I’ve blogged about the Neville Public Museum in a Prior post, giving a positive spin on the Green Bay museum’s permanent exhibit. However, I wasn’t too keen on the temporary installments at that particular time. That was a year ago and, my oh my, can things change.
I could have indulged in the historical artifacts and information in the Museum for hours. What I loved most, all were relevant to my particular niche of this giant world. As I’ve called Green Bay home for going on sixteen years, it’s history, as I’ve grown to know many local places, becomes a greater interest.
You can get information about many of the country’s defining moments in plenty museums. Yet, what about those events and places specific to your homeland? Every area of the country has its story to tell, and even if its identity maybe of one certain brand name, industry or, as is the special case of Green Bay, team, much deeper roots spread within the town aiding to the obvious blossoms.
There were two enlightening local exhibits this time around. One was celebrating Brown County’s bicentennial, as it gave credence to some noteworthy people and places. The second was a very honest depiction of life of the African American football player in Title Town USA. There was a third Exhibit scheduled to open November 17th which, from what I saw of the unfinished scene, promises to pump a little Christmas in the veins.
I stroll through the museum’s glass doors on a Packer Sunday, at one in the afternoon. The kick off is scheduled for three thirty and Green Bay’s central districts will become ghost towns by then. The museum is in that vicinity and there are people milling around the exhibits, as towards the western part of town, fans are probably seeping into Lambeau Field to take in the pre-game atmosphere.
I, like anybody born and raised in Wisconsin, am a packer fan. I figure two and a half hours is plenty of time to have an altogether separate experience before the game starts. For now, there’s another special event to celebrate.
I’ve served in the United States Air Force, although it seems a lifetime ago. For that, I receive benefits, especially on Veteran’s day-which is today. Along with free meals from some really trendy establishments come admissions to public places at no cost. The Neville Public Museum is one of those places, and I do love a good museum.
I’m greeted by an exhuberant young lady, who explains the layout of the museum. I show her my veteran’s ID and proceed to the first temporary exhibit.
‘Our Brown County’ presents people and places that have impacted the County through its first two hundred years. I learn a lot. For instance, I did not realize the Courthouse was built in 1909 and is on the registry of historic places. I stumble upon some interesting facts about the police department and celebrities that visited the old train depot. Of course there are plenty of people to read about also, from those that started their own newspapers to a teacher establishing a school for children with disabilities.
Some of the artifacts are simply awesome. From soldier’s uniforms to the first computers in squad cars, many interesting bits leave you envisioning the distant and not so distant past in our area. I leave feeling more connected with my community and those that came before me.
I make my way upstairs and find an unfinished exhibit. From what I see, this one will be a holiday hit. It will be called Holiday Memories-Downtown Green Bay and I’m anxious to view the final product.
Beyond that lies the third and final temporary exhibit, ‘Delay of Game’. This one focuses on something, I must admit, I’ve never thought too deeply about. The first African American football player in Green Bay came to the Packers in 1950, as it focuses on black players in this small city. There are many different artifacts in the exhibit, from books describing players experiences to hotel switchboards that connected to players rooms.
I was surprised to discover that in Pro Football’s early days, black player’s were found on some teams. Unfortunately, by 1933, while no owner would admit it, African American players were banned from the league. I think that this exhibit is important. Although racism has not disappeared, conditions for black players have improved from earlier times.
Of course, the permanent exhibit is quite fun and includes many interesting highlights. It is scheduled to be updated in spring. While this museum holds much of what has made Green Bay the town it is, the evolution continues. I can only wonder what Green Bay residents, two hundred years from now, will make of the tagline Title Town.