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The Wisconsin Historical Society's traveling exhibition is on view now at Milwaukee Public Library Downtown.

Wisconsin Historical Society's exhibit brings events to Central Library

Much like a traveling tent show, the Wisconsin Historical Society is moving its new exhibition around the state and this month it's in Milwaukee.

"The Wisconsin History Tour: Sharing Wisconsin's Stories One Community at a Time" is on view on the first floor of the Central Milwaukee Public Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave., through Jan. 29.

The exhibition, on a series of panels, highlights not only some of the countless historical treasures in the collection of the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, but also some of the books published by the WHS Press.

You can see the exhibit for free, Monday from noon to 8 p.m.; Tuesday 9 a.m.-8 p.m.,; Wednesday-Friday, 9-6; Saturday, 9-5 and Sunday, 1-5.

When the exhibition leaves Brew City, it travels to Green Bay, Appleton, Eau Claire and other locations around the state for the remainder of 2014.

Among the topics featured on the panels are the history of the Ho-Chunk – with photographs from "The People of the Big Voice" book – Ferdinand Hotz's photographs of Door County, the story of Horlick and the invention of malted milk in Racine, shipwrecks at the bottom of Lakes Michigan and Superior, Milwaukee's brewing past and more.

There are screens showing informative videos and one with a series of quizzes to test your knowledge of Badger State history.

My favorite bit, however, is the binder of Sanborn Fire Insurance maps of Downtown Milwaukee and the East Side and Third Ward. I often use these maps, but always online. So, to see them in their original (albeit color photocopied) state is really a treat.

Though the show has been open since Jan. 3, the programming really heats up this week with appearances and talks and other events with authors, genealogists, architects, musicians and archaeologists.

The first event, on Jan. 20 is a noon event hosted by Wisconsin Historical Society Director of Outreach Jim Draeger. Milwaukee historian John Gurda, president of the Milwaukee Public Library Board of Trustees, will speak an. At 4 p.m., Draeger will lead a Show Us Your Stuff program that invites guests to bring an item (or a photo of it) and share its story.

At 6 p.m., Coast Guard Captain Amy Cocanour, commander of the Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan, based in Milwaukee, will launch a discussion of lighthouse history with Milwaukee's Barb and Ken Wardius, authors of the Society Press book "Wisconsin Lighthouses."

Among the other speakers slated to appear at related events are Terese Allen, author of "The Flavor of Wisconsin," Old World Wisconsin master gardener Marcia Carmichael, author of "Putting Down Roots," Dr. Patty Loew, author of "Indian Nations of Wisconsin" and Wisconsin Historical Society underwater archeologist Tami Thomsen, who will talk about what she's learned from Milwaukee area shipwrecks.

Boswell Book Co. will sell related books at a number of the events.

There will also be genealogy workshops, lunchtime history discussions and a"Speakeasy Happy Hour" on Jan. 23 at Best Place at the former Pabst Brewery site. Complete events details and information on the exhibition can be found at


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