Curator Emily Rock at 920-735-9370 x. 115 or 


Tuesday - Sunday

11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

330 E. College Ave., Appleton, WI


"Meet the Artist" Neon Exhibit Tour

Wednesday, March 25, 2015, 7:00pm

$12 per person; $10 for members
Registration Required

Join neon sign collector and artisan Jed Schleisner for an exclusive gallery tour of Neon: Darkness Electrified. Hear behind the scenes stories of how he restores and collects vintage signs while enjoying a tasty treat. Root beer floats will be served in homage to the iconic Dogs ‘n Suds sign featured in the exhibit. Space is limited. Please call Emily at 920-735-9370 x. 115 to confirm your registration if you RSVP to the event page.

Wisconsin History Tour Programming

Tuesday, March 17 - Friday, March 20, 2015

Each month the Wisconsin Historical Society makes history come alive in a Wisconsin city. Come and see an exhibit of historic photographs, documents and stories about the Wisconsin community hosting the Tour. Attend educational events, lectures by authors, genealogy workshops, demonstrations and more. All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. For more information, visit www.wisconsinhistorytour.org.

Tuesday, March 17: Opening Day

11 a.m.  Meet and Greet at the Exhibit
Join your hosts, Society Director of Outreach Jim Draeger, and Wisconsin History Tour Coordinator Mary Jane Connor at the History Museum at the Castle for a personal welcome and a guided tour of the exhibit. Three lucky visitors will win the Society Press book “Irish in Wisconsin” in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day!

12 p.m.  Magical Wisconsin
Presented by Illusionist Tristan Crist; Archivist Peter Shrake; Circus World Executive Director Scott O’Donnell; and Tom Boldt, CEO, The Boldt Company, and Houdini Aficionado.

Explore the spell-binding association of magic with the state of Wisconsin in this dynamic program. Through a mix of live performance and associated elements from the collection at Circus World fill your day with MAGIC!

3 p.m.  The History and Future of the Fox Locks
Join us for a panel discussion that delves into the history and future of the Fox River. The panel will explore the fascinating history of the lock system, the rare survival of its hand operated locks, and the potential for future recreation and tourism.  Moderated by State Historic Preservation Officer Jim Draeger, the panel includes Harlen Kiesow, co-CEO of the Fox River Navigational System Authority; Candice Mortara, executive director of the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway; and Anne Biebel of Cornerstone Preservation, historical consultant for lock preservation projects.

6 p.m.  Wisconsin’s Own Remarkable Homes:

A Premiere Screening
Presented by Jim Draeger, State Historic Preservation Officer, and Wisconsin Public Television

Tour some of the state’s most majestic and historic homes through the screening of Wisconsin Public Television’s newest documentary, “Remarkable Homes,” based on the Society Press book “Wisconsin’s Own: Twenty Remarkable Homes.” This exclusive event features an insider’s look at what it is like to live in and maintain the Havilah Babcock House in Neenah, with owner Peter Adams. Twenty lucky attendees will win tickets to a post-event private tour of the home with Peter!

Wednesday, March 18 – Genealogy Day

10 a.m.  Practical Preservation for Your Family Treasures
Presented by Katie Mullen, Preservation Coordinator, Wisconsin Historical Society Library-Archives

We will share pragmatic ways to preserve a variety of family treasures including the scrapbooks and digital photographs that you create now, as well as inherited family heirlooms or archives. Learn when and where to find a conservator to help.

12 p.m.  Mai Ya – A Hmong Family Journey
Presented by author Sheila Cohen

Follow the immigrant story of Hmong in Wisconsin through the experiences of a young girl and her family, from a refugee camp in Thailand to their new life in Wisconsin. Sheila Cohen is the author of “Mai Ya's Long Journey,” a book in the Badger Biographies series for young readers from the Society Press.

2 p.m.  Discover the Roots of your Family Tree

and Local History
Presented by Lori Bessler, Society Reference Librarian, and Deb Anderson, Green Bay Area Research Center Archivist

Come stump our librarians and archivists! In this two-part session, the presenters will discuss the Society’s vast genealogical and history collections in Madison and throughout the state at the ARCs.  In the second part of the presentation, we will answer your questions and unearth resources to solve problems that have been stumping you!

5:30 p.m.  Annual Dinner for the Outagamie County Historical Society with guest Michael Edmonds, presenting “Risking Everything: The Freedom Summer Story”
(Dinner reservations required)

Learn about the volunteers and Mississippi residents who risked everything in the epic civil rights struggle to register Mississippi’s black voters during the summer of 1964, Freedom Summer. In this special presentation, Michael Edmonds, deputy director of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Library-Archives, will share these heroic stories as well as the experiences of the graduate students who gathered documents for the Society to preserve for future generations. Edmonds’ Society Press book “Risking Everything: A Freedom Summer Reader” will be available for purchase after the presentation.

Please make dinner reservations by contacting OCHS at 920-735-9370 by March 11. $15 general public, $11.50 for OCHS and Wisconsin Historical Society Members. Visitors may attend the talk only at no charge - please arrive by 6:15 p.m.

Thursday, March 19

10 a.m.  Behind the Scenes: The Story Behind the Novel and Film, “Giant,” by Appleton’s Edna Ferber
Presented by Mary Huelsbeck, Assistant Director of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research

Once a reporter for the “Appleton Daily Crescent,” Edna Ferber went on to be a Pulitzer Prize winner. Her novel “Giant” and its film adaptation starring Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean were a lot like Texas – big, controversial, and celebrated. Come and learn about Ferber’s inspiration for writing the novel, and how the film was made, from materials and papers donated to the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research from her great-niece.

12 p.m.  Preserving the Past in Today’s Kitchen
Presented by Kathy Dimig, Lead Interpreter, Wade House

Learn how to apply old world methods of preserving foods in your kitchen! Find out how Wisconsinites smoked meats and preserved milk and fruits in the mid-19th century and how they are similar and different from your practices today. Enjoy samples of jams and cheese made with the techniques featured in the presentation!

5:30 p.m. History Happy Hour
Jim’s Place, 223 E. College Avenue, Appleton

Join us for a speakeasy happy hour! Yak it up over vintage cocktails, decorate your own period tie or flapper headband and get your mugshot taken. The activities are free, but the hooch is not! Signed copies of the Society Press’s best-selling book “Bottoms Up: A Taste of Wisconsin’s Bar & Brewing History” will be available for purchase. Members of the Wisconsin Historical Society get a free drink!

Friday, March 20

10 a.m.  Your Stuff, Your Story
Virtually everyone collects something. We want to know what you collect. Bring an item that has a story to tell such as a historic photo, art, glassware, clothing, or collectables such as breweriana or dolls. Come share your stories with us.

12 p.m.  People of the Sturgeon            
Presented by author Kathleen Schmidt Kline

Dive into a good—and true—fish tale with science writer Kathleen Schmidt Kline from the Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, and coauthor of the Society Press book “People of the Sturgeon: Wisconsin’s Love Affair with the Ancient Fish.” Journey through a colorful cast of characters, from conservationists and spear-makers to fishermen and decoy carvers.