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.

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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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On this day in 1893, Baseball Hall of Famer Burleigh Arland Grimes was born in Emerald, Wisconsin.

Knicknamed "Ol' Stubblebeard" and known as the last legal spitball pitcher, Grimes played major league baseball for the New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Boston Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Giants, and the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1916 to 1934.

After spitball pitching was banned in 1920, 17 established spitball pitchers were allowed to continue with the pitch. Grimes lasted the longest, using the spitball until retiring in 1934. He won 270 games over 19 seasons for seven major league teams, reaching 20 wins in a season on five occasions.

He helped Brooklyn to the championship in 1920, the Cardinals to pennants in 1930 and 1931, and the Cubs to the flag in 1932. Grimes was known as "Ol' Stubblebeard" for his habit of not shaving on the day he was scheduled to pitch.

Grimes managed the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1937 to 1938. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964. Burleigh Arland Grimes died on December 6, 1985 in Clear Lake.

📸: Burleigh Grimes Hall of Fame Baseball Card: vintagecardprices.com/card/baseball-card-values/1933-Goudey-Burleigh-Grimes-64/44592
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11 hours ago
On this day in 1893, Baseball Hall of Famer Burleigh Arland Grimes was born in Emerald, Wisconsin. 

Knicknamed Ol Stubblebeard and known as the last legal spitball pitcher, Grimes played major league baseball for the New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Boston Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Giants, and the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1916 to 1934. 

After spitball pitching was banned in 1920, 17 established spitball pitchers were allowed to continue with the pitch. Grimes lasted the longest, using the spitball until retiring in 1934. He won 270 games over 19 seasons for seven major league teams, reaching 20 wins in a season on five occasions. 

He helped Brooklyn to the championship in 1920, the Cardinals to pennants in 1930 and 1931, and the Cubs to the flag in 1932. Grimes was known as Ol Stubblebeard for his habit of not shaving on the day he was scheduled to pitch. 

Grimes managed the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1937 to 1938. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964. Burleigh Arland Grimes died on December 6, 1985 in Clear Lake.

📸: Burleigh Grimes Hall of Fame Baseball Card: https://vintagecardprices.com/card/baseball-card-values/1933-Goudey-Burleigh-Grimes-64/44592

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A great memory for us

On this day in 1925, Wisconsin Activist Lloyd Barbee was born in Memphis, Tennessee.

Barbee first came to the University of Wisconsin in 1949 to attend law school on a scholarship, but dropped out after his first year, due to racism he encountered from both professors and students.

Barbee later returned to school and earned a law certificate in 1955 and an LL.B. in 1956 from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Barbee began private law practice in Madison, Wisconsin. While working with the Commission on Human Rights, Barbee began his campaign for fair housing legislation, which included the memorable 13 day sit-in on the ground floor of the Capitol in support of fair housing legislation in 1961.

It was in Milwaukee while working at his own law firm that Barbee became involved in the school segregation dispute. As the assembly person for the 18th District in the Wisconsin State Assembly, Barbee often supported legislation that protected and represented people of color, women, members of the LGBTQ community, and other minority groups.

Barbee was also founder and long-time chairman of MUSIC, organized specifically to combat discrimination in the Milwaukee public schools.

📸: Lloyd Barbee at Capitol: WHI ID# 26539

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1 day ago
On this day in 1925, Wisconsin Activist Lloyd Barbee was born in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Barbee first came to the University of Wisconsin in 1949 to attend law school on a scholarship, but dropped out after his first year, due to racism he encountered from both professors and students. 

Barbee later returned to school and earned a law certificate in 1955 and an LL.B. in 1956 from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Barbee began private law practice in Madison, Wisconsin. While working with the Commission on Human Rights, Barbee began his campaign for fair housing legislation, which included the memorable 13 day sit-in on the ground floor of the Capitol in support of fair housing legislation in 1961. 

It was in Milwaukee while working at his own law firm that Barbee became involved in the school segregation dispute. As the assembly person for the 18th District in the Wisconsin State Assembly, Barbee often supported legislation that protected and represented people of color, women, members of the LGBTQ community, and other minority groups. 

Barbee was also founder and long-time chairman of MUSIC, organized specifically to combat discrimination in the Milwaukee public schools.

📸: Lloyd Barbee at Capitol: WHI ID# 26539

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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

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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…

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