The Neville Public Museum

The Neville Blog

Keeping the Holidays Alive

Thursday, November 09, 2017
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. This year is no different but you may notice that we changed some things about our displays compared to years past. We decided not to have our dolls move this year.



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 last year, 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.

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.

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.

This year, we are decreasing the stress put on our dolls to help ensure that we can display them well into the future.

James Peth
Research Technician

Beneath the Courthouse Dome

Tuesday, November 07, 2017
Over a year ago, the few us from the Neville were invited to a behind the scenes tour of the Brown County Courthouse Dome. The county was beginning a $1.6 million project to replace the copper on the dome. We agreed and were offered an amazing look into one of the most iconic buildings in the county. A few things stood out as we walked the catwalk behind the clock face, below the copper dome.



First, hundreds of names are etched into the bricks, some dating back to the 1930s. Although it is technically graffiti, these marking are still a piece of the building’s history. It meant something to them to leave their mark in this historic place. Second was the astonishing engineering of a clock installed in 1911. The large clock face, hands, and mechanics of the special Seth Thomas Clock that still run today were mesmerizing. Another part of the project was to replace the wooden hands. When the wood gets wet they expand and become heavier which throws off the time on the face.





As work progressed we devolved a great relationship with the crew. They would call us when they pulled something they thought we might want for the museum’s collection. We now have in our possession parts of the copper dome, original wood clock hands, and a brick signed in 1937. We didn’t just collect these things to add them to our massive collection but to interpret the courthouse as a symbol and historic place in our upcoming exhibit celebrating the 200th anniversary of Brown County. Our Brown County is a celebration of two centuries of history and the people who have called it home. The courthouse has been a part of that story since 1911.

In 1908, plans and construction began for the new courthouse in downtown Green Bay on the same block as the new Federal Building. Architect, C.E. Bell was chosen. He was well known for designing grand governmental buildings. We even have his original blue prints in our collection! In 1909, the county board approved $8,000 more for the project to fund the murals that still grace the halls of the building.



As construction concluded, plans for a major unveiling of the new building were set into motion. On January 13-14, 1911 an estimated 10,000 people attended the public opening reception. The local newspaper reported that people were overwhelmed by the building’s detail and beauty.

The courthouse has gone through different renovations throughout the years including the addition of an elevator in 1940. Walls were painted over and some of the historic beauty marks of the building were lost. In 1976, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places to protect its historical nature and to honor its architectural place in Brown County history.

During the 1980s concerns over space and care of the building grew. In 1988, a $10.6 million project began that included additions to the south and west sides for Clerk of Courts, the Detention Center, and the Law Enforcement Center as well as restoration and renovation on the interior and exterior of the building. The project took more than four years to complete. In January 1993, 82 years after the first public reception, an open house was hosted for the public to view the completed project.

In 2008 and 2009 the lantern that sits on the very top of the dome was replaced. Finally this year the county finished the project replacing the copper on the dome as not just a way to invest in the key symbol of Brown County, but to help launch our 200th Anniversary where we will reflect on how far we’ve come and where we’re headed.

Lisa Kain
Curator

The Face of Morbid Curiosities

Monday, October 09, 2017
Every photograph has a story. This photo has been popular as the face of our upcoming sold out event Morbid Curiosities. You may be surprised to know that this isn’t a stock image we found but an image from our vast photography collection. It features Helen Morrow, the ghost of Captain’s Walk Winery.



A man named Elisha Morrow built a house in Green Bay in 1857 for his wife and six daughters. He was an early organizer of the Republican Party of Wisconsin and one of the delegates who helped get Abraham Lincoln nominated as the Republican candidate for president in 1860.

The second youngest of Morrow’s daughters, Helen, inherited her much beloved home after her father died. Helen was forced to sell the property to the Green Bay Women’s Club in 1920 because she didn’t have the money to keep it. Helen eventually moved to Boston to help raise her nephew after the passing of her sister but returned to Green Bay later in life. She was never able to purchase back her family home. Helen passed away in 1952 at the age of 90.



