Through artifacts, images, documents and photographs, museum curators can unlock the past; they tell stories and enrich understanding of the people and experiences of the past. The collections – the basis of the exhibits – include:
- 35,000 photographs dating back to the 1850s
- 25,000 3-dimensional artifacts
- and 800 cubic feet of official records, documents, letters, etc., dating back to the early 1800s.
Each of the exhibits features hands-on experiences as a means for people, particularly children, to become more engaged in the story.
Constantly changing diverse and engaging exhibits provide a reason for visitors to return again and again.
Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?
August 6, 2008 – September 17, 2008
For a limited time, The History Museum will feature a turn of the century button collection. The buttons are more than just a collection, however, they are an example of recycling. When garments wore out, people removed the buttons and saved then in a box or jar to use later. The featured group, found in Greenville, WI before 1923, was likely such a collection. The tiny works of art date from about 1880-1920 and include buttons made of over a dozen types of materials, including glass, shell, horn, wood, fabric, several early kinds of plastic, pewter, brass, and other metals.
(Donated in 1979 by Mrs. Ralph Becher, A 79-33-1-1)
The Times They Are A-Changin’
An exhibit about the 1960s. Explore Rock ‘n Roll, Civil Rights, Vietnam, the Space Program and other 60s topics through the experiences of local people. Sometimes amusing, sometimes sobering, this exhibit appeals to both those growing up in the era and those interested in the affects of cultural change during this time.
The History Museum holds an important collection of performance paraphernalia and historic documents relating to Harry Houdini. The AKA Houdini exhibit, recipient of the 2005 American Association for State and Local History Award of Merit, became controversial months before it opened when people learned that the exhibit intended to allow visitors to perform Houdini’s escape illusions, thus exposing the secrets of the magician and violating the magician’s code of secrets. Regardless, the exhibit and its subject continue to draw interest for visitors, filmmakers, authors and news media.