlier in the 1800s such as M1816’s were modified from flintlocks to percussion locks. US M1816 Flintlock Musket

A lot of the guns have manufacturer stamps or other marks that can help add provenance to the gun. Examples are proofs for European guns, designs carved or stamped into the gun, initials, and other marks. Below is an example of initials on the handle of a rifle that was locally made in the 1840s. Shotgun made by A.P Hyatt around 1845

Something to remember is that some weapons were brought from Europe before armories became popular in the U.S. During the time period we were interested in, many people probably had guns that had already been imported. The U.S. Army also imported weaponry for the Civil War as well as wars before that meaning Fort Howard likely had imported weaponry and U.S. made weapons.

Though there is a lot more to do for the future Fort Howard exhibit, researching the time period and helping to choose and research artifacts was a great way to push the planning further. Overall I am by no means an expert on weaponry from the early 1800s but I did learn a lot and my research skills are for the better!

 

By Natasha Khan- Intern

Our Next Local History Exhibit Is...

Monday, August 24, 2015

If you’ve been following the museum on Instagram you may have noticed we’ve been hinting at our next local history exhibit over the last few weeks.  We’ve posted these images (right) asking our followers; first what these things are; and second what they mean to Green Bay.   So what do a statue of Zachary Taylor, an iron shutter guard, a ledger from 1831 and the lines painted in the parking lot at Leicht Park have in common? The answer is Fort Howard. The fort was commissioned in 1816 to protect the western frontier in Wisconsin.  It stood on the ruins of the previous French post, Fort La Baye, just across the street from the museum around where Titletown Brewery stands today.  

(Zachary Taylor served as commander- the shutter guard once held the shutters open at the hospital on site, the ledger is the Quartermasters Ledger- the lines represent where researchers believe the corner of the stockade once stood)

Life and Death at Fort Howard (opening in April 2016) will explore the real stories of the military fort on the western shore of the Fox River.  These stories include tales of murder, grand balls, a love triangle, and relations between the fort and the citizens building a community across the river.   

Over the next seven months we will be sharing special behind-the-scenes pieces via this blog and Instagram.  Some great artifacts have surfaced during our research and we want to share them with you!  Stay tuned! 

Stroll Through Time: Walking Tours of Historic Neighborhoods

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Preservation of historic buildings is a tough task that takes the cooperation of the Historic Preservation Commission and building owners.   On Tuesday night a group of Green Bay residents experienced this first hand when they joined Alderman Mark Steuer for a special walking tour of the Fort Howard neighborhood after his talk on Architecture, Planning, and Politics at the museum. 

Walking through the old homes in the different districts in Green Bay is a nostalgic experience that can speak to the building of our city and the development of our community.  During the walk on Tuesday night, Steuer and company spoke with homeowners and were even invited into the original Blesch home in the Fort HHome designed for Francis Blesch in 1905oward Neighborhood on N Oakland Ave.  This Greek Revival style home, built in 1905, is a rare find in Green Bay. The current homeowners spoke of the challenges in owning a historic home.  When the home was bought in foreclosure a few years ago the homeowners had to go before the planning commission to talk about the repairs they were taking on.

Another home which has gone through a similar transformation is the old Joannes home on S Madison St. in the Astor Neighborhood designed in 1902 for Mitchell and Fannie Joannes.  This Queen Anne style home, which was previously used as a multifamily home, was bought and renovated to reflect its original design.  A 360° virtual tour of this home can be found in the current exhibit Building Our CommunHome designed for Mitchell Joannes in 1902ity along with the original designs and floor plans. 

There’s no shortage of beautiful historic buildings in our community.  After collecting designs, histories and photographs of these structures with the help of the Berners-Schober Architectural Firm we decided to put together walking tours that people can do on their own to enjoy these historic buildings outside of a museum gallery.  We hope that one beautiful day you’ll take a tour of Downtown, the Allouez Neighborhood, the Astor Neighborhood, or the Fort Howard Neighborhood and enjoy the historic beauty that surrounds us in Green Bay.  

You can download these tours on our website or visit our Google Map site here.  You can also find them and many more buildings in the current exhibit Building Our Community: 100+ Years of Architecture & Design in Brown County open through March 26, 2016.   

 

Upcoming Building Our Community Events

Architectural Segway Tours

August 5th- More dates TBD

$30 members, $40 non-members

Green Bay Architectural History: Panel Discussion and Question

August 11th at 7pm

Free Program

 

 

Summer Programs at the Neville

Friday, July 10, 2015

This summer the Neville Public Museum is proud to host two amazing temporary exhibitions; Spies, Traitors, and Saboteurs:  Fear and Freedom in America on loan from the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C, and Building Our Community:  100 Years of Architecture and Design in Brown County, which was created in collaboration with architects from Berners-Schober A"Building Our Community: 100+ Years of Architecture & Design in Brown County"ssociates.

As if the exhibits weren’t enough, the Neville is providing the following free public programs that explore the themes within our galleries in greater detail!

Architecture, Planning, and Politics

Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 7:00 p.m.