The house went through four more owners before Brad and Eric Schmiling purchased it and turned it into Captain’s Walk Winery in 2006. Helen is believed to be the ghost who haunts the building today. It is said that she throws books, runs the freight elevator, flickers lights, and turns the sinks on and off. While renovating, they stayed one night in the house, and one night only. That night they heard a little girl bouncing a ball and running around giggling on the second floor…but no one else was there.

So, next time you go wine tasting at Captain’s Walk, make sure you’re nice to Helen… after all – it’s still her home!

Vietnam Flight Suit Wins the Artifact Tournament

Monday, October 02, 2017
Voting is over and the results are in! The flight suit worn by John Evans during the Vietnam War is the winner. Thank you to everyone for participating in the artifact tournament for the upcoming exhibit Our Brown County.



Our Brown County is a celebration of 200 years of history focusing on the stories that make Brown County the place we choose to live, work, and play. Explore these stories through 50 artifacts, 50 photographs, 50 people, and 50 places that demonstrate the complex, diverse, and rich history of Brown County. Our Brown County opens May 29, 2018!



Vietnam Flight Suit, 1965-1973
The man who wore this flight suit flew high above the terrain of Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines between 1965 and 1973. John Evans volunteered for the U.S. Air Force and served as a combat aerial photographer. During the war, Evans was frequently shot at, but luckily was never shot down. After leaving the Air Force he became a lawyer and worked for Brown County and Oconto County. In 2016, Evans lost his battle with lung and brain cancer believed to have been caused by exposure to Agent Orange.

Artifact Tournament Championship

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
This is the final round! The winning artifact in this match will be featured in the upcoming exhibit Our Brown County! . Our Brown County is a celebration of 200 years of history focusing on the stories that make Brown County the place we choose to live, work, and play. All voting must be done September 29th on the museum’s Facebook Page.




Vietnam Flight Suit, 1965-1973
The man who wore this flight suit flew high above the terrain of Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines between 1965 and 1973. John Evans volunteered for the U.S. Airforce and served as a combat aerial photographer. During the war, Evans was frequently shot at, but luckily was never shot down. After leaving the Air Force he became a lawyer and worked for Brown County and Oconto County. In 2016, Evans lost his battle with lung and brain cancer believed to have been caused by exposure to Agent Orange.

Hotel Northland Switchboard, 1930s-1950s
The Hotel Northland was at the center of a booming downtown Green Bay, hosting celebrities, Green Bay Packers players and staff, and a wealth of other people during its time as a hotel. This piece of communication technology from the mid-twentieth century connected calls from the outside to hotel guests during their stay in Green Bay.

Our Brown County Artifact Tournament Round 2

Monday, September 25, 2017
Vote for your favorite artifact and it could be featured in the upcoming exhibit Our Brown County! Our Brown County is a celebration of 200 years of history focusing on the stories that make Brown County the place we choose to live, work, and play.

Vote for your favorite in the artifact tournament. In the end the head to head competition will have only one winning artifact. Check the bracket for dates. All voting must be done on the museum’s Facebook Page.

September 25



Plan of Settlement,1821
This is one of the earliest maps that shows a detailed portion of Brown County. Notice depictions of both military forts (Fort Howard and Camp Smith) along with 66 named land owners. The French style “long lots” were a reflection of the people who lived here during the height of the Fur Trade. There are several recognizable names on the map that remain in our community today like Grignon, Dousman, Porlier, and Lawe.

Hotel Northland Switchboard, 1930s-1950s
The Hotel Northland was at the center of a booming downtown Green Bay, hosting celebrities, Green Bay Packers players and staff, and a wealth of other people during its time as a hotel. This piece of communication technology from the mid-twentieth century connected calls from the outside to hotel guests during their stay in Green Bay.

September 26



Vietnam Flight Suit, 1965-1973
The man who wore this flight suit flew high above the terrain of Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines between 1965 and 1973. John Evans volunteered for the U.S. Airforce and served as a combat aerial photographer. During the war, Evans was frequently shot at, but luckily was never shot down. After leaving the Air Force he became a lawyer and worked for Brown County and Oconto County. In 2016, Evans lost his battle with lung and brain cancer believed to have been caused by exposure to Agent Orange.

