Monthly Archives: November 2011

November 23, 2011

Interesting Industries

Three Wisconsin museums each tell the story of an important American industry

Manufacturing has been an important part of Wisconsin’s history. Factories in Wisconsin have produced everything from appliances to beer. Considering the state’s industrial roots, it’s no surprise that there are some excellent museums here in Wisconsin that focus on the history of important industries. Here are three museums where you can explore the world of aircraft development, cookware manufacturing and beer brewing.

Oshkosh

EAA AirfieldEach summer, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Airventure Oshkosh attracts more than 500,000 people from more than 60 different countries for “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration.”

The EAA Airventure Museum serves as a year-round celebration of aviation. There is perhaps no better place to learn about the history of aviation than this vast museum. The story of flight is told through a dazzling array of exhibits, including 250 historic airplanes. Five movie theatres show films highlighting aeronautical innovators and important moments in the history of flight.

In the new Innovations Gallery, you’ll learn about some of the most interesting aircraft ever created. See World War II planes and learn about their pilots in the Eagle Hangar. For kids, there’s hands-on exhibits in the KidVenture Gallery.

The West Bend Company/Regal Ware Museum

Photo by: Makenzie Averil

The West Bend Company/Regal Ware MuseumWest Bend

In the historic community of West Bend, you can get a glimpse into the world of American consumer product manufacturing and marketing. The West Bend Company/Regal Ware Museum tells the story of the West Bend Company and Regal Ware.

These two companies produced aluminum products for kitchens across America. The products manufactured in West Bend helped to shape how American’s lived, cooked and thought about their homes. It’s an interesting look at American manufacturing and culture in the 20th Century.

Potosi Brewery MuseumWisconsin Great River Road

Potosi Brewery MuseumBrewing beer is one of the things that Wisconsin is famous for. Before refrigeration allowed for the long-distance transport of beer, the Badger State was home to dozens of small breweries. One of those breweries was the Potosi Brewery.

Today, the Potosi Brewery Museum tells the story of the brewery industry in 19th and 20th Century America. See artifacts, exhibits and advertising materials that tell the story of how small-town breweries produced and transported their products throughout the region. You’ll see how advances in technology helped to both change the way products are made and shipped, but also the culture itself.

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November 23, 2011

Getting Away Is Easy

Take advantage of special overnight packages for an affordable winter escape

Romantic Getaway PackageThere’s nothing more exciting than a last-minute getaway. And, with so many affordable overnight packages available in December, you have no excuse not to take a trip. Whether you’re looking for a romantic escape or a fun family getaway, you’ll find a package that fits your travel party’s needs.

These great Wisconsin destinations are currently offering special overnight packages:

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November 23, 2011

Ski The Night Away

Two opportunities to go cross-country skiing under the stars

Rusk County Cross Country SkiingWhat’s better than skiing through the forest along a well-groomed trail? Skiing that trail at night! There’s something about skiing at night that is unlike any other outdoor experience. Here are two opportunities for you to discover the joys of gliding down a forest trail at night.

Candlelight Ski

Black River Country, with its rugged terrain and beautiful pine forests, is an exciting place for cross-country skiing. For a completely different winter trail experience, try skiing these trails at night. The Black River State Forest Annual Candlelight Ski takes place Saturday, February 4 from 6-9pm. The event begins at the Smrekar Parking Lot, which is 4 miles east of Millston off of County Road O. Approximately 1.5 miles of the forest’s trails will be lit by candle luminaries. Food and refreshments will be available.

Under the Lights

One of the coolest cross-country ski trails in Wisconsin is in Rusk County. The Ladysmith High School Lighted Loop is one mile in length and is lit until 10pm every night during the cross-country skiing season. Gliding along the trails at night is relaxing and invigorating. The trails are very well groomed and before you know it, you’ll have completed more than a few one-mile laps. To get to the trail from Ladysmith, take Highway 8 east to Rocky Ridge Road.

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November 14, 2011

Take a Trip Through the History of Wisconsin

Your four best bets for local history

When it’s cold outside this winter, head indoors and warm up with a good dose of Wisconsin history. People have called the Badger State home for the past 12,000 years—there are many great stories to be told. These local history museums tell about the Native Americans, European explorers, fur traders, lumberjacks and farmers that shaped this state. Here are four of Wisconsin’s best local history museums.

The Old Courthouse Museum – West Bend

West Bend CourthouseThe Old Courthouse Museum is one of the best local history museums in the Midwest. The Washington County Historical Society, which operates the museum, dates to 1873, which helps to explain the quality and richness of the exhibits you’ll find here.

The museum’s building is a historic gem. The red brick structure was built in 1889 and is a superb example of Richardson Romanesque Revival architecture. Inside, you’ll learn the stories of the people who built West Bend and the communities of Washington County. You’ll be taken on a journey from the last Ice Age to the Industrial Age. Many of the exhibits are interactive and visitors of all ages will find something to capture their interest.

Find museum hours and more information at historyisfun.com.

Jackson County Historical Society Museum – Black River Country

Jackson County Historical SocietyBlack River Falls is home to the Jackson County Historical Society Museum. This small museum is located in a former Carnegie Library, one of 1,689 such libraries built in the early 20th Century with funds from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

Inside this historic building, you will find an array of artifacts and exhibits relating to the history of Black River Country. Exhibits cover two floors and include the Clay Post Office and an authentic turn-of-the-century dental office. Several displays showcase logging and lumbering, which were important in the development on the area. The Native American history of the area is represented through photos and beadwork.

For hours, visit blackrivercountry.net/attractions.

Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center – Wisconsin Great River Road

Freedom Park Information CenterThe Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center at Freedom Park is located on a bluff, high above the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers in Prescott, Wisconsin. From the bluff-top overlook at the center, you can gaze down to see the clear waters of the St. Croix River mixing with the muddy waters of the Mississippi River. It’s a beautiful view.

The view inside the center is impressive as well. Visitors are greeted by a full-size eagle’s nest, complete with a bald eagle. The exhibits throughout the museum focus on the different storylines that weave together to create the history of the Upper Mississippi River. Learn about the Dakota people, commercial fishermen, boat builders, riverboat pilots and wildlife. Most of the exhibits are hands-on and feature audio-visual components. It’s one of the most interesting museums in the region. If you’re driving along the Wisconsin Great River Road, this is a must-see attraction.

For complete museum information, visit freedomparkwi.org.

Oshkosh Public Museum – Oshkosh

Oshkosh Public MuseumFun and family-friendly, the Oshkosh Public Museum is a great place to spend a winter afternoon. The museum focuses on the history of Oshkosh and the Lake Winnebago Region. The museum offers 10,000 square feet of exhibits, covering women’s history, the Civil War, the Spanish American War and the First and Second World Wars. You’ll learn about the early pioneers and the later waves of European immigrants that came to the Oshkosh area for a better life.

The eight-foot Apostles Clock is the most popular attraction at the Oshkosh Public Museum. Every hour on the hour, the clock chimes. Be sure to plan your visit to make sure you don’t miss it.

Through March 4, 2012, the museum is featuring the exhibit, “Bling!” which features “100 years of over-embellished fashions.” It’s a great example of the fun and fascinating exhibits that make the Oshkosh Public Museum so unique.

For museum hours and a number of interesting online exhibits, visit oshkoshmuseum.org.

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