The Neville Public Museum

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Women's History Month: Elizabeth Baird

Monday, March 11, 2019
Elizabeth BairdElizabeth 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.


Lisa Kain
Curator 

Women's History Month: Deborah Beaumont Martin

Thursday, February 28, 2019
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 you see around you 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.

Lisa Kain
Curator

First African American in Pro Football Hall of Fame Played for the Packers

Monday, February 25, 2019
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 Lombardi-Era African American Players Live?

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
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 a present in the North. For example, a De Pere development barred African Americans and Jewish people from living there in 1948.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4] 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.”[5]

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.[6] 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.


Learn more about Civil Rights and Green Bay in Delay of Game: Experiences of African American Players in Titletown open through March 24, 2019,

Lisa Kain
Curator

[1] Tashjian, Victoria. “Area Home to Growing Black Population in 19th Century,” Green Bay Press-Gazette, June 11, 2015.
[2] Christl, Cliff. Packers Heritage Trail: The Town, The Team, The Fans From Lambeau to Lombardi. Stevens Point, Wisconsin: KCI Sports Publishing, 2017.
[3] Adderley, Herb, Dave Robinson, and Royce Boyles. Lombardi’s Left Side. Olathe, Kansas: Ascend Books, 2012.
[4] “Welcome Joe Harris,” Green Bay Press-Gazette, February 21, 1961.
[5] Knaus, Bob. “No Race Problem Here? Homes, Jobs Hard to Find for Negroes in Green Bay,” Green Bay Press-Gazette, June 2, 1963.
[6] “Fair Housing- It’s Your Right,” HUD.GOV, accessed July 2018, https://www.hud.gov/topics/housing_discrimination.

African American Civil War Veteran Makes His Home in De Pere

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Image courtesy of the De Pere Historical Society

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.



From the Neville Public Museum Collection
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.


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.



Why is there a Lions Jersey in a Packers exhibit?

Friday, December 21, 2018
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.”
-Bob Mann

In the exhibit “Delay of Game: Experiences of African American Football Players in Titletown” there is a Lions Jersey displayed (on loan from the Mann family). This jersey was given to Mann when we was honorary captain at the Lions vs. Packers game in 2002. A fitting game considering he broke the color barrier for both teams.

Lisa Kain
Curator

Top 5 Moments at the Museum in 2018

Friday, December 21, 2018
On October 26th, the exact anniversary of Brown County becoming the first county west of Lake Michigan, the county threw a birthday bash at the museum. More than 1,000 people joined us for the festivities. The day was full of family fun, cake, performances, and history. The party concluded with a dazzling laser light show projected on the museum!


2. Estamos Aqui wins National and State Awards 
The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) awarded the Neville the Award of Merit for Estamos Aquí (“We are Here”). The AASLH Leadership in History Awards is one of the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. The exhibit was also awarded the Museum Exhibit Award from the Wisconsin Historical Society. Estamos Aquí invited visitors to connect with the growing Latino communities that have made this region their home. The exhibit, which closed in May 2018, highlighted how these Latino populations are making positive contributions to the cultural, economic, and educational landscape of our region. 





A rare and large Civil War Era flag was conserved specially for display in the exhibit Our Brown County this year. This flag has been at the museum since 1934, and it was clear the 157 year old flag needed some care. There was extensive shredding and areas of loss that made it difficult to exhibit and care for. To exhibit the flag safely, while also considering preservation, the piece needed conservation. A highly trained specialist worked on the flag. They supported the flag by hand stitching nylon tulle around the stripes to stabilize the fabric. You can see it for yourself in person until September 2019!


4. Bob Mann’s Family Joins us for Delay of Game Opening
The family of Packers receiver and first African American to play for the team, Bob Mann, traveled to Green Bay to be at the opening of the exhibit Delay of Game: Experiences of African American Players in Titletown. 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). Mann’s daughters Marjorie and Marilyn, along with his wife Vera, also loaned artifacts for the exhibit. Delay of Game is open through March 10, 2019!




5. Morbid Curiosities
Morbid Curiosities returned in 2018 for its third year. This year 300 guests explored artifacts connected to big moments in world history. A game of Clue in Our Brown County added to the Halloween fun! If you missed it this year make sure to get tickets early for next year’s Morbid Curiosities!


Lisa Kain
Curator

A Night at the Museum 2018

Wednesday, December 12, 2018
The Neville Public Museum Foundation held its 4th annual A Night at the Museum event on the evening of December 11, 2018 at the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay! 



Guests enjoyed great food, a silent auction, entertainment from the John Kelley Duo and Cheryl Murphy, and several activity stations including Morbid Curiosities with Curator Lisa Kain and Educator Ryan Swadley, a viewing of rarely-seen artifacts from our collection with the Green Bay & De Pere Antiquarians, Bruce the Spruce, and more.




The success of the event was attributed to the participation of over 124 guests, the sale of 41 silent auction baskets/experiences, and Lego Lambeau Fan Sales. We had the generous support of many silent auction donors, 16 table and station sponsors and individual ticket buyers. We also benefited from generous discounts and outright donations by our supportive vendors. Many thanks are extended to all involved. 


This year’s event brought in over $24,000 after expenses, which will be used to help fund the Museum’s exhibits, exhibit-related programming and other educational activities. Because of generous sponsors like you the Neville Public Museum Foundation is able to support the mission of the Neville Public Museum and inspire audiences by presenting innovative and thought-provoking exhibits, educational programs and public events on history, science and art. 


On behalf of the Foundation Board of Directors and the planning committee, we extend a special thank you to all of our sponsors, donors, volunteers and guests that helped make the event a great success! We greatly appreciate your support in helping to create a community legacy of bridging communities and connecting generations!  We hope you'll join us for next year's event on December 10, 2019! 

Kasha Huntowski
Executive Director, Neville Public Museum Foundation

Women's History Month: Irene (Metoxen) Moore

Monday, November 19, 2018
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 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.

Lisa Kain
Curator

Native American Heritage Month: Rev. Cornelius Hill

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
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.

Lisa Kain
Curator

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.

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