Native American Heritage Month: Ada Deer
Nov. 19, 2021 4:22 pm
Ada Deer was born in Keshena, WI as a member of the Menominee Tribe in 1935. She lived most of her first eighteen years of life on the Menominee Indian Reservation in a cabin without electricity or running water. Her mother instilled in her a drive and passion to be a strong advocate for Native American rights. Ada was the first Menominee to earn an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin and the first Native American to receive a Master of Social Work degree from Columbia University.
She went on to become the first woman chair for the Menominee Tribe in Wisconsin. She played a major role in the Menominee Restoration Act of 1972, which officially returned the Menominee Reservation to federally recognized status. She acted as a spokesperson in Washington, D.C. and lobbied to return federal recognition and protection to the tribe.
She was then elected chairperson of the Menominee Restoration committee and had the task of making the transition back to reservation status. There were many frustrations during the process. Eventually in 1976, the tribal roles were validated, and an electorate was created to vote on a constitution and bylaws. Soon after this process, Ada resigned.
Ada later went on to teach at the University of Wisconsin and eventually worked as a legislative liaison for the Native American Rights Fund in Washington, D.C. She became the first American Indian to run for statewide office in Wisconsin as Secretary of State. In 1993, Ada became the first Native American woman to be appointed assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, as head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She helped set federal policy for more than 550 federally recognized tribes while in office.
"I knew that when I became the Assistant Secretary, that I would have a hard time. All the "-isms" were immediately against me from day one: sexism, racism, elitism, classism. Women have their [proper place] in society and being American Indian was another whole thing. I plowed ahead anyway but it was very hard, it was an ordeal everyday, and it was a lot of physical strength and psychological strength and endurance and I did as much as I could despite all the "isms" and the barriers that people put up to prevent me from doing things."
Segment from "Interview with Ada Deer." Interviewed by Robert Lange Wisconsin State Historical Society. -
Local Protests of the Kent State Shootings
May 3, 2021 10:55 am
Richard Nixon ran for President in 1968 with the promise that he would end the Vietnam War. However, on April 30, 1970, President Nixon announced on live television and radio that the United States would be invading Cambodia. This led to many protests on campuses across the country. Protestors at Kent State University in Ohio launched a demonstration on Friday, May 1st, including various types of rallies and speeches. That evening, socializing in downtown Kent quickly escalated into a violent confrontation between protestors and police, which included building bonfires, stopping cars, throwing bottles at police cars, and breaking store windows. This prompted the Mayor of Kent, Leroy Satrom, to contact the governor of Ohio requesting assistance from the Ohio National Guard. On May 3rd, approximately 1,000 National Guard soldiers were sent to the Kent State campus and tensions remained high. During an incident on May 4, 1970, members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire into a crowd of Kent State University demonstrators, killing four and wounding nine.
|Students march across the Claude Allouez Bridge from De Pere to Green Bay|
This tragic incident caused more unrest across the country. Almost five hundred colleges were shut down or disrupted by protests. More than 100,000 people demonstrated against the war in Vietnam and the killing of unarmed students in Washington D.C. just five days after the shooting. The events at Kent State have been referenced in documentaries, plays, film and television, and music. One of the best known responses to the deaths at Kent State was the protest song "Ohio" written by Neil Young for Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.
|A group of protesters sit in demonstration outside a federal building in Green Bay.|
Opposition to the Vietnam War and the events at Kent State led to protests here in Wisconsin as well. People in Green Bay also participated in demonstrations. These photographs were taken for the Green Bay Press Gazette on May 6, 1970 and show demonstrations in the area related to the Kent State shootings. See more photographs at photos.nevillepublicmuseum.org.
Demonstrators march in downtown Green Bay
Apr. 30, 2021 12:19 pm
One of the things we are excited about for the Generations Gallery going forward is that the space allows us to make changes and rotate artifacts. The exhibit opened in August 2020, and we are excited to share we opened our first new rotation last week!
The first rendition of the Art section featured Nature in Art. Now we are rotating in Portraits. These depictions of people from all different time periods and backgrounds are all from the Neville Public Museum's collection. You might even recognize a few artist or sitters. Here are 5 things you want to look for!
George Catlin (1796-1872), well-known for his paintings of Native Americans, drew a series of self-portraits in 1821. They found their way to Green Bay through his nephew, Theodore Burr Catlin.
George Catlin did the self-portraits at night, before a mirror, simulating facial expressions of various emotions. The drawings all have similar facial outlines and hairlines; the eyes and mouth, however, differ with the feelings he portrayed.
Soon after, Catlin began a journey crossing the United States from the Great Lakes to the Rockies and into the southwest Mexican territory. He visited more than 45 Native American tribes between 1830 and 1836 and created more than 600 portraits of Native American life. He spent part of 1836 in the area he referred to as Ouisconsin, painting the Menominee, Winnebago, and Chippewa tribes. He briefly stopped in Green Bay during that same year.
The drawings were given to Theodore Catlin in 1839, when he was in New York studying art with his uncle George. The younger Catlin and his family settled in Green Bay sometime before the Civil War. After returning from military service in the 1870s, Theodore opened a shop, "Fresco and Ornamental Painter." It was located on North Washington Street, over Cook's Marine Saloon.
Theodore's business did not go well, and he either sold or traded the Catlin drawings to Robert Cook, the Saloon's owner. They hung behind the bar for decades-subjects of curiosity and frequent toasts. After Robert Cook's death, they became the property of his son, James. In 1919, James gave the drawings to the Green Bay Public Museum, now the Neville Public Museum.
The American painter John Vanderlyn painted a full-length image of Ariadne while studying painting in Paris in 1814. Vanderlyn was an acclaimed artist in Paris, a friend of Vice President Aaron Burr, and known in New York for portraits of Andrew Jackson and James Monroe, but he never met with popular success for his images of Greek and Roman history and myth. After his return to America in 1815, Vanderlyn exhibited his Ariadne Asleep on the Isle of Naxos to a storm of criticism, as the work was the first important painting of a nude woman in the history of American art. Angry, Vanderlyn replied that Ariadne represented the grand tradition of European art and literature.
