The Neville Public Museum
The Neville Blog
Five Surprising Facts About Bees
Bees are being trained to sniff for bombs.Researchers at the Los Almos National Laboratory are training honeybees to find bombs. The Stealthy Insect Sensor Project trains the bees like how Pavlov trained dogs. Honeybees are exposed to the smell of bomb ingredients and are then given sugar water as a reward. Researchers say the bees catch on pretty fast, only needing to be exposed a couple of times.
After training, the bees stick out their proboscis when they smell bomb ingredients. This behavior lets researchers know when the bees smell the bomb.
Bees have traveled to space!
Rural farmers in Africa use bee-fences to protect against elephants.
The hives are strung together so when an elephant bumps the hives or the string, it releases the bees, driving the elephants away. When testing the hives, they had a success rate of over 80%. The hives also help with crop pollination and provide honey for the community.
To learn more about bees and how they affect you, visit our new exhibit Bees!
This flag has been at the museum since 1934. When we identified it for exhibit use last year 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.
How Did We Identified the Flag?
This flag is believed to be the last flag to fly over Fort Howard. We were able to confirm this by putting together clues from different sources.
- First was the writing on the upper left hand star: "From Major Shaylor, Old Fort Howard during the War, 1865."
- Second, is an excerpt from History of Brown County by Deborah Martin that re-caps an event that took place at the Fort Howard in 1861. Martin mentions Mattie Underwood as the maker of the flag which matches the name in museum records. Martin also mentions Major Shaylor as “the venerable custodian of this ancient stronghold"-the same name on the flag.
- Third is the style of the flag. The 34 stars represent the 34 states of the Union from 1861 to 1865 under President Abraham Lincoln. This canton design is in the “The Great Star” style. This pattern was used in the 1800s but died out after the Civil War. All these clues provided enough information to confirm this is the Fort Howard flag.
What is Fort Howard? (Hint: Not a paper company)
The U.S. Army arrived on the shores of the Fox River in August 1816, two years before Brown County became a county. They established Fort Howard, changing the dynamic of the community and influencing what it is today. Fort Howard operated until 1852 when it was de-commissioned. In the following years a volunteer infantry used the site under the care of Major Shaylor. On May 3, 1861 President Lincoln made a speech calling for volunteers to join the Union Army. On May 18th, people of Green Bay and the surrounding areas put together a special event at Fort Howard. It supported Lincoln’s call and included the raising of this impressive flag. During the Civil War soldiers trained at Fort Howard before leaving for the South. Eventually, Chicago & North Western Railroad bought the land and the buildings were officially de-commissioned in 1872.
Ready for Exhibit
After all of this work on the flag and research we’re ready to share the flag with you! This remarkable artifact will be a centerpiece in the upcoming exhibit Our Brown County. Experience it for yourself starting May 29th!
#1 Our Brown County, Opens May 29, 2018
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.
Opens August 11, 2018
It has been one hundred years since the Green Bay Packers were formed but African American players have only been part of the story since 1950. These athletes made an immediate impact on the game, but what happened off the field? In this exhibit, discover how the challenges and contributions of African American players have changed our community.
#3 Holiday Memories of Downtown Green Bay
Opens November 10, 2018
Celebrate the holiday season at the Neville! See our Snow Babies, charming “Dolls of Christmas Past,” and enchanted forest that once adorned H.C. Prange department store. Holiday Memories returns as a full gallery exhibit this year.
Other holiday events include the Children Only Shop, and Bruce the Spruce. Holiday Memories is a wonderful family tradition.
We’re proud to introduce our newest program series in 2018: SPARK!
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.
You can find more information about SPARK! at the Neville here.
#5 Morbid Curiosities, October 2018
Get your tickets early for this in-demand Halloween-time program! Explore some of morbid and creepy artifacts in our collections, pulled for one night only. Don't miss your chance to get up close and personal with these rarely-seen objects.
This is not your average museum tour. Come prepared to laugh, play games, experience the exhibits in a new way, and maybe even touch some stuff.
#1 Neon: Darkness Electrified
Neon: Darkness Electrified illuminates the history and explores the science behind the glowing tubes. Most of these neon signs have disappeared from highways and storefronts. A local collector, Jed Schleisner, works diligently to gather and restore these historic pieces of Americana. Neon opened in July and since thousands of guests have explored the exhibit. The exhibit has also been featured in several events like Electrified: Library Summer’s Reader Day, 90s Night, and a Night at the Museum.
#2 Morbid Curiosities: 99 Ways to Die
Morbid Curiosities returned in 2017 for its second year. This year 300 guests (doubled from last year) explored deadly museum artifacts. A murder mystery and black light art project provided added Halloween fun! If you missed it this year make sure to get tickets early for next year’s Morbid Curiosities!
#3 Artifact Tournament
In September the museum hosted an Artifact Tournament to select an artifact for the upcoming exhibit Our Brown County. Eight artifacts went head to head in this bracket style competition. Over 400 votes were counted via Facebook and the winner was a Vietnam War Flight Suit worn by John Evans (1965-1973). The Flight Suit will be on exhibit in Our Brown County opening May 29, 2018!
#4 Alice in Dairyland
This year marked the fourth time Brown County hosted the Alice in Dairyland Finals. It was one of the largest finals events ever and was held at the legendary Lambeau Field. In celebration of this event the exhibit Alice in Dairyland opened in January. During the Finals weekend thirty one of sixty nine Alices visited the exhibit. Among them was Margaret (McGuire) Blott, the first Alice. This exhibit explored the impact Wisconsin agriculture has on our everyday lives, along with Alice, in a one of a kind hands-on experience.
#5 Explorer Wednesday Lava Lamps
Each first Wednesday of the month is Explorer Wednesday. From 5-7pm during Brown County Resident Free Night guest can participate in art projects, science experiments, or guided tours of exhibits. In August, guests made their own Lava Lamps!
There were so many more events and exhibits that helped make 2017 a great year for the Neville. Did we miss your favorite? Comment and let us know what your favorite exhibit/event/program was this past 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. 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.
- 5 Things to Look Forward to in 2020
- Top 5 Moments at the Museum in 2019
- Green Bay's Monster Maker
- Women's History Month: Mildred Hollman Smith
- Women's History Month: Elizabeth Baird
- Women's History Month: Deborah Beaumont Martin
- First African American in Pro Football Hall of Fame Played for the Packers
- Where Did Lombardi-Era African American Players Live?
- African American Civil War Veteran Makes His Home in De Pere
- Why is there a Lions Jersey in a Packers exhibit?
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