The Past Makes A Great Present

Continue your holiday shopping in our museum store! Our retail space at the current museum location and online store remain open to help you find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. 

All exhibit spaces are closed as we prepare for construction of the new history center.

The Past Makes A Great Present

Continue your holiday shopping in our museum store! All exhibit spaces are closed as we prepare for construction of the new history center. Our retail space at the current museum location and online store remain open to help you find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. 

A new history center is on the way! 

Artifacts are on the move! We’ve got big news to share as we move one step closer to the construction of the new Wisconsin history center. This state-of-the-art space will invite visitors to engage with history in an exciting new way and more than double the museum’s current footprint.

Stay tuned! The museum will continue to host walking tours, PK-12 and other exciting programs while we wait for the new history center.

The History of a Museum

The current Wisconsin Historical Museum opened in 1986, at the top of State Street on Madison’s Capitol Square. The building was converted from an old hardware store. The location gave the museum exhibition space and allowed thousands of visitors and students to explore Wisconsin history through 2022.

Explore the exhibits that once filled this museum and learn more about it’s history.

Summer Camps

Campers will enjoy daily interactive adventures as they explore history from throughout Wisconsin. They will learn with us, dive into stories and games, and practice being historical investigators.

Best Deal in History!

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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Wisconsin Historical Museum

Wisconsin Historical Museum

19,077

Collecting, Preserving and Sharing Stories Since 1846.

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On this day in 1884, Roy Chapman Andrews, often called "the real life Indiana Jones", was born in Beloit, Wisconsin.

From his earliest childhood he had a desire for travel and adventure. "I was born to be an explorer," he later wrote in his 1935 book "The Business of Exploring." Using money he saved from his job as a taxidermist, he arrived in New York City in 1906 after graduating from Beloit College. Andrews spent his entire career at the American Museum of Natural History, where he rose through the ranks from departmental assistant, to expedition organizer, to Museum director.

In 1909 and 1910 he sailed as a naturalist on the USS Albatross to the Dutch East Indies. Andrews was known for leading a series of expeditions through China in the early 20th Century, into the Gobi Desert and Mongolia. By 1920 Andrews was ready for a new adventure. For eight years he had been thinking about a grand scheme to "reconstruct the whole past history of the Central Asian plateau" including its geology, fossil life, past climate and vegetation.

Already a seasoned world traveler, Andrews set up housekeeping in Peking with his family, and made his first expedition into the Gobi in 1922. Additional expeditions followed in 1923, 1925, 1928 and 1930. Expecting to find the "missing link" for human evolution, Andrews instead found a wealth of mammal and dinosaur fossils. The finds that garnered the most publicity were dinosaur eggs. "Protoceratops andrewsi" was the first dinosaur fossil discovered by (and named for) Chapman in the Mongolian Gobi, in 1923.

Throughout his career, Andrews explored desert islands, raging seas, remote mountains, and deserts. He survived encounters with angry whales, hungry sharks, pythons, and several brushes with armed bandits. He was erroneously reported dead at least once.

In 1934, Andrews became director of the American Museum of Natural History. Andrews is said to have been one of the models for movie legend Indiana Jones. In 1942 he left the museum and moved to California where he spent the rest of his life writing about his experiences.

He described his many expeditions in several books including "The New Conquest of Central Asia" (1932), include "Meet Your Ancestors" (1945), "In the Days of the Dinosaur" (1959), and the autobiographical works "Under a Lucky Star" (1943) and "An Explorer Comes Home" (1947). Andrews died in Carmel in 1960.

📸: roychapmanandrewssociety.org/ via American Museum of Natural History
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2 days ago
On this day in 1884, Roy Chapman Andrews, often called the real life Indiana Jones, was born in Beloit, Wisconsin. 

From his earliest childhood he had a desire for travel and adventure. I was born to be an explorer, he later wrote in his 1935 book The Business of Exploring. Using money he saved from his job as a taxidermist, he arrived in New York City in 1906 after graduating from Beloit College. Andrews spent his entire career at the American Museum of Natural History, where he rose through the ranks from departmental assistant, to expedition organizer, to Museum director. 