In classical Greek myth, Ariadne was the daughter of the king of Crete. Ariadne fell in love with the Greek hero, Theseus, who came to Crete on a quest to kill the Minotaur, a monster the Cretan king kept in a famous maze, called the Labyrinth. Ariadne helped Theseus kill the Minotaur, and the two escaped to the island of Naxos, where Theseus abandoned her. Bacchus, the Greek God of Love and Wine discovered Ariadne, asleep, rescued and later married her. The lovely heroine, Ariadne, was a popular subject in European painting from the time of the Renaissance.
This painting of Ariadne differs from the 1814 painting. In the original, the young woman is shown full-length, sleeping in a meadow, and Theseus' ship is seen sailing away in the distance. Purchased by Green Bay's Morgan L. Martin sometime in the 1830s, this version hung at Martin's home, Hazelwood, throughout his lifetime. Perhaps Martin, who also chose the Greek Revival architectural style for Hazelwood, agreed with the artist that the painting symbolized the type of culture and learning Martin believed desirable for Green Bay.
Tammy Konitzer Williams
13 is the newest piece in the exhibit. It was a part of the 2020 Art Annual, a juried art show hosted by the museum each year. It represents the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution: Section 1, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." Section 2, "Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."
The piece led to many conversations in the 2020 show and the museum staff felt it was important to add to the museum's permanent collection. While it's not your classic portrait it belongs among the rest as a representation of social issues today.
King Louis XVI
This piece has been in the museum's care for almost 100 years. It's been studied and conserved but still has a few mysteries including who the artist is. It is alleged to have been painted by the great French artist Jean Auguste D. Ingres.
The story of the painting goes like this:
In 1848, when Eleazer Williams was returning from a trip east, he stopped overnight at Temperance Inn, Sheboygan. The next morning, he went to the Sheboygan House and called for this painting, which had been left there addressed to him. He returned with it to Temperance Inn, where he opened it and told the onlookers it was a portrait of Louis XVI sent to him by the Prince of Joinville. The picture is painted on wood and was wrapped in the unfolded pages of a French book.
On his trip east, Williams had collected a great deal of clothing and equipment for the Oneida, and as he traveled in an open wagon over dirt roads, was afraid the painting might be damaged on this trip. He left it with Cordelis Brown, wife of the innkeeper, with instructions not to let anyone see it and not to give it to anyone without handwritten instructions from him.
Two years later, Williams went east to Hogansburgh, N.Y., where he died in 1858. Doubtless he never told anyone where he left the painting as it was never called for and remained in Mrs. Brown's family until 1926. It was then purchased for this Museum from Mrs. Francis Talmadge, Sheboygan, who was the grand-niece of Mrs. Cordelis Brown.
When Mrs. Talmadge was selling it she used an art dealer from New York who alleged the artist may be Jean Auguste D. Ingres. Ingres painted portraits of French royalty around this time and was inconsistent on how be marked his work.
Two portraits selected about a year ago were somewhat damaged and have been in the collection since the early 1900s. These paintings of Native American men are signed by F. R. Grout. The notes on the gift receipt indicate that they were found in collection in 1964 but are considered to be part of the Frank J. B. Duchateau collection. We don't know much about the artist or if they were painted from life or something Grout saw somewhere else or read about, but we knew if we wanted to display them they'd need some conservation. Both pieces were extremely dirty and needed cleaning, restoration, and frames. One had evidence of water damage, which was addressed by the conservator.
The Neville Public Museum Foundation was happy to help with this endeavor. They funded the cleaning, restoration, and framing for the protection of the portraits for years to come. Check out the before and after photos! -
On this Day: President Lincoln Laid to Rest
Apr. 26, 2021 2:50 pm
Abraham Lincoln was laid to rest on April 28, 1865 in Springfield, Illinois. Following his assassination two weeks earlier, his body was laid in state in the nation's capital and was transported to Springfield by train. Lincoln spent time in Wisconsin during his brief military career, serving in the Black Hawk War, and last visited the state in 1859 as a potential presidential candidate.
The Neville Public Museum is proud to hold in our collection a signed photograph of the president and his son Tad, taken in 1864. Lincoln rarely signed photographs, but two signed copies were gifted to the president's secretary Gustav Matile about one year before Lincoln's death. After Lincoln was assassinated, Matile worked as a lawyer in Minnesota and then served as U.S. Court Commissioner for Wisconsin's Eastern District in Green Bay. When Matile died in 1908, he gave the photograph to the Kellogg Public Library, where it was kept until sold to the Green Bay & De Pere Antiquarian Society in 2007.The image was used on popular commemorative cards and prints after Lincoln's death, but the Neville Public Museum holds one of the only two known original prints, and the president's signature makes this photograph exceptionally uncommon.
Green Bay's Titanic Ties are Unsinkable
Apr. 14, 2021 1:22 pm
On April 14, 1912 the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic. It sank less than three hours later in the early morning of April 15, 1912. The sinking of the RMS Titanic may feel distant in time and place but Green Bay has deep connections to the disaster.
Dr. William E. Minahan, who died on the Titanic, is buried in a crypt in Woodlawn Cemetery, visible from Riverside Drive. Dr. Minahan was traveling home from Europe with his wife, Lillian, and sister, Daisy, after an extended vacation abroad. The Minahans had planned on sailing home sooner but a coal strike prevented their intended ship from leaving. They thought they were lucky having been able to book first class tickets on Titanic, but history would prove otherwise.
On the night of the sinking, Dr. Minahan put his wife and sister into a lifeboat telling his wife, "Be brave. No matter what happens, be brave." Those were Dr. Minahan's final words. His family received news on April 27, 1912 that Dr. Minahan's body, one of only 340 of the nearly 1500 that perished, had been recovered.
Dr. W.E. Minahan had many siblings, some of whom lived in Green Bay. You may recognize the Minahan name; the Minahan-McCormick Building, owned by W.E.'s brother John, was a prominent Downtown Green Bay building until it was razed in 1984. Another brother, Robert, was also a physician in Green Bay. Sister Daisy, who survived the Titanic, was a popular school teacher in Green Bay.
Much lore surrounds Dr. Minahan's voyage and death on the Titanic. Before their trip abroad, it's said that a fortune teller told him he would die on his second trip to Europe, a prediction he took seriously enough to buy a larger life insurance policy. Decades later, in August of 1987, the family would again be struck by tragedy. Dr. Minahan's crypt in Woodlawn Cemetery was robbed.