Green Bay Woman's Club Sign Post, 1920
This intricate wrought iron sign once marked the home of the Green Bay Woman’s Club. The ladies of the club were committed to community improvement and volunteer service including committees focused on drama, music, and beautification of the city. The organization bought the Morrow home in 1920 on S. Adams Street which you may recognize as Captain’s Walk Winery.

Our Brown County Artifact Tournament

Thursday, September 14, 2017
Vote for your favorite artifact and it could be featured in the upcoming exhibit Our Brown County! Our Brown County is a celebration of 200 years of history focusing on the stories that make Brown County the place we choose to live, work, and play.

For the next two weeks the museum will be asking you to vote for your favorite in the artifact tournament. In the end the head to head competition will have only one winning artifact. Check the bracket for dates. All voting must be done on the museum’s Facebook Page.

September 19th

A Piece of the Frozen Tundra, 1997
1997 proved to be a great year for the Green Bay Packers bringing them their first Super Bowl win in 30 years. On their path to the Super Bowl the team took down the San Francisco 49ers and the Carolina Panthers at home, destroying the field. Instead of tossing the ruined sod the team offered it up for sale to fans who wanted to own a piece of the Frozen Tundra, with the proceeds raising money for local charities. The box and the dried up turf reflect support for a hometown team and its community.

Plan of Settlement,1821
This is one of the earliest maps that shows a detailed portion of Brown County. Notice depictions of both military forts (Fort Howard and Camp Smith) along with 66 named land owners. The French style “long lots” were a reflection of the people who lived here during the height of the Fur Trade. There are several recognizable names on the map that remain in our community today like Grignon, Dousman, Porlier, and Lawe.

September 20th

Necklace
, 1930s
This necklace tells the story of Maude (Colburn) Shepro and her only daughter Eunice. Maude opened her own store on Washington Street in 1928 selling everything from clothing to lingerie to fashion accessories-exclusively for women. This necklace from her store was a gift from Maude to Eunice, who died due to complications from a neurological disorder in 1938 at age 21.

Hotel Northland Switchboard, 1930s-1950s
The Hotel Northland was at the center of a booming downtown Green Bay, hosting celebrities, Green Bay Packers players and staff, and a wealth of other people during its time as a hotel. This piece of communication technology from the mid-twentieth century connected calls from the outside to hotel guests during their stay in Green Bay.

September 21st
 
Vietnam Flight Suit, 1965-1973
The man who wore this flight suit flew high above the terrain of Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines between 1965 and 1973. John Evans volunteered for the U.S. Airforce and served as a combat aerial photographer. During the war, Evans was frequently shot at, but luckily was never shot down. After leaving the Air Force he became a lawyer and worked for Brown County and Oconto County. In 2016, Evans lost his battle with lung and brain cancer believed to have been caused by exposure to Agent Orange.

Indian Agent Medal, 1778
This artifact was made long before we became a county and has a story spanning the course of almost 100 years. During the American Revolutionary War this silver medal was presented to the Menominee Chief Cha-Kau-cho-Ka-ma (the "Old King") for supporting the British. When the American forces arrived in Brown County at Fort Howard the Indian Agent demanded the medals be turned in and replaced with American ones. Chief Cha-kau-cho-Ka-ma refused and wore it until his death in 1821 when it was passed on to his grandson Chief Oshkosh. Chief Oshkosh finally gave this piece of history to the Indian Agent Col. David Jones in 1884.

September 22nd

Green Bay Woman's Club Sign Post
, 1920
This intricate wrought iron sign once marked the home of the Green Bay Woman’s Club. The ladies of the club were committed to community improvement and volunteer service including committees focused on drama, music, and beautification of the city. The organization bought the Morrow home in 1920 on S. Adams Street which you may recognize as Captain’s Walk Winery.

Baum's Tray, 1909
Downtown Green Bay boasted a variety of shops during the early 1900s including John Baum’s Department Store. John Baum opened his first dry goods store in 1888 on the corner of Quincy and Main Streets. Eventually the store evolved into a department store selling everything from hats to shoes to coats. In 1909 Baum spent $5,000 updating his store (more than $120,000 today) which he advertised with souvenir promotional pieces like this tray.

