Walking Tours of the histories and mysteries of Madison

Step back in time through our engaging walking tours in downtown Madison. Hear tales of infamy, scandal, and mystery; walk on Madison’s weird side; and explore the hidden history of the Capitol Square.

Walking Tours of the histories and mysteries of Madison

Step back in time through our engaging walking tours in downtown Madison. Hear tales of infamy, scandal, and mystery; walk on Madison’s weird side; and explore the hidden history of the Capitol Square.

Explore the Stories that Made Wisconsin

History is a story with many voices, always growing and evolving—a story we tell together. At the Wisconsin Historical Museum, you’ll immerse yourself in fascinating and diverse stories of people and places from Wisconsin history.

Explore the state’s diverse and dynamic past through four floors of engaging exhibits, fascinating historical objects, and hands-on experiences that focus on Native Nations and Tribes, the immigrant experience, frontier life, agriculture, industry, politics, and much more. Enter a replica of a 1,000-year-old house and examine a fur trade post. Descend into a lead mine and climb into a tractor cab. Discover the stories of Wisconsin’s political heritage, working lives, ethnic diversity, and sense of community.

MORE TIME FOR FUN!

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SUMMER CAMPS

It’s a capital city escapade! Explore cultures around the world, spot Wisconsin wildlife, engage in STEM experiments, and enjoy a week of action-packed fun and learning through summer camps at the Wisconsin Historical Museum. These camps will take curious campers on exciting daily adventures around the state’s capital.

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Becoming a member is the best way to explore Wisconsin history. Members get free admission to our historic sites and discounts on special events!


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On this day in 1900, the city of Racine hosted its first automobile race!

The competitors were A. J. Horlick in a Locomobile and Robert W. Hindley in a Winton. The race started at 11 a.m. in front of the Grand Union Tea Co. store on Main St.

The course was over the 14 unpaved miles to Western Union Junction (Sturtevant) and back. About a mile outside town Mr. Hindley overtook a stalled Mr. Horlick who up to that point had been ahead. Horlick was able to continue the race, but it was Hindley who was declared the winner.

📸: Winton Car: www.uniquecarsandparts.com/lost_marques_winton.htm
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2 days ago
On this day in 1900, the city of Racine hosted its first automobile race!

The competitors were A. J. Horlick in a Locomobile and Robert W. Hindley in a Winton. The race started at 11 a.m. in front of the Grand Union Tea Co. store on Main St. 

The course was over the 14 unpaved miles to Western Union Junction (Sturtevant) and back. About a mile outside town Mr. Hindley overtook a stalled Mr. Horlick who up to that point had been ahead. Horlick was able to continue the race, but it was Hindley who was declared the winner.

📸: Winton Car: https://www.uniquecarsandparts.com/lost_marques_winton.htm

Comment on Facebook

Did you know that by the time this event happened in Racine, Wisconsin already had a rich history of automobile racing? Henry Ford once quipped "Auto racing began five minutes after the second car was built." In 1875 the State of Wisconsin offered a $10,000 award to any builder that could produce a practical replacement for the horse and cart. That offer led to the first city-to-city auto race. The 1878 race, considered "America's first automobile race", started in Green Bay and ended in Madison. The racecourse looped through neighboring communities of Appleton, Oshkosh, Waupan, Watertown, Fort Atkinson, and Janesville along its way to Madison. Up to seven automobiles are said to have entered the race. The primitive chariots resembling the likes of steam tractors. A far cry from what we think of automotive design today. But, only two made it to the starting line. "The Oshkosh" and "The Green Bay" were poised to take the prize. The chariots named after the build's respective origin cities. The race averaged 6 mph over the 201-mile course. The Green Bay proved faster, but broke down during competition, leaving The Oshkosh as the victor. The Oshkosh's owners were awarded $5,000 just half of the promised purse.

So that is where the name Racine Horlick high school originated…

On this day in 1887 Edna Ferber was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

She grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin and attended Ryan High School where she was active in the debate and literary society and wrote for the school newspaper. Unable to attend college for financial reasons, Ferber began her writing career as the first female reporter at the Appleton newspaper.