In 1909 and 1910 he sailed as a naturalist on the USS Albatross to the Dutch East Indies. Andrews was known for leading a series of expeditions through China in the early 20th Century, into the Gobi Desert and Mongolia. By 1920 Andrews was ready for a new adventure. For eight years he had been thinking about a grand scheme to reconstruct the whole past history of the Central Asian plateau including its geology, fossil life, past climate and vegetation. 

Already a seasoned world traveler, Andrews set up housekeeping in Peking with his family, and made his first expedition into the Gobi in 1922. Additional expeditions followed in 1923, 1925, 1928 and 1930. Expecting to find the missing link for human evolution, Andrews instead found a wealth of mammal and dinosaur fossils. The finds that garnered the most publicity were dinosaur eggs. Protoceratops andrewsi was the first dinosaur fossil discovered by (and named for) Chapman in the Mongolian Gobi, in 1923. 

Throughout his career, Andrews explored desert islands, raging seas, remote mountains, and deserts. He survived encounters with angry whales, hungry sharks, pythons, and several brushes with armed bandits. He was erroneously reported dead at least once. 

In 1934, Andrews became director of the American Museum of Natural History. Andrews is said to have been one of the models for movie legend Indiana Jones. In 1942 he left the museum and moved to California where he spent the rest of his life writing about his experiences. 

He described his many expeditions in several books including The New Conquest of Central Asia (1932), include Meet Your Ancestors (1945), In the Days of the Dinosaur (1959), and the autobiographical works Under a Lucky Star (1943) and An Explorer Comes Home (1947). Andrews died in Carmel in 1960. 

📸: https://roychapmanandrewssociety.org/ via American Museum of Natural History

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My Great Uncle Albert Johnson who was on the 1923 Central Asiatic Expedition with Andrews and discovered the dinosaur eggs. From the AMNH Research Library - "Assistant in paleontology; Johnson was a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History who had worked with Barnum Brown. He joined the 1923 CAE as assistant in paleontology and discovered a group of 9 dinosaur eggs at the Flaming Cliffs." Photo from dig in Montana.

Even more interesting is the contributions to geology of Thomas C. Chamberlain. He worked in Beloit as a school/teacher and administrator. He also worked with the college and was noteworthy at the University of Wisconsin and the US Geological Survey. Both of these people made truly significant contributions to science.🤔

You can learn more about Roy Chapman Andrews on our website and Facebook Page! Janesville Performing Arts Center will be hosting Tales of Adventure next weekend as well where you can hear the story of Roy Chapman Andrews whose fascinating expeditions to the Gobi remain significant for, among other discoveries, finding the first nests of dinosaur eggs! He faced exceptional dangers in his travels, cheating death many times over and is thought to have served as an inspiration for the Hollywood character “Indiana Jones.”

I don't believe I have heard this interesting story before.

My best friend grew up in his home on St. Lawerence in Beloit.. Her family is still there

Rock River scion✨

Sounds like your next read Ann

Where do I get a hat like that one WOW

He's buried two blocks from my house. 🙂

When weather gets better will try for better pix

Emily Behnke

Don’t forget the famous whip

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Today is Beer Can Appreciation Day!

While Wisconsin (and specifically, Milwaukee) is known as the Beer Capitol of the World, it's less often that we take a minute to appreciate the artistry inherent in the simple beer can.

Pictured below is a composite of some of Wisconsin's most famous beers. Which label is your favorite?

📸: Beers of Wisconsin: WHI ID# 104181
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4 days ago
Today is Beer Can Appreciation Day! 

While Wisconsin (and specifically, Milwaukee) is known as the Beer Capitol of the World, its less often that we take a minute to appreciate the artistry inherent in the simple beer can. 

Pictured below is a composite of some of Wisconsins most famous beers. Which label is your favorite? 

📸: Beers of Wisconsin: WHI ID# 104181

Comment on Facebook

JJ Hulce

Schlitz

The brewery museum in Petosi WI is an interesting place to visit. nationalbrewerymuseum.org/

Old Milwaukee

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