Making Headway with Headgear in WWI

Monday, August 28, 2017

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the United States entering the Great War. The U.S. officially entered this “European War,” on April 6th, 1917 when the military joined forces with Great Britain, France, and Russia to fight against the central powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. A major European war had not been fought since the Napoleonic War. Most of the warring countries thought WWI was going to be a swift war, and that they would be back home by Christmas. That did not happen.  Over 11 million lives were lost and it became the most destructive war that Western nations had seen.

Lack of sufficient helmets caused several deaths throughout the war.  The evolution of head wear during WWI shows how unprepared Europe was for this conflict. The museum’s collection reflects the helmet choices made by different nations at different times. 

The Brodie Helmet

The Brodie Helmet was developed and produced by Great Britain.  At the start of the war, the belligerent nations were not prepared for the destruction modern weaponry would unleash on their soldiers. At the outbreak of WWI, soldiers were commonly supplied with cloth or leather caps which didn’t offer any protection. The development of adequate protective helmets did not begin until casualties from grenades and artillery shrapnel increased.  

Instead of having separate stamped pieces welded or riveted together, the Brodie helmet was made out of a singular piece of steel.   The Brodie helmet was used by all members of the British Empire and other countries, including Australia, South Africa, and Canada.  The United States also adopted this design in 1917 when they entered the war.

The Adrian Helmet


The French were the first to attempt to make adequate headgear for their soldiers. The French Soldiers were sent into battle with a dark blue jacket, red pantaloons, and a wool cap known as a kepi.  After suffering numerous casualties, the French realized that the uniform needed to be changed. The dark blue jacket and red pantaloons gave way to a horizon blue uniform, and the soft cap transformed into a steel helmet called the Adrian helmet. The French Adrian Helmet was made of several different stamped pieces that were either welded or riveted together. This helmet style was so popular that other allied countries, including Russia, Italy, and Belgium adopted it. 



The Pickelhaube Helmet

At the onset of the war, the Germans used the iconic spiked helmet called the Pickelhaube Helmet. It was made of black, pressed leather though a leather shortage in Germany eventually led the Germans to construct these helmets out of pressed felt or paper maché. These materials did not afford the wearer much protection. The helmet was designed to be ceremonious and to romanticize the nature of the military and war. In 1916, the Germans replaced the Pickelhaube with the Stahlhelm. The Stahlhelm, which is infamous for its use by the Nazis in WWII, was first introduced in February 1916 at the battle of Verdun. By the end of the year, the German western front was issued the Stahlhelm, but the German eastern front would not be issued the helmet until mid-1917.


Ben Dudzik
Intern 
University of Washington

Out of the Shadows and Into the Community Spotlight, Estamos Aquí – We Are Here

Thursday, July 13, 2017

How do you create a museum exhibit about a diverse segment of our community that results in an authentic, engaging and sincere visitor experience? It was clear from the outset that these answers needed to come from the community in which we were highlighting in Estamos Aqui, Latino residents living in Northeast Wisconsin.

Concept to Creation

Conversations between the museum and local Latino community stakeholders including Casa ALBA Melanie began in the summer of 2014, following a small installation at the Neville called Out of the Shadows. Formal meetings to develop a large-scale exhibit began in July of 2015, with an exhibit committee of twelve community members and museum staff.  Estamos Aqui: Celebrating Latino Identity in Northeast Wisconsin opened in May of 2017 and took two years of planning to define the themes and content of the 3,500 square foot exhibit.   
 
The result is an interactive bilingual exhibit that celebrates the diverse customs, music, and food brought here by families from across Latin America. Thirty people were interviewed about work, language, education, their cultural traditions, what traditional foods they remember from of their countries, and challenges of adapting to a new life in Northeast Wisconsin. You can watch these video segments appear in the exhibit.
                     
