The Neville Public Museum

The Neville Blog

5 Things to Look Forward to in 2020

Friday, January 03, 2020
1.New Core Gallery Exhibit Opens
In May 2019, after thirty-six years, the core gallery on the second floor closed to the public for a much-needed upgrade. This summer the gallery will re-open featuring new artifacts and stories while also bringing back fan favorites like the Ice Harvesting film and Stompy the Mastadon. For more info follow along on Instagram or visit our website.

2. Amazing Dinosaurs!
Experience dinosaurs as never before in this special exhibit (May 23- Nov 8). “Amazing Dinosaurs!” is a fun adventure in exploration and discovery, with more touchable dinosaur fossils than any exhibit in America. You’ll find out when and how dinosaurs lived and how we can learn about them now through fossils and skeletons. 

3.New Website Launches
2020 is not just a year of new exhibits, it’s also bringing a new website! The museum is excited to share more content on a mobile friendly platform later this year.

4. A Legacy of Art Continues
Art has been a core value in this museum since the beginning in 1915. This year will be no different. Local artists in the Art Colony will be displaying work in the 105th exhibition at the museum and the annual juried show “Art Annual” will be back for its 75th year. As if that wasn’t enough, the museum will be displaying local student art in the An Artistic Discovery and NWTC Artisan and Business Center shows.

5. SPARK! Returns for Fourth Year
SPARK! is a cultural program for people with early to mid-stage memory loss and their care partners. Programs are designed to keep participants actively engaged in their communities by providing experiences that stimulate conversations, provide peer support, and inspire creativity through engaging in museum experiences. Programs last between 60 and 90 minutes and include light refreshments and time to socialize, an in-gallery experience with specially-trained staff, and various hands-on experiences and projects depending on the exhibit we’re exploring. Find more information here!

Top 5 Moments at the Museum in 2019

Monday, December 30, 2019
1. “Delay of Game” wins National and State Award
“Delay of Game: Experiences of African American Football Players in Titletown” (August 2018-March 2019) was awarded two prestigious awards in 2019. First was the Award of Merit from the American Association of State and Local History. Second was the Museum Exhibit Award from the Wisconsin Historical Society. “Delay of Game” explored how the experiences, challenges, and contributions of African American Packers players have changed this community.

2. Expanding Culture & Curiosity Campaign
In May 2019, after thirty-six years, the core gallery on the second floor closed to the public for a much-needed upgrade. Museum staff are currently working on preparing new artifacts and stories for the upgraded exhibit. But don't worry...we're keeping some of your favorites like Stompy the Mastodon and the Ice Harvesting video! To support the gallery upgrade and care for the exhibit in the future the Neville Public Museum Foundation launched the Expanding Culture and Curiosity Campaign! Find more information on how you can support this project here.

3. Morbid Curiosities Moves to Collections Storage
Morbid Curiosities, the flashlight tour of untold stories in the museum, returned for its fourth year in 2019. In the past the tour was led through “On the Edge of the Inland Sea,” the permanent exhibit on the second floor. But since the exhibit is closed for renovations the tour moved to collections storage. Visitors discovered what happens to artifacts when they’re not on display as well as enjoyed the untold, morbid stories the collection holds.

4. Our Brown County at the Airport
After over a year on display at the museum a portion of the “Our Brown County” exhibit was moved to the Green Bay Austin Straubel Airport! The exhibit was a celebration of 200 years of Brown County history. We’re excited to see the exhibit live on and help pass time for travelers.

5. New Collections Acquisitions 
This year the museum took in several new objects so here are a couple highlights! First is the Somali outfit created by the United Resisters for the “Our Brown County” exhibit. The team that created it has graciously donated the outfit to the permanent collection, the first Somali piece to be added in the museum’s history. Second, is the “Loggers” sculpture gifted to the Neville Public Museum by Associated Bank. The piece is a depiction of the mid-19th century logging era in Wisconsin, measuring approximately 12 feet high by 9 feet wide and 34 feet long. The sculpture was created in 1980 and was commissioned by the bank’s predecessor. It is signed and dated by artist Lyndon Fayne Pomeroy (1925-2018). 

Stay tuned for what's coming in 2020!

Green Bay's Monster Maker

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

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 the upcoming Neville exhibition, Dale Kuipers. Unfortunately, learning about Dale was not the easiest task. Due to union conflicts most of his 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. Dale Kuipers opens September 24 and presents a great opportunity for Kuipers’ creations to awe you.

Noah Mapes
Intern, University of Wisconsin

Women's History Month: Mildred Hollman Smith

Monday, March 25, 2019
“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.

Lisa Kain

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

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

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

[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,

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

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