The next time you're in Green Bay driving down Minahan St. or past where the Minahan Building once stood, take a moment to remember Green Bay's personal connection to one of the great tragedies of the twentieth century.
Broad, William J. (2012, April 14). Experts Split on Possibility of Remains at Titanic Site. The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/science/titanic-may-hold-passengers-remains-officials-say.html
Gores, Stan (1968, April 12). Led Wife and Sister to Safety; Dr. Minahan Stayed on Titanic. Fond du Lac Commonwealth Reporter.
Scarborough, Mark (1998, April 18). Family here got news of ships sinking. The Daily Tribune, p. 3A.
Tianen, Dave. (1986, September 14). Lesson in humility. Green Bay Press Gazette, Scene-5. -
Women of Brown County: Syble Hopp
Mar. 30, 2021 11:55 am
Syble interviewed for a teaching position with the 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 deserved 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: Alydia Braskamp
Mar. 23, 2021 11:38 am
What makes someone a hero? Is it their selflessness and empathy? Their instinct to help others? If these are the requirements, Alydia Braskamp exceeded all of these characteristics. She proved her compassion and courage through her service in World War I, working as a nurse under Dr. Bellin, and the creation of the Baby Health Center.
Alydia was born in Alton, Iowa in 1883 and moved to Green Bay in 1917 when she was 34 years old; but she did not stay long. The First World War had started, and she was called away to serve with the Red Cross. Alydia was stationed near Bordeaux, France. As a woman in the early 1900s, Alydia was given work as a nurse in an operating room and with ambulances. She also did some field work and documented the experience through a photo album, which the Neville cares for as part of the Collection. The photographs show devastating scenes after attacks, the morgue, ceremonies, and life at the base. In France, Alydia assisted the war effort, served those on the battlefront, and documented a critical point in history. She was left with lasting sinus issues caused by sleeping on the dusty ground in France.
After being honorably discharged in 1919, Alydia returned to Green Bay and began working as the Assistant Supervisor of Nurses and Instructor at the Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing (now Bellin College). She eventually established the Baby Health Center which provided care for infants and advice for new mothers in the area.
The hardship and horrors that Alydia saw during the war made her more determined than ever to provide care and courtesy to the people around her. Her dedication on the field in France carried over to her life in Green Bay. Alydia spent the rest of her life serving the Green Bay area and improving the quality of life for its residents. She is just one of the many nurses whose dedication and selflessness have helped shape our community. -
Women's History Month: Helen Ferslev
Mar. 19, 2021 3:14 pm
Helen was a devoted educator, talented artist, and a local history advocate in Green Bay. Helen is particularly important to the Neville because without her we may not be where we are today. In honor of all she's done for our community and the museum we want to share just a few of her accomplishments.Helen is one of several special women that lived here in Brown County that valued the arts and the preservation of history. Helen's dedication to preservation of history is most evident in her hard work to make our current museum building a reality. Helen served as President of the Neville Public Museum Corporation. Before 1983 the museum sat in a smaller and less conducive building on Jefferson St. Helen fought for a new facility that was eventually supported by the county, the city, and private donors, a true community project. Here is Helen breaking ground with the County Executive, the Mayor, and the Museum Director.
We have several artifacts in our collection that reflect Helen's continued dedication to education, local history, and the arts. The collection includes a diary, scrapbooks, and letters from her time in London in 1948 and 1949 when she participated in the Teacher Exchange Program. We also care for awards given to her for her many accomplishments in education and here at the museum. Helen's focus on education and interest in history led her to co-author the text book "It Happened Here" in 1949. We have a copy of it in our research library. Later in life she continued her education by taking different art courses. Works of art she created are also held in our collection.
|Neville Foundation president, Helen Ferslev, Mayor Samuel Halloin, Brown County Executive Donald Holloway, and Museum Director, James Quinn, break ground in 1981 for a new museum.
The museum is thankful for people like Helen that continually support our mission and fight to preserve local history and engage the arts.
Women's History Month: Elizabeth Baird
Mar. 12, 2021 3:51 pm
Elizabeth moved to rough and tumble Green Bay in 1824, right after she married Henry Baird at age 14. When she moved here, she did not speak English very well, which made it difficult to talk to her new neighbors. In addition to language barriers, her husband, the lawyer, bought a farm thinking he could manage both businesses. He couldn't. Elizabeth ran the farm and raised their four daughters. She also helped out at her husband's law office. She would translate at the office and even recorded deed records. Elizabeth spoke fluent Ottawa, French, and English.
Not only did Elizabeth serve her family, she also served the community. After the Peshtigo Fire in 1871, she spearheaded the relief effort. Items for the victims poured in from across the country, and Elizabeth dispersed the gifts. She also wrote a history of Green Bay during her lifetime. Her stories depict daily happenings, special events, and historically significant moments. These serve as a wealth of information for researchers today.
Women's History Month: Deborah Beaumont Martin
Mar. 12, 2021 3:11 pm
On the shelves in every historic institution in Brown County sits a two volume, 900 page historic work called "History of Brown County." Published in 1913, this compilation of historic data was the result of hard work that Deborah Martin was only paid $150 to complete.
Historian Glenn Toule said it best after Deborah's passing, "it is in the field of history that Miss Martin made her greatest contribution to Green Bay and Brown County." Thanks to her diligence and work, the history of our area has been preserved for us and future generations.
Deborah's fascination with the community and the people who made it led her to work as a librarian and historian for more than 30 years. She ran the Kellogg Public Library at a time before women could even vote.
Deborah was also instrumental in creating a public museum. She was part of the Green Bay Art Club that started the Green Bay Public Museum (now the Neville). At the time of her death she was the President of the Board of Directors for the Museum Corporation. We are grateful to Deborah and women like her who kept history alive for generations to come.
Mar. 9, 2021 12:56 pm
Here at the Neville Public Museum, we care for an extensive doll collection. This collection houses dolls from around the world and even includes some Barbie dolls. The Barbie dolls in our collection range in date from the 1950s through the 1990s.This Barbie was received as a gift from the Neville Public Museum Corporation. It was purchased from Georgia Rankin, a Barbie Doll collector from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in the 1960's. The black and white swimsuit being worn by the doll is the original outfit traditionally worn by dolls manufactured from 1959-1961.
