Local Museums can offer insight into one’s hometown or community-although some can also be drab and boring. I guess it depends on what the town has to offer, and what that community is known for. Here, in Northeastern Wisconsin, our history runs on par with much of the Midwestern states. But today, I’ll try to focus on museums that separate this area from the rest of the region.
History Museum at the Castle
Many artifacts in this Appleton, WI museum are rather mundane. However, two individuals, having distinctive ties to Appleton, make this place unique. The most predominate individual showcased would be Harry Houdini, who had falsely claimed to have been born in Appleton. Yet, the illusionist and escape artist spent a significant portion of his childhood in the city.
The other individual, of a more notorious sort, is Senator Joe McCarthy. Mainly, the man’s bust resides in the museum. For those that don’t know, Joe McCarthy was responsible for the Red Scare-at least he was the leader of the political witch hunt. Today, his bust remains in the museum as a grim reminder of how paranoia, and those that use it for power, can ruin people’s lives.
Heritage Hill State Park
In many ways, Heritage hill is your typical Midwestern living museum. Yet, Setting it apart from other such places, this Green Bay attraction features a collection of Fort Howard structures. Fort Howard was built immediately after the War of 1812, and became instrumental in the country’s western expansion.
The Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame
In 1895, the city of Green Bay saw two influential events take place. Indeed, these occasions spurred lasting change upon the citizens of Green Bay, Wisconsin. The first would be annexation of Fort Howard and Green Bay, which were situated on opposite banks of the Fox River. But, later that year, and just as importantly, the city of Green Bay witnessed its first organized football game.
By 1919, the organization known as the Green Bay Packers was founded. Today, the team remains as an iconic brand, and the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame unveils the past century of American football in the city.
The Paper Discovery Center
Among many industries in the area, paper milling would probably be the most significant. Mills began popping up along the Fox River during the late nineteenth century, some still survive today. The paper discovery center in Appleton, WI is a great place, especially for children, to learn the multiple roles paper plays, and has played, in our world.
The Wisconsin Maritime Museum.
I know, Maritime lore could be found in many Midwestern Great Lakes towns. However, Manitowoc Wisconsin has a long shipbuilding past, much like several other Northeastern Wisconsin towns.
Today, celebrating that tradition, the Wisconsin Maritime Museum welcomes those interested in Great Lakes lore. The visit is capped off with a genuine World War II submarine tour- aboard a sub very much like those built in the city during the war effort.
Well, this is my list of unique museums in the area. If you know of any other Northeastern Wisconsin museums that uniquely depict this land, mention them in the comments. I want to give those that visit this place, especially visitors hailing from other regions in the US, a true taste of the area. I’d love for visitors to return home and start a conversation off with, “Man, in Wisconsin I saw….”