Alderman Mark Steuer will discuss the development of the Fort Howard and Broadway districts, and the efforts of the Historic Preservation Commission to protect and maintain the city’s historic structures.   After the program join Mark for a walking tour of Fort Howard!

America's Most Infamous Terrorist Organization Goes Mainstream: The Ku Klux Klan Marches Down Pennsylvania Avenue

Tuesday, July 21, 2015, 6:00 p.m.

Join UW-Baraboo/Sauk County professor Mike Jacobs for a presentation about the Ku Klux Klan, America's most infamous and formidable terrorist organization. During the 1920s the KKK tried to cast itself as the true expression of American patriotism and the American people.  Millions of people agreed - joining the organization and diversifying their activities beyond their reputation of intimidation and violence. Hate in "Spies, Traitors, and Saboteurs"

Fear, Freedom, and Foreigners: Close to Home

Tuesday, July 28, 2015, 6:00 p.m.

Wisconsin reflected locally the national issues that this series, SPIES, TRAITORS, SABOTEURS: Fear and Freedom in America explores.  Dean Strang, J.D.  will present one of these local stories. A 1917 trail of Italian alleged anarchists in Milwaukee, in the first fearful days off this nation's fighting in WWI, became a proxy proceeding for the deadly, unsolved bombing of Milwaukee's central police station.  That nearly-forgotten bombing killed more American police officers than any other act of terror until September 11, 2001.  

Green Bay Architectural History

Tuesday, August 11, 2015, 7:00 p.m.       

Drawing on the architectural and engineering firm's 117+ year history, several members of Berners-Schober will hold a panel discussion on significant Green Bay structures.  The panel will include Ian Griffiths, Libby Parrish, Derek Gruber, and Kristin Pritchard, along with other firm members who were involved in researching their current Neville exhibit featuring the firm's buildings.  They will discuss the chronology of Green Bay's development through the work of the firm, and answer questions on historic business, public, and residential buildings.

100 Years of Collecting Shoes

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The museum’s newest display features seven pairs of shoes.  You can find them in the lobby, in a special case dedicated to exhibiting unique aspects of the museum’s collection during our centennial year.  The shoes on display here are only a small fraction of what lies in the museum’s collection. Since 1915 the museum has collected 339 pairs of shoes in all shapes, sizes, and styles including moccasins, slippers, sabots and boots.   (Fun fact: one of our most recent additions is a pair of 20th century Hmong funeral slippers.) 

 

 The shoes currently on display were chosen because they represent how women’s footwear evolved between 1830 and 1920.  Throughout the 19th century, even though shoes were meant to be functional, heels grew and vibrant colors became more common.  In the 1920s fashionable shoes became even more popular as skirt lines ascended.  Decorative aspects were added and heels became more important for they gave the foot a sleeker and more feminine look. 

These shoes will be on display through the end of September. In October we’ll roll out another part of our collection!  

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Why See an Exhibit about Brown County Architecture?

Thursday, June 04, 2015

When many of us hear that there is an exhibit at the museum about “architecture” we may not get overly excited, especially when we are looking forward to major traveling exhibits about spies and deep water exploration.  When I was hired three months ago as the new Assistant Curator I was excited for Spies, Traitors, & Saboteurs (now open through September 6th) but I was also intrigued by an exhibit focused on one architectural firm and its body of work in Brown County.  During my first 8 weeks on the job, my main focus was working with a team to prepare this “architecture” exhibit called Building Our Community: 100+ Years of Architecture & Design in Brown County.    It didn’t take long for me to realize that the remarkable story this exhibit tells goes  far beyond some old blueprints.  This exhibit is an exploration of how one architecture firm, Berners-Schober Associates, has changed the landscape of Northeastern Wisconsin and how their work has touched thousands of lives throughout the last century.  People live, work, and play every day within the walls of their designs.  What this firm has created in their lifetime is deeply rooted in our community’s history and has shaped the way people of Brown County live their lives. 

 YMCA Downtown Green Bay Postcard (18.1988.115)When you experience this exhibit you may be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work the Berners-Schober firm has done since its inception in 1898, but the reality is that what is displayed here is only the tip of the iceberg.  During the firm’s lifetime, they have been involved in thousands of projects; this exhibit only includes 175 of these undertakings.  To get the most out of this exhibit you will need to visit more than once, and you will want to. These are buildings we all visit at one time or another; the Brown County Public Library, the Downtown YMCA, Bay Beach Pavilion, and East High School, just to name a few. If you live in Brown County it’s undoubted that you have spent time in at least one of these buildings.  

 While growing up in Brown County I spent countless hours in several of these buildings but didn’t give any thought about how they came to be or their architectural significance.  After living elsewhere for the last 5 years I’m happy to be back in Green Bay and this exhibit process has been an opportunity for me to get reacquainted my hometown and its history.  I hope it does the same for others and encourages visitors to stop and take a look at the architectural beauty that surrounds us in Brown County.  Building Our Community is open now through March 2016.  

 

Lisa Zimmerman, Curator


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