This picture shows one of the newer Barbie dolls in our collection. It is a part of the Hollywood Legends Collection/Collector's Edition and represents Glinda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz. It was a gift from the Neville Public Museum Corporation in 1995.
Although both of these dolls are manufactured by the same company, they were created using different materials. This means we have to care for these dolls in different ways. Our Glinda the Good Witch doll was manufactured in the 90's and was donated in her original box. This allows us to store the doll with our other dolls in storage. The Barbie from Georgia Rankin is not stored with the other dolls in our collection; she is actually stored in our freezer with lower humidity. We do this because the doll was made using earlier plastics. The plastics used for Barbie dolls manufactured in the 50's and early 60's utilized PVC, which is brittle. In order to make Barbie flexible, they added a plasticizer when the doll was being molded. As these dolls age, the plasticizer can ooze out of the doll and form a tacky slime across the surface. This is why some dolls can appear to be wet. Warm and humid environments can cause the oozing to occur earlier. By storing some of our Barbie dolls in the freezer, we are slowing this process.
Research Technician -
Women's History Month: Mildred Hollman Smith
Mar. 5, 2021 3:05 pm
"Seize your opportunities," Mildred Smith (1893-1996) would always say. She lived by these words to make her city a better place. Mildred saw a need for environmental reform in Green Bay. She helped create the Green Bay Air Pollution Department and served on the Mayor's Committee for a Cleaner Green Bay. This work led to Green Bay receiving the All-American City Award in 1965. She was one of 20 women invited to the Beautification Conference in Washington, D.C.
Mildred was also active in the League of Women Voters, the YWCA, and on the board of the Family Service Agency. She even served for 40 years on the Tank Cottage Board. Mildred worked tirelessly to make Green Bay a better place for all of its residents.
Who is Eveline Scheckler?
Mar. 2, 2021 3:00 pm
African American Settlement in Nineteenth Century Brown County
Eveline Scheckler, an African American woman, lived in De Pere from 1848 until her death in 1871. Though it is not widely known today, in the nineteenth century a small but steadily growing population of African Americans made Northeast Wisconsin their home. Eveline was one member of this community. The number of African Americans living here peaked in the 1890s, and plummeted in the early twentieth century. As a historian, this demographic data identifies a story I really want to understand. I began researching the history of African Americans in Northeast Wisconsin in 2011.
Why did Eveline Scheckler Move to De Pere in 1848?
Eveline first appears in the local historical record in 1850. She lived with Rebecca Schell Loy and David Loy, early white De Pere settlers. The Loys preserved their family papers and donated them to the Neville Public Museum. Eveline appears in them regularly, which allows us knowledge of certain aspects of her life.
In Pennsylvania in 1825, Peter Schell, father of Rebecca, took in the orphaned five-year-old Eveline. Eveline and Rebecca grew up together. When Rebecca married and moved to Wisconsin in 1847, Eveline joined her a year later. The Loy papers indicate that in some ways the Loys saw Eveline as family, but the papers also indicate a far more complicated story. In language evoking a very different status, one Loy identified Eveline as "our colored maid." Eveline lived with the Loys until her death in 1871, cooking for the family and helping to raise their sons.
|Eveline is buried with the Loy Family at Woodlawn Cemetery in Green Bay.|
What don't we know about Eveline Scheckler?
Numerous aspects of Eveline's life remain unknown. How was she orphaned; why did she land in the Schell home? Who were her parents; what were their lives? Documentation expanding our knowledge of her early life might exist in Pennsylvania, so some of these questions may be answerable. What will probably never be found are sources giving us Eveline's own telling of her life story. The primary sources we draw upon to understand the past reflect the American history of white supremacy and injustices. The written sources available to us are influenced by many things. Who can read and write, and thus record their experiences and perspectives? What documents are kept; which are discarded? Which make it into archives and are thus available to researchers like me? In short, whose voices get preserved, and whose voices are misrepresented or omitted? As an African American servant in the mid-nineteenth century, Eveline was one of many people who were unlikely to be able to accurately record their own lives. Our knowledge of Eveline Scheckler comes only from the perspective of those who, though they said they loved her, also ascribed her servile status.
Women's History Month
Aspects of Eveline's life illustrate broader elements of African American women's history. Racism limited the jobs open to free African American women and directed them disproportionately to domestic work. Northeast Wisconsin was no exception to this phenomenon. In a parallel to Eveline's experience, many other African American women living here in the nineteenth century worked as servants, washerwomen, seamstresses, milliners, and hairdressers.
Victoria B. Tashjian
Professor of History
St. Norbert College -
Conservation of a Green Bay Ranger Coat
Mar. 1, 2021 3:27 pm
This military coat dates back to the 1840s and belonged to Morgan L. Martin. Martin held several different posts in Green Bay including Indian Agent, Judge, and Captain of the Green Bay Rangers. This is Martin's Green Bay Ranger jacket.
The preservation of this artifact is important not only because it belonged to Morgan L. Martin (1805-1887) but also because of its association with the Green Bay Rangers. Martin came to Wisconsin in 1827 and became a prominent civic leader in the area. In 1836, Governor of the Wisconsin Territory, Henry Dodge, created an organized militia. Gov. Dodge claimed that there was danger in the defenseless borders of the territory and that there were threats of armed conflicts with natives. He proposed that there should be one company of cavalry troops in each territorial county. March 5, 1837 may have been the first commissioning of a Wisconsin militia field commander as Dodge designated Morgan L. Martin as Captain of the Green Bay Rangers. The Rangers were a mounted rifleman unit. This is also believed to be the birth of the Wisconsin National Guard.
This Green Bay Rangers coat has been in the museum's care since 1935. While we've taken care of the coat for over 85 years, time sometimes takes its toll on textiles, leaving areas of loss (the holes you see).
The coat was sent out for conservation in 2016. Thanks to a grant from the Green Bay and De Pere Antiquarian Society, the coat was sent to the Midwest Art Conservation Center. The work kept these areas of loss from getting bigger and preserved the structural integrity of the jacket. The conservation team also created a pattern of the coat which will help us create a replica in the future. Both the conservation and pattern help us preserve this piece of Green Bay history for future generations.
