Tag Archives: Travel

A quick stop in Cameron

A heavily ornamented chest of drawers made in Norway and brought to Barron County by 19th century Norwegian immigrants.

In July, I spent two of the hottest days of the summer in the northwest part of the state.  My ultimate destination was the Stone Lake Area Historical Society, where I trained volunteers in scanning, photography, and cataloging to get them started on building a digital collection for Wisconsin Heritage Online. On the way to Stone Lake, I made a detour to the New Richmond Heritage Center to look at their decorative arts collection (items from that visit will be online soon). Between New Richmond and Stone Lake I stopped at the Pioneer Village Museum, operated by the Barron County Historical Society in Cameron.

An exhibition case of beadwork and other crafts made by Susie Cadotte, Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe.

It was late in the afternoon by the time I got to Cameron, but museum director Caroline Olson met me at the gate and gave me a whirlwind tour of the museum complex–37 buildings including exhibit halls, a church, and several log dwellings and commercial buildings that have been moved to the site. Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to do my usual full object documentation, but I took lots of snapshots of interesting artifacts, both Wisconsin-made and not.

Andrew Peterson of Poskin, Wisconsin built the Ebenezer Lutheran Church in 1908 as well as the pulpit, altar, altar rail and pews. The church and most of its interior fittings were moved to the museum in 1972.

This chair, in the style of a traditional Norwegian kubbestol, is considered the literal county seat of Barron County. The museum label tells the story of the chair's role in the establishment of the community of Barron as the seat of county government: "This chair is known as the County Seat because it was within its seat that in 1874, County Clerk Woodbury S. Grover packed the meager records of this young county and on a cold winter night walked from Rice Lake to Barron, depositing them with John Quaderer, who owned the Quaderer House Hotel."

–Posted by Emily Pfotenhauer

Advertisements

Springtime in Portage

The Historic Indian Agency house was built by the United States government in 1832 for John Kinzie, the Indian Agent to the Ho Chunk Nation in Wisconsin. The house was restored by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in 1932.

This chest of drawers in the late neoclassical (Empire) style is said to have been made in Green Bay ca. 1825.

In late April, I headed up to Portage on a beautiful spring morning to visit the Historic Indian Agency House and meet with the site’s Executive Director, Destinee Udelhoven. I was there to photograph a single compelling artifact–a chest of drawers that, according to early Agency House records, was made in Green Bay around 1825. Although a more specific history is unknown, the use of an unusual wood type (tamarack) and the rough construction methods that lie behind the chest’s  fashionable facade certainly suggest that it could have been made in an early 19th-century settlement in the Great Lakes region. A full catalog entry with several photos will be online in the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database later this spring.

During my visit, I couldn’t resist snapping some photos of the site in its springtime glory–including a cat from the caretaker’s house who was patrolling the grounds.

Cat in front of the Agency House's split-rail fence.

The tri-lingual welcome sign on the front door of the Visitors Center.

Promotion at the Delafield Antique Show

I spent last weekend doing some intensive project promotion at the Delafield Antique Show. Ron and Debby Christman, the show’s organizers, had very generously offered me a booth space, where I set up a digital projector and my laptop to give live demos of the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database website. I had some fascinating conversations with dealers, collectors and other interested folks, most of whom were hearing about the project for the first time. The weekend yielded a number of exciting new leads that will make great additions to the database. In fact, I’m heading out this afternoon to photograph some ironwork in a nearby private collection.

Thank you to all who took the time to stop and talk. Enjoy the database, and keep an eye on the blog as this resource continues to grow this summer!

Posted by Emily Pfotenhauer.

A Tour of Buffalo County

Earlier this spring I spoke with Kelly Herold, director of the Buffalo County Historical Society in Alma, to find out more about their collections. He very generously offered to contact the other historic sites in the county and arrange some appointments for me when I was in the area. Two weeks ago I spent a beautiful sunny day driving all over Buffalo County with Kelly. In addition to the Buffalo County Historical Society, we visited five sites: the Mondovi Area Historical Society, the Lyster Lutheran Church, the Alma Historical Society, the Buffalo City-Cochrane Area Historical Society, and the Fountain City Area Historical Society. I’ve posted a little photo tour of my trip below. Many thanks to Kelly and to all of the volunteers who took the time to share their museums and collections! 

Detail of a painted panel from the Jordet farm in Modena, 1896, now in the collection of the BUffalo County Historical Society.
Detail of a painted panel from the Jordet farm in Modena, 1896, now in the Buffalo County Historical Society’s collection.
The local history exhibits in the Mondovi Area Historical Society's buildings include a section dedicated to the community's Knights of Pythias chapter, complete with a very throne-like chair!

The local history exhibits in the Mondovi Area Historical Society's buildings include a section dedicated to the community's Knights of Pythias chapter, complete with a very throne-like chair!

 An immigrant trunk marked with the travel route from Norway to America, from the collection of the Mondovi Area Historical Society.

An immigrant trunk marked with the travel route from Norway to America, from the collection of the Mondovi Area Historical Society.

Click below for more photos!

Continue reading

Object Photography at the Grant County Historical Society

Needlework picture attributed to Susan Schnee, Platteville, ca. 1840.

Needlework picture attributed to Susan Schnee, Platteville, ca. 1840.

I’ve been on the road quite a bit lately and am starting to get caught up on blogging about some of my latest site visits. Last week I spent a day in Lancaster photographing artifacts at the Grant County Historical Society. One of my favorite items in their collection is a needlework picture depicting Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The work descended in the family of Susan Schnee and is said to have been made by her in about 1840, after she arrived in Wisconsin from Lebanon, Pennsylvania with her parents in the 1830s. 

I also photographed a set of doll furniture crafted from bird’s-eye-maple by Allen Cartwright, a British-born cabinetmaker who worked for the Morgan Company, a woodwork manufactory in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. According to family tradition, Cartwright made the set as a Christmas present for his great-granddaughter in 1893.  

Doll-sized chest of drawers, Allen Cartwright, Oshkosh, 1893.

Doll-sized chest of drawers, Allen Cartwright, Oshkosh, 1893.

Posted by Emily Pfotenhauer.

Delafield Antique Show

This weekend I attended the Delafield Antique Show in (you guessed it) Delafield. This is a major biannual show organized by Ron and Debby Christman of the Antiques Center at Wales, featuring dealers from throughout the Midwest and some from further afield (I saw booths from Connecticut and New York).

I got to see some of the dealers/collectors from the Milwaukee area who I met during my fieldwork for the Finest in the Western Country exhibition and also met some new people with Wisconsin collections. Many of the people I talked to said they’ve enjoyed the exhibit–although