Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Kenosha Public Museum: An Adventure through Natural History and Art


The Kenosha Public Museum combines both the early and natural history of Kenosha with a creative arts museum

The Kenosha Public Museum combines both the early and natural history of Kenosha with a creative arts museum. Thus, the museum easily intrigues visitors with a variety of interests. Located near the waterfront and adjacent to The Civil Museum, Kenosha Public Museum is an easy addition to any Kenosha trip.


The Wisconsin Story

The first floor of the museum includes natural specimens and exhibits about Wisconsin's Native American inhabitants. We found the first floor to be quite intriguing and spent quite a bit of time studying these exhibits. This portion of the museum weaved us through time and illustrated the changing Wisconsin landscape of Wisconsin throughout time. Fossils included in the exhibit are pretty interesting and add tangible evidence of the changes.

Examples of some of the fossils illustrating one of the changing landscapes of Wisconsin.
Examples of some of the fossils illustrating one of the changing landscapes of Wisconsin.
While exploring, we could not help but get entranced by the mammoth exhibit. Since several mammoths have been discovered in the Kenosha area including the Hebior which is the most intact ever excavated, the exhibit is extensive. Currently the museum houses a replica of the Hebior mammoth with the fragile original remains housed by the Milwaukee Public Museum. The replica was cast from the original remains. The Schaefer mammoth is one of the oldest remains that show evidence of being butchered by humans. The fossil remains are on display in the museum.

A replica of the Hebior mammoth excavated near Kenosha, WI.
A replica of the Hebior mammoth excavated near Kenosha, WI.
Of course, we paused to learn the difference between mammoth, mastodon and elephant teeth. Love this element!

Hands-on learning exploring the differences between mastodon, mammoth and elephant teeth at the Kenosha Public Museum!
Hands-on learning exploring the differences between mastodon, mammoth and elephant teeth!
The exhibit also weaves the story of the Native Americans in Wisconsin. Using life-size scenes, we explored a Potawatomi Village in all four seasons with interesting detail. Little cutaways provided extra views of nature including in a river and underground.

The seasons in a Potawatomi Village in Kenosha, WI.
The seasons in a Potawatomi Village.


Some of the animals living in burrows on the Wisconsin frontier.
Who lives under there?
Some really great detail is provided in this exhibit including how to build a canoe.

How Native Americans built a canoe featured at the Kenosha Public Museum.
How to build a canoe!
Center Stage: A Century of Guitars

The second floor of the museum treated us to an exploration of art. Through February 26, 2017, the museum plays host to a fascinating exhibit exploring the history and evolution of the guitar. The exhibit contains many rare, vintage and unique guitars and even ukuleles, mandolins and more. We enjoyed the spacious, free flow design of the exhibit that truly encourages investigation.

An adventure the string instruments at the Kenosha Public Museum.
An adventure the string instruments.
The well blended exhibit also highlights paintings by Wisconsin artist Tom Noll.

Fantastic paintings of famous guitarists by Wisconsin artist Tom Noll.
Fantastic paintings by Tom Noll take us down memory lane!
Another highlight explores the creative mind of Les Paul featuring his tinkering with electronics at a young age and his evolution to investigating and changing the sound of guitars.

Les Paul began tinkering with different items before moving on to guitars.
Studying Les Paul's experimentation with sound.

Bending the Lines: Women of Cartooning

The Women of Cartooning exhibit particularly resonated with my daughter.  In fact, I was quite surprised by how much she was interested! The exhibit structure invites curiosity and the spacious design permits guests to linger without feeling crowded.


I think each of us found some interesting cartoons in this exhibit! Plus, I learned about cartoons I had no idea were illustrated by females!

If you are interested in cartooning, the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning is this weekend September 16-17, 2016. Cartoonists will give presentations and be available to sign books.

This particular exhibit is open through October 2, 2016.

The Kenosha Public Museum provided us with another memorable family adventure in Kenosha! A wonderful place to visit on your Kenosha trip and definitely one to keep on your list for inspiration to leave the house in the winter!

Things to know:


  • The Kenosha Public Museum does have a sizable kids exploration area with various media for exploring natural history.
  • Other art in the museum includes "windows" on some notable artists. Guests peek into scenes showing the artist creating and some of their famous works.
  • There is a nice gift shop which does have some jewelry made in the U.S.A. and beautiful Ceramika Artystyczna Polish pottery. 
  • Admission to the museum is FREE!
  • The museum is next to The Civil War Museum and near trolley stops as well as the harbor.
**Thank you to Visit Kenosha for hosting our visit!







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