This project would not have been possible without the Green Bay and De Pere Antiquarian Society. We thank them for their shared interest in preserving our local history.
First African American in Pro Football Hall of Fame Played for the Packers
Feb. 24, 2021 11:54 am
Moving from New York to Green Bay in 1959 was a bit of a culture shock for Emlen Tunnell. Housing, as always, was hard to find. Tunnell ended up staying at the Hotel Northland in downtown Green Bay during his two seasons with the Packers. It is rumored that Coach Lombardi even paid for the room and board.
Coach Lombardi brought the New York Giants veteran player with him when he took the job in Green Bay. Not only was Tunnell a seasoned defensive veteran, he was also a well-respected leader on and off the field. He assisted Coach Lombardi in changing the mindset of the team and led the defense. He also aided in bringing other talented black players to Green Bay.
"Em was a very bright guy who helped me tremendously. He had been around so long, one of the first black stars in the league, and for me just to have the opportunity to hang around him, I was awed by that."- Willie Wood
Tunnell played for Green Bay for three seasons after which he became an NFL scout. In 1967, the Pro-Football Hall of Fame inducted Tunnell making him the first black player to receive the honor.
"Emlen was a pretty special guy," Kramer said. "He was a pro's pro. He was a classy and bright guy as well. Emlen was a fierce competitor. He also helped tutor the young defensive backs like Willie Wood and Herb Adderley."- Jerry Kramer
Where did African American Packers Players Live in the 1950s & 1960s?
Feb. 17, 2021 1:01 pm
Imagine moving to a new city for a dream job. The first thing you do is look for a place to live. What do you do if you can't find one? This is what African American players faced when they moved to Green Bay. Jim Crow laws and racism were most evident in the South, but racism was also present in the North. For example, a De Pere development barred African Americans and Jewish people from living there in 1948. This was only two years before Bob Mann (the first African American player to start for the team) joined the Packers.
With few places willing to rent to them, African American players were forced to live in small cabins, the YMCA, and hotels. Some even stayed in a room at an extermination business owned by former player Tony Canadeo's brother. When Herb Adderley came to Green Bay, he lived in the "little shack down by the tracks." In 1961, Adderley, Davis, and Pitts shared a one-bedroom place on Velp Avenue.
African Americans living in Green Bay faced many of the same challenges whether they played football or not. Housing was hard to find without facing discrimination. For example, in 1959, the Wisconsin State Reformatory hired Joseph Harris, an African American social worker. Joseph met discrimination when attempting to buy a home in Green Bay. He was also subject to race-based harassment. Harris said in a Green Bay Press-Gazette article: "[t]here would be rotten eggs and vegetables on my porch in the morning. Once someone painted 'nigger go home' on my door. But a deliveryman washed it off."
Coach Lombardi did what he could to help ensure decent housing for his players. Things started to change when the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968. The act prohibits discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, or sex. While both Lombardi's help and the Fair Housing Act were steps in the right direction, it was still difficult finding a place to live in a predominantly white community.
 Tashjian, Victoria. "Area Home to Growing Black Population in 19th Century," Green Bay Press-Gazette, June 11, 2015.
 Christl, Cliff. Packers Heritage Trail: The Town, The Team, The Fans From Lambeau to Lombardi. Stevens Point, Wisconsin: KCI Sports Publishing, 2017.
 Adderley, Herb, Dave Robinson, and Royce Boyles. Lombardi's Left Side. Olathe, Kansas: Ascend Books, 2012.
 "Welcome Joe Harris," Green Bay Press-Gazette, February 21, 1961.
 Knaus, Bob. "No Race Problem Here? Homes, Jobs Hard to Find for Negroes in Green Bay," Green Bay Press-Gazette, June 2, 1963.
 "Fair Housing- It's Your Right," HUD.GOV, accessed July 2018, https://www.hud.gov/topics/housing_discrimination. -
1826 Fort Howard Love Letter
Feb. 11, 2021 1:43 pm
With Valentine's Day right around the corner we wanted to share a love letter from Fort Howard written in 1826. Unfortunately, this letter isn't all hugs and kisses. Lt. Loring's "dear Caroline" never received this letter that was given to John Lawe for delivery.
Caroline, the 16-year-old daughter of the fort's Commanding Officer, Major William Whistler, was being courted not only by Lt. Loring, but also Lt. Bloodgood. In the end, Caroline never received the letter and married Lt. Bloodgood. This water stained letter in our collection is all that remains of Lt. Loring and Caroline Whistler's short-lived romance.
Read the letter for yourself below!
Fort Howard, Sunday morning
My dear Caroline,
A short time before I left this place I mentioned to you that Mr. Bloodgood had said to me that he was desirous of speaking to me on a particular subject & that I thought it was concerning you and myself this turned out to be the fact for on the day previous to our regiment's starting, he in conversation with me stated his feelings toward you & wished to know from me positively our situation in regard to each other, at the same time disavowing any wish to supplant me in your esteem or affection- he was so frank in his avowal & remarks- that I was led to declare to him what I did then & must still believe to be the fact- that I considered myself bound and engaged to you by every tie that could possibly bind a man of honor to the woman he loved & that nothing but your father's consent was in the way of our being united before I left the bay- he appeared satisfied and requested permission to mention the conversation to your parents and yourself, as he thought it necessary to account you and them for discontinuing his visits and attentions which from regard to me he intended doing. I told him I had no objection to his telling you what I had said- but being fearful that your mother would be offended and probably make your time more disagreeable, I requested him not speak to your parents on the subject & continue his visits as usual.
Yesterday he walked out with me and told me that he had spoken to you on the subject a few days after I left- & that you stated to him the amount of what follows- "That you did not consider that there was any engagement between us- that I had formerly been very attentive to you, but for some time past had neglected you very much- that your parents had objected to your marriage with me & for this reason & your having been advised by your friends not to connect yourself with me, you had concluded that we never should be married & in fact considered me as only a common acquaintance"
The above, Caroline, is as near as I can recollect the amount of what he told me- but I shall make no comment upon it for I cannot unless I hear from yourself believe that you are so much altered- there must have been some mistake.
