Sunday, September 29, 2019

Wisconsin Historical Museum Madison: Traveling Through Wisconsin History

Wisconsin Historical Museum Madison: Traveling Through Wisconsin History

Wisconsin Historical Museum Madison: Traveling Through Wisconsin History

Footsteps away from the Wisconsin State Capitol Building is the Wisconsin Historical Museum comprising of three floors full of Wisconsin history including a wealth of artifacts and displays. We were pretty surprised by how much the museum was able to fit into each floor. As you wound up the museum, you wound through Wisconsin history from the beginning.




Walk inside the Aztalan House replica!
Walk inside the Aztalan House replica!
The second floor of the building begins with the very first inhabitants of Wisconsin and focuses on the lives of the Native Americans of Wisconsin throughout the centuries. There are a few walk in displays including a replica of an Aztalan House. We were pretty intrigued by the history of the residents of Aztalan because they were Mississippians and many were in fact immigrants from Cahokia which was an incredible Mississippian settlement here in Illinois. Aztalan type of homes were constructed using what is called a wattle and daub method made with interwoven branches and covered with a clay and grass mixture. This section of the museum contained many artifacts, included pull out drawers with interesting archaeological finds and presented information about the Native people of Wisconsin throughout time to today.

Artifacts from early settlement  and fur trading days including a cradle board, candle maker and saddle bag at the Wisconsin Historical Museum.
Artifacts from early settlement  and fur trading days including a cradle board, candle maker and saddle bag.
The third floor was full about the economic development of Wisconsin throughout the centuries. I was particularly interested in the early days of fur trading. Fur trading is definitely a spot where the lives of Native Americans and Europeans intersected. In fact, some fur traders married Native American women in order to curry favor for further trading. A tidbit I had not thought about!

Lead mining artifacts.
Lead mining artifacts.
Eventually, lead became a prominent economic force in Wisconsin. Lead mining prompted the first large scale settlement of Wisconsin and unfortunately would end up in forcing Native Americans to cede land. Out of the industry, full towns were built with a variety of other industries and services. However, lead would not last.


Other industries began to fill the economic void including lumbering, paper mills and agriculture. The museum walked us through the economic development of Wisconsin including what leads to dairy farming and manufacturing.

German fire fighters became the 2nd fire fighting unit in Madison, Wisconsin.
German fire fighters became the 2nd fire fighting unit in Madison, Wisconsin.
On this floor, we were also introduced to some of the European groups that settled in Wisconsin. I particularly enjoyed the above exhibit on the German fire fighters with interesting artifacts.

The Wisconsin State Fair has a long history in bringing together Wisconsites!
The Wisconsin State Fair has a long history in bringing together Wisconsites!
The 4th floor focuses on how Wisconsites come together whether it be for fairs, political events and causes, sports and more. I had no idea that the Wisconsin State Fair started in 1851 -- pretty impressive! On this floor there also is a viewing window for a great peek at the Wisconsin State Capitol Building.

All in all we enjoyed our visit to the Wisconsin Historical Museum. The museum contained more artifacts than we were expecting and unfolded interesting elements of Wisconsin history. We would definitely welcome another adventure in the future!

Wisconsin Historical Museum Madison: Traveling Through Wisconsin History



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