At 18, she was hired by the Milwaukee Journal where she worked for four years. She then returned to Appleton to write fiction. Edna Ferber was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her novel "So Big" (1924). Two of her short stories were produced as plays.

Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein collaborated to bring her novel "Show Boat" to the stage. In all she wrote 12 novels, 11 volumes of short stories, six major plays for Broadway and two autobiographies.

Several of her works were made into movies, including "Giant" (1952) and "Ice Palace" (1958). Critics remember Ferber as the greatest female novelist of her time.

📸: Edna Ferber, Writing: WHI ID# 59514
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3 days ago
On this day in 1887 Edna Ferber was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

She grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin and attended Ryan High School where she was active in the debate and literary society and wrote for the school newspaper. Unable to attend college for financial reasons, Ferber began her writing career as the first female reporter at the Appleton newspaper.

At 18, she was hired by the Milwaukee Journal where she worked for four years. She then returned to Appleton to write fiction. Edna Ferber was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her novel So Big (1924). Two of her short stories were produced as plays. 

Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein collaborated to bring her novel Show Boat to the stage. In all she wrote 12 novels, 11 volumes of short stories, six major plays for Broadway and two autobiographies. 

Several of her works were made into movies, including Giant (1952) and Ice Palace (1958). Critics remember Ferber as the greatest female novelist of her time.

📸: Edna Ferber, Writing: WHI ID# 59514

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She should be taught like Faulkner, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and the other men. Her books are so good

She worked on the school newspaper with my great uncle.

Never knew she had a connection to Wisconsin. Thanks for sharing. Loved her books as well as the movies made from them, especially Giant. (Great cast Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean etc.)

The closest elementary school to us in Appleton was named after her.

I just Saw “Giant” last night on TV for the first time. She definitely delved into tough , sensitive issues for her time.

again with the crap about "female novelist." You don't change these from year to year, do you!

From my hometown! Needs more recognition. ❤️

WOW, didn't realize she was an Appletonian!

Love all her stories!

I knew this and she also wrote Cimmarron and that was made into a movie also.

wow Appleton,

Giant was just on INSP

Happy Birthday

No mention she was Jewish.

My favorite author

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On this day in 1935, the Social Security Act was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt.

The act, originally proposed to Congress under the name "Economic Security Bill" was drafted by the Committee on Economic Security, whose Executive Staff Director was Edwin E. Witte, economics professor at the University of Wisconsin and prominent social insurance expert.

📸: Portrait of Edwin E. Witte: WHI ID# 105515
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4 days ago
On this day in 1935, the Social Security Act was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt. 

The act, originally proposed to Congress under the name Economic Security Bill was drafted by the Committee on Economic Security, whose Executive Staff Director was Edwin E. Witte, economics professor at the University of Wisconsin and prominent social insurance expert.

📸: Portrait of Edwin E. Witte: WHI ID# 105515

Comment on Facebook

And if Republicans win in November, they will continue their attempt to eliminate Social Security. ( And Medicaid/Medicare, too).

Utterly amazes me why republicans want to do away with social security, it’s a life savior for the majority of the American people

To all you so called Conservative you say Democrat’s are socialist. Well if you are retired and getting social Security thank a socialist for it. 

Difficult to understand the memory loss so many people seem to have.

This was the start of socialism at the Federal level. Anyone who thinks these programs helped the American people is ignorant of free-market enterprise and the sovereignty of the states and the people of the USA. They richly deserve to be eliminated and the money and power returned to the states and to the individuals.

Massive failure

Elitism at its worst

Very well said Tim.

Essentially it is nothing more than a glorified ponzi scheme. It returns pennies on the dollar to the citizens who are compelled to comply with it.

Terrible ROI....

interesting fact

All you MAGA/Trump/Republican cultist are getting blocked.

What a bunch of MAGA cultists.

Kudos to Liberals

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