I must see you if possible Caroline & immediately, therefore I wish you to make some arrangement to pass the evening from home& inform me what I shall meet you- say at the doctor's, or you might walk in the garden with Rachel and your Cousin Abbot-
Nothing that may happen will ever change my feeling towards you & believe me my dear girl,
Yours as truly as ever,
Lisa Kain, Curator -
Delay of Game Explores African American History
Feb. 10, 2021 11:49 am
During my internship at the Neville, I had the opportunity to work on Delay of Game: Experiences of African American Football Players in Titletown (2018-2019). When first told about the exhibition, I was thrilled to hear of the museum's plans to explore African American history. But, because Delay of Game centers on the Packers, I worried football would overshadow the stories off the field. Thankfully, I was wrong. Not only did I learn more about the Packers, but also more about the community I grew up in. I found that the African American history of the Packers, and Brown County, reflected wider social histories.
Packers First African American Player
Bob Mann was the first African American Packer to play a regular season game. Recruited in 1950, Mann joined the team just four years after Kenny Washington signed to the Rams in 1946 (One year before Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers). Washington was the first black NFL player since 1933.
|Bob Mann was the first African American to play in a regular season game for the Packers in 1950|
Packers and Jim Crow
Into the 1960s the Packers continued to integrate football. The team broke black player restrictions and bypassed Jim Crow hotel rules. While there was still much progress to be made in professional sports, Green Bay was at the forefront of player equality. That does not mean that black players had it easy. During his first trip to the South, Willie Wood was subject to discrimination. He was thrown out of a hotel lobby, and a cab, because they were white only. Before making it to his hotel room, Wood was fuming. The treatment that Wood faced was far too common in the black community.
NFL Commissioner Tries to Stop an Interracial Marriage in Green Bay
|1961 Green Bay Packers Team|
Lionel Aldridge, however, faced difficulty in Wisconsin. Aldridge wanted to marry his college girlfriend, Vicky, but had to think twice because she was white. Cookie Gilchrist had been blacklisted from the NFL for his interracial marriage, and Aldridge feared he faced the same fate. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle visited Green Bay and attempted to stop the marriage. In 1967, the same year as Loving v. Virginia, Aldridge married Vicky.
Through my internship, I gained museum education and knowledge about my hometown. It is important for people to take the time to learn about their community and the people within. Different people are subjected to different experiences; we all must be aware of that. Not everyone shares the same privileges, as Delay of Game shows. Jordy Nelson sums it up well, "... just because I don't see it, it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist."
University of Wisconsin -
The Murder of Lt. Foster and His Frock Coat
Feb. 1, 2021 3:40 pm
In the Generations Gallery, you can get lost in all the stories and artifacts between the mastodon and the 1908 Holsman Car. But the stories untold in the exhibit are even more remarkable. There is one storied blue military coat tucked in a drawer in the Exposed Collections wall. The story of the coat owner's fate is captivating.
|Painting of Fort Howard from 1889 by B. Ostertac|
189 years ago, 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 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.
|Entry point of the bullet that killed Lt. Foster|
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. 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|
In the old exhibit "On the Edge of the Inland Sea" the real coat was not on exhibit, instead there was a pristine replica. Why would we not put the real thing out? The coat has been through a lot! It has been through 19th century Wisconsin winters, a gunshot, blood stains, and several years in an attic in Texas. When we were in the initial stages of redesigning the gallery, we knew we wanted to display the real thing. We were able to do this safely in a drawer in the Exposed Collections wall of the Generations Gallery. By being in a drawer it's protected from constant light exposure and damage that can happen when historic textiles are exhibited on mannequins for a long period of time.
There is so much more we can and will share about this special artifact, but nothing beats seeing the real thing.
African American Civil War Veteran Makes His Home in De Pere
Feb. 1, 2021 2:40 pm
Henry Sink was born into slavery in 1830 in Batesville, Alabama. He escaped slavery through unknown means, and by 1864 he and his young family had made their way to Northeast Wisconsin. Sink served in the Union Army during the Civil War. It was the only time he spent away from Wisconsin, with the exception of some time spent in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Though African Americans in nineteenth century Wisconsin faced racism, they persevered and made lives for themselves here. Henry worked in Fond du Lac, Green Bay, and De Pere as a factory fireman, day laborer, and sailor. He learned to read and write here. Henry and his wife were recognized by the Brown County Democrat as "leaders of De Pere's colored population." He was a member of the De Pere post of the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization for Union veterans.
|Image Courtesy of the De Pere Historical Society|
The Civil War abolished slavery, but discrimination and racism continued. In 1900, Henry Sink purchased a home in De Pere, to the unremarkable notice of the local paper. However, Henry would not have been welcome as a De Pere homeowner in subsequent decades, when the gains made by African Americans during Reconstruction faced backlash across the nation.
|The Practice of Klanishness Pamphlet, 1924|
In 1928 in De Pere, the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross less than a half mile north of where Henry had owned his home. In 1948, less than a half mile south of his home, a new De Pere subdivision barred African American (and Jewish) home ownership. Northeast Wisconsin's African American population plummeted in the early decades of the twentieth century.
Content courtesy of Victoria B. Tashjian, Ph.D. -
Jan. 11, 2021 2:47 pm
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 on display in the Generations Gallery. Check it out for yourself!
A Fort Howard Christmas
Dec. 21, 2020 4:02 pm
200 years ago a cheerful holiday feast was held just across the street from the museum near Leicht Park at Fort Howard.
Once a fort officer, Col. McNeil (later commander of Fort Howard 1824-1825), found out how important it was to the French residents of the area to celebrate Christmas, he planned an elaborate party. The officers invited the French, the Americans, and native people living in the area. The 4' o'clock dinner is said to have fed a hundred people. The evening included a feast of fish, bear, and porcupine along with a dance that lasted late into the night.
|An Invitation addressed to Mrs. Lawe for a ball at Fort Howard in 1820.|
A local land surveyor who attended the fort's Christmas dinner/dance in 1823 describes the evening...
