Object Photography at the Oconto County Historical Society

John Van Renz, Corner shelf, Oconto County Historical Society

Last week I spent a day with a group of volunteers at the Beyer Home Museum in the town of Oconto. Constructed in 1868, the building was one of the first in the community to be made from brick. The interiors have been restored to the period of the 1890s–the time when lumber baron George Beyer transformed the home from an Italianate mansion into a Victorian showplace.

I photographed several examples of local furniture, including a small hanging corner cupboard attributed to John Van Rens (above). It’s decorated with fine marquetry and inlay, and the shelves are lined with red velvet paper. Other artifacts I documented were some examples of porcelain hand-painted by local women, three quilts, and an unusual handmade banjo decorated with half-moons.

I also got to see another object of historical import–a five foot animatronic fiberglass pickle that once served as the mascot for Oconto’s Bond Pickle Company! Too bad it’s outside of my date range for this project. The pickle reminds me a bit of “Big Dreamers,” a documentary I saw last month at the Wisconsin Film Festival about a small town in Australia and its quest to build a giant fiberglass rain boot in hopes of attracting tourists.

Posted by Emily Pfotenhauer.

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