The exhibit begins in a migrant worker cabin, similar to those that dotted Northeast Wisconsin between the 1930s and 1980s.  One of the first families to live in a cabin like this was the Saldaña family. Antonio Saldaña, who was part of the exhibit committee, provided invaluable insights into what life was like as a migrant worker child living in a 14 foot by 24 foot shack with thirteen siblings. That cabin was part of a labor camp created for seasonal workers hired by the Bond Pickle Company in Oconto County, Wisconsin.  
  
The rest of the exhibit is a colorful space defined by six themes: Work, Language, Education, Cultural Traditions, Food, and Contemporary Latino Identity.  An important feature of the exhibit is a cultural plaza, complete with a central fountain. It is a space where the art and craft traditions brought here from across Latin America are displayed. 

Today, more than 35,000 people of Latino identity live in Northeast Wisconsin.  It is estimated that by the year 2060, one in four people living in Brown County will be of Latino heritage.  Therefore, this exhibit could not have come at a more critical time, to be a gathering place to start the conversation about recognizing this cultural change and how to embrace it. The question each resident of Northeast Wisconsin will eventually need to answer is how will they react to this change? Why? Because that change is already here, Estamos Aquí!

Special Thanks 

Thank you to the Estamos Aqui Exhibit Committee:  David and Eileen Littig, Antonio Saldaña, Nicholas Saldaña, Marcelo Cruz, Stephen Perkins, Valerie Corrigan, Pilar Campos and Sr. Melanie Maczka.  Also, a special thanks to the thirty interviewees for telling their personal stories, as well as to the Spanish Department at UW-Green Bay for translating the audio interviews into Spanish and English. Thanks also to all those who loaned objects and artifacts for the exhibit. Additionally, a big thank you to the donors and sponsoring organizations for funding this important exhibit.  

Kevin Cullen
Deputy Director

Fort Howard: A Building Block for America

Monday, June 19, 2017
With Independence Day right around the corner there is no better time than now to reflect on how our very own Green Bay became American Fort Howard prior its to dismantling ca. 1867. The patriotism shared today for the ideal of being American wasn’t always held by the people of this area. This area was settled by both the French and English well before Americans laid down control of this portion of Wisconsin through Fort Howard. Fort Howard, which was right across street from the Neville Public Museum, was the key to the Americanization of this area during the early 19th century.

The land surrounding the Fox River was highly desired for it controlled trade through the waterway. Three hundred years ago in 1717 the French were first stationed in Green Bay. The French fort, Fort La Baye, like Fort Howard was built on the opening of the Fox River. The French fort stood until 1760; for 43 years the French were a major influence in North Eastern Wisconsin. We can see the impact of the French in Wisconsin, especially in our area, when we think of Charles De Langlade, also known as the “Father” of Wisconsin, who was a French military officer. De Langlade and his family were one of the first inhabitants of Green Bay.

After the French had abandoned their location during the Fox Wars the English relocated to where Fort La Baye had stood and built Fort Edward Augustus. The English also saw the potential of the Fox River. Fort Edward Augustus was abandoned in 1763 during the Pontiac Uprising, yet the inhabitants of Green Bay remained dedicated to the English.

After the War of 1812 the British no longer had claim to the area and plans were being made for American forces to be moved into the area to control the Fox River. This wasn't the only reason the 3rd Regiment of the United States Army Infantry was placed in Green Bay. The larger goal of placing American soldiers here was to "Americanize" this newly attained land and to acclimate the people of the area with a new spirit of patriotism.

Fort Howard was vital for America's grasp on the Northwestern frontier. Our very own Fox River was hugely important in America's expansion to the West. Through the control of trade on the waterway that was so sought after by the other nations America now had another key to prosperity. Looking back I never fully realized how truly important our own little area was to the growth of this part of the nation. Over the last couple weeks I have been able to explore artifacts from the Neville's collection that were used in the Life and Death at Fort Howard exhibit which ran from April 2016 through April 2017. From maps to muskets the story that is told through the artifacts of Fort Howard speak volumes on how influential the fort was in creating the place we call home today.

If you want to learn more about America's beginnings and the men who forged the way don't miss our upcoming event America! on June 21st. You can get more information and tickets here.
 

Madeline Palecek
Intern
UW-Milwaukee

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