The hall was well filled... men and women, were attired in all the grades of dress, from the highest partisan down to the buck-skin coats, pants, petticoat, and moccasins of the aboriginals. Yet as no one of the elite thought himself over-dressed, so, on the other hand, none of the citizens, French or half-breeds reproached themselves with least want or etiquette, or of intended disrespect of their host, on account of costume.
- Albert G. Ellis
The fort hosted several gatherings like this one during its existence. Maj. Zachary Taylor (Commander of Fort Howard 1816-1818 and later President of the United States) had been known for hosting social events but the truth is several officers enjoyed throwing parties, including Col. McNeil. These gatherings led to some interesting stories including one murder and dangerous trip across the river during a violent storm. You can experience these stories in the Generations Gallery.
Lisa Kain, Curator -
Attack on Pearl Harbor and a Wedding Dress
Dec. 7, 2020 7:53 am
"December 7, 1941 A Date Which Will Live in Infamy" - President Franklin D. Roosevelt
The United States entered World War II after a devastating attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941.
The war affected everyday life in the United States, this wedding dress is one example. Katherin Pierick Williams wore this dress when she married U.S. Navy photographer Alan North Williams just three weeks after the attack. Williams was at Pearl Harbor during the attacks. He survived and even took photographs of the events.The dress is part of the Neville Public Museum's collection and the photographs are cared for by the Wisconsin Historical Society. You can see the two together and more stories like this in "Guns and Gowns" open through February 2021.
This war changed the entire structure of the fashion industry. Paris fell to the Germans in 1940 and no longer inspired American and British designers. Britain, feeling the harsh effects of the war, struggled to design new fashions. But Hollywood continued to inspire American designers.
The NY Dress Institute designed this dress. The Institute was formed before the U.S. entered the war in 1941 to promote New York as the fashion center of the world, especially since Paris was under control of the Germans at this time. -
Keeping the Holidays Alive
Dec. 3, 2020 4:48 pm
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. One thing you may have noticed in recent years is that the museum decided not to have our dolls move. After extensive review of the dolls' conditions the decision as made to not plug them in for a variety of reasons.
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 in 2016, 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.|
Since 2017, we have decreased the stress put on our dolls to help ensure that we can display them well into the future.
Research Technician -
Green Bay's First African American Football Player
Nov. 30, 2020 9:36 am
Bob (Robert) Mann became the first African American player to play in a regular season game for the Green Bay Packers in 1950. Mid-season in 1950, a line coach for the Packers called Mann and asked him to play. He said no. They called again. This time they were successful in recruiting the receiver to Green Bay. Mann arrived on Saturday and played on Sunday.
But before that, Mann was one of the first African American players signed to the Detroit Lions. He played with them for two seasons.
In 1949, during Bob Mann's second season with the Detroit Lions, the team played the Philadelphia Eagles in New Orleans. Southern tradition banned African American players from playing at the stadium. Mann and his teammates Mel Groomes and Wallace Triplett were not allowed to play.
After discussion with the league, the Lions' head coach Bo McMillin was given the option to break the color barrier. He refused. Instead of playing alongside their teammates, Mann, Groomes, and Triplett listened to the game at one of Mann's relative's homes in New Orleans. "Bo told us he didn't think he should be the one to break it. I thought to myself, 'fine that's his decision.' Bo could have ended all that. He was supposed to be Mr. Great Liberal. But he didn't do it. He just passed it by. He could have been a big guy, a big fellow, but he didn't do it. I've never forgotten that...He had a chance to be a hero, step up to the plate, but he didn't do it."
In 2002, Mann served as honorary captain at the Lions-Packers games. A fitting game considering he broke the color barrier for both teams.
Native American Heritage Month: Purcell Powless
Nov. 23, 2020 3:05 pm
Purcell Powless (1925-2010) served as Oneida Tribal Chairman during one of the most progressive eras for the tribe. He ran for the position and won in 1967 because he saw an opportunity to make a difference in his community. He served in this position until 1990 at which time he retired. During his tenure, he completed several projects that have had a lasting impact, including work on the Oneida Casino, the Radisson Hotel, the Irene Metoxen Moore Community Center, and the Head Start and Tribal School System. The work Purcell and his counterparts accomplished is astounding. The era of change fostered a higher quality of life for the community.
While Purcell received a lot of praise for his work on the council, he never took all the credit. He is remembered as a very humble man. He often credited the women around him for the wonderful things that were happening in the community and recognized the women around him for their hard work and dedication. Purcell believed that women were the foundation of getting things done. -
Native American Heritage Month: Rev. Cornelius Hill
Nov. 17, 2020 10:53 am
Rev. Cornelius Hill (1834-1907) is one of the most prominent figures in the Oneida Nation's history. He is known not only for the titles he held (Chief and Reverend), but for the work he did in his community. Cornelius became Chief of the Bear Clan when he was only 13 years old but did not join the council until he was 18. Chief Hill was the last bloodline Chief of the Oneida.
In the early 1800s, the Oneida were moved to this part of the country from New York. After the Civil War, talks of movement began again with the U.S. government wanting the Oneida to move farther west past the Mississippi River. Cornelius, as a leader and council member, spoke out against this in 1864. "Progress is our motto, you who labor to deprive us of the small spot of God's footstool will labor in vain. We will not sign your treaty; no amount of money can tempt us to sell our people..." - Rev. Cornelius Hill
In 1895, he became the first Oneida Deacon in the Episcopal Church. He also studied to become ordained and finally met that goal in 1903 at the age of 69. Cornelius is most often remembered as a strong-willed and reserved leader who was not afraid to fight for what he felt was best for the Oneida people.
Keen Bloomfield, Julia. The Oneidas, 1909.
Herbert S. Lewis, ed. Oneida Lives: Long-Lost Voices of the Wisconsin Oneidas, 2005.
Loew, Patty. Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal, 2001. -
Women's History Month: Irene (Metoxen) Moore
Nov. 9, 2020 11:53 am
Irene (Metoxen) Moore (1903-1976) was not a typical farmer's wife. She worked tirelessly on the farm, as a mother, and for her community. In 1963, Irene ran for chairman on the Oneida Tribal Council and won. She was Oneida's first woman elected to Tribal Chairperson.
Irene was focused on creating a better quality of life on the reservation. She did this by working on several projects including the Oneida Housing Authority, Oneida Community Area 4-H Club, and by encouraging people to pursue college degrees. Housing, education, and tribal government all improved after she was elected. Irene is remembered as a patient, respectful, and hard-working woman who had a lasting effect on the Oneida Nation.
One of her many projects was to create the Oneida Housing Authority. When she took public office, housing on the reservation was in a poor state of affairs. Many homes in the 1960s did not have indoor plumbing or electricity. The quality of life for her neighbors was unacceptable. Irene spent an enormous amount of effort to start the Authority to fix the situation. By creating the Oneida Housing Authority, she opened the door for Federal Grant Funds that improved the lives of the people living on the reservation.
Native American Heritage Month: Dr. Rosa Minoka Hill
Nov. 3, 2020 1:59 pm
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.
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.
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.
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.
St. Norbert College
* 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/ -
Green Bay's Monster Maker
Oct. 20, 2020 9:19 am
Over the course of my time with The Neville Public Museum I encountered many interesting characters of Brown County's past. However, none fascinate me more than the Dale Kuipers (1947-1996). From comic book creatures, movie monsters, and flowering flora, Dale created sublime works of art and Hollywood special effects.
I had the privilege of becoming familiar with Kuipers resulting from my work on a temporary Neville exhibition, Dale Kuipers: Green Bay's Monster Maker. Unfortunately, learning about Dale was not the easiest task. Due to union conflicts most of his Hollywood film work goes uncredited. Further records are sparse and scattered. Luckily, the Neville provided me a wealth of resources for research. Therefore, I find it befitting to share some of what I found.
Throughout his youth Kuipers constructed dinosaur models in his parent's basement. Using these models he filmed Infant Earth, a creation story documenting the formation of Earth's life. Another project of his, Two Faces of Venus, gained Kuipers national attention through Associated Press. Into the 1970s, Dale worked for several nearby haunted houses, most notably Mackinac Island's The Haunted Theatre.
Opportunity presented itself to Kuipers in 1979 when Universal Studios began filming Somewhere in Time on Mackinac Island. After showing the special effects department his haunted house monsters, Kuipers acquired letters of recommendation to supplement his portfolio. With such recommendations, Dale launched his Hollywood career. Within weeks, Roy Arbogast of Jaws fame reached out to Kuipers and brought him to Hollywood as the Special Effects Sculptor on Caveman. The film allowed Dale to implement his dinosaur expertise and to establish his reputation. Through Rick Baker, Kuipers landed a second job working with Rob Bottin on The Howling. Together the two set out to reimagine the portrayal of werewolves in film. Unfortunately, petroleum distillate poisoning ailed Kuipers and forced him back to Green Bay for recovery.
Months after his return, John Carpenter signed on Kuipers to design a monster for The Thing. In contrast to the movie's final monster, Kuipers believed his was more biologically sound and its origins more fleshed out. Work stopped after Kuipers sustained major injuries and Bottin replaced him.
Back in Green Bay, Kuipers remained active amongst the local art and film communities. Working from his Skylight Gallery on Washington St., he collaborated with theater groups, films, haunted houses, and community events. Despite his fantastical monsters, pastel landscapes were Dale's true love. He remarked that monsters paid the bills so he could pursue more serene scenes. Battling spats of poor health, Dale passed away in July, 1996.
To describe Dale as "fascinating" is an understatement. Through triumphs and trials, Dale continued his passion for art and special effects until death. His imagination opened new worlds and introduced wonderful creatures to his audiences. One must experience his work firsthand to catch a glimpse of his brilliance.
Intern, University of Wisconsin -
Civil War Era Dress Returns After Conservation
Oct. 13, 2020 12:14 pm
Last year the museum debuted its exhibit "Guns and Gowns: 200 Years of Fashion and Firearms." Our women's fashion collection is expansive dating back to the late 1700s (you can see these dresses in the exhibit too). While we have a lot of pieces representing fashion in the late 19th century and 20th century, pieces representing the rest of the 19th century are selective. We do not have many dresses in this mid-19th century style with the hoop skirt. When we came across the dress with the signature silhouette, plaid silk, and puffy sleeve design, we knew we wanted to find a way to exhibit it. The dress was donated by Josephine Buchanan Lenfestey in the 1990s. Because of its condition it has not been
exhibited since its donation. The decision was made to send this dress off for conservation to the Midwest Arts Conservation Center in Minneapolis. Due to the amount of work the dress needed we were aware the dress wouldn't be ready for the opening of the exhibit but were excited to add it to the exhibit when it was finished.
Why Conserve the Dress?
This dress is a great representation of not only fashion, but historically what was happening at the moment in time the dress was made. At this time the skirt's size increased and was worn over voluminous petticoats, crinolines, or hoops. Silhouettes became larger thanks to the influence of Victorian Era fashions from Europe. Lace became more popular and higher in quality thanks to machines invented during the Industrial Revolution. Plaid was also a sign of wealth in Victorian Era fashion.
The Civil War affected every part of life. Before the war, the fashion industry was thriving. Queen Victoria was influencing style. The silk trade opened with Japan in 1853. The Industrial Revolution was making fabric production more efficient. Southern slave-produced cotton was sent to the North for processing in textile mills. But during the war, the fashion industry halted. The United States dedicated every piece of fabric to the war. Based on its design it is believed this dress was made just before the Civil War broke out.
The Dress Returns in Time to be Exhibited in "Guns and Gowns"
Like everything in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic effected our plans. The conservation of the dress was completed earlier this year. The plan was to pick up the dress this past spring and have the dress installed in the exhibit for an exciting summer exhibit line-up. Instead museum staff was forced to wait until September to make the trip to Minneapolis to pick up the dress. When all is said and done, we're happy to have the garment back in our hands, and it is now ready to make its debut in "Guns and Gowns." It will stay there until the end of the exhibit through February 2021.
5 Things You May Not Know about Stompy the Mastodon
Oct. 6, 2020 10:45 am
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 37 years old! Over the years he lost some of his hair but who wouldn't after entertaining the masses for three decades? During the recent renovation museum diorama specialists came in to give Stompy an little upgrade. He was cleaned and even got some new hair additions using the same technique that was used in 1983.
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! -
Mar. 13, 2020 9:00 am
Hello, world! -