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.
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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.
Members Get Free Admission!
Become a Wisconsin Historical Society member and visit all 12 of our historic sites for free! Membership pays for itself in as little as two visits and includes other great benefits like discounts and reciprocal benefits to more than 1,200 organizations.
This Wednesday in Lake Mills, join authors Jenny Kalvaitis and Kristen Whitson as they explore the rich and diverse history of LGBTQ+ activism in Wisconsin and discuss their book We Will Always Be Here!
Lake Mills Aztalan Historical Society welcomes authors Jenny Kalvaitis and Kristen Whitson to Pyramid Event Venue, discussing their teen-focused book We Will Always Be Here: A Guide of Exploring and Understanding the History of LGBTQ+ Activism in Wisconsin. Learn how the book came to be, hear the stories of Wisconsin's LGBTQ+ historical figures, and understand how teen voices informed the process of writing the book. Stick around for Q & A and discussion. Books will be available for sale, but no need to have read the book to join the discussion!
Click here to learn more: wihist.org/3FKt9d9 ... See MoreSee Less
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On this day in 1874, magician Harry Houdini was born!
Although Harry Houdini claimed Appleton as his home town, he was born Erich Weiss in Budapest, Hungary, and only came to Appleton in 1878 when his father Samuel accepted a post as the city's first rabbi. Samuel Weiss was dismissed by his congregation in 1883 and moved first to Milwaukee and finally to New York, where he and his family struggled to make a living.
Young Erich was fascinated by magic and circuses from an early age, and began his career as a magician in 1891 with Jacob Hyman as one of "The Brothers Houdini," a name inspired by the French magician Houdin.
In 1893 Houdini married Wilhelmina (Bess) Rahner and together the two undertook a music hall career with an escape act. They had little success until Martin Beck, a major figure in vaudeville spotted the act and offered Houdini a place on his Orpheum circuit in 1897.
Beck sent Houdini to England where he performed with great success until his return to the U.S. in 1907. Besides escaping from handcuffs, shackles, straitjackets and other constraints, Houdini added danger and excitement to his acts by escaping from water-filled containers.
Between 1919 and 1923 Houdini expanded his career by making six motion pictures, though none were particularly successful. In the 1920s he turned his attention to debunking spiritualism, the belief that the dead can contact the living.
While performing in Montreal in October 1926 Houdini was unexpectedly struck in the abdomen by a college student testing his claim to be able to withstand any blow. Houdini died in a Detroit hospital on October 31 of peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix, though whether the blow was the cause of the rupture remains in doubt.
📸: Houdini, Harry: WHI ID# 3629 ... See MoreSee Less
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Go back right now and change "was born" to "made his first escape."
Today is National Puppy Day!
If you think it's only recently that people have obsessively taken pictures of their pets, you would be wrong. Since the invention of photography, people have documented their favorite animals--especially puppies.
Take a look at our photo archives for some fascinating bits of animal history (and a seratonin boost) here: wihist.org/3Z9CK44
📸: Pug Sitting on a Chair: WHI ID# 112291
📸: Natwe Family: WHI ID# 35072
📸: Senator Jess Miller Auctioning Dog: WHI ID# 34451 ... See MoreSee Less
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Happy puppy day Brody. Now chill!!🤞