‘Odd Wisconsin’ historical museum hosts a different kind of exhibition

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Odd Wisconsin museum in Madison, Wis.

“Odd Wisconsin,” an exhibit featuring an exclusive collection of curious and authentic Wisconsin artifacts is open to the public at the Wisconsin Historical Museum on Madison’s Capitol Square. “Odd Wisconsin” shares the stories of the people, places and things that make the state uniquely “Wisconsin.”

“Odd Wisconsin” explores a side of history probably not heard in the classroom. Why would the University of Wisconsin have a band play for cows? Why was a Wisconsin Congressman given a 7-foot-long bowie knife at the Republican National Convention in 1860? How can a few strips of aluminum, a plastic pink flamingo, and a bunch of bras make history? You may find yourself surprised, perplexed and astonished by the answers.

“Odd Wisconsin” isn’t all unusual objects. Sometimes there’s more to the story of seemingly commonplace items. “Odd Wisconsin” will reveal what a simple rock, a drinking glass and an engine block have to say, respectively, about race relations in the 1950s, a presidential assassination attempt, and a radical 1960s war protest gone wrong. Too often a cultural object or a work of art must be one-of-a-kind to be considered a museum treasure, but “Odd Wisconsin” is chock full of everyday objects turned into something full of mystery, history and intrigue.  

odd wisconsin potter knifeThe Wisconsin Historical Museum is located at 30 N. Carroll St. and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is by donation: $4 for adults, $3 for children under 18 or $10 for families. Admission is free for Wisconsin Historical Society members.
Call 608-264-6555 for more information, or visit the museum online at www.wisconsinhistory.org/ museum/OddWisconsin/

Left: 7-foot long Bowie knife presented to John Fox Potter at 1860 Republican National convention. 

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"Odd Wisconsin" is chock full of everyday objects turned into something full of mystery, history and intrigue.
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Paper dress made by Scott Paper Co. in Wisconsin 1966
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Surveyor's tree blaze from disputed border between Wisconsin and Michigan, 1841
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Detail of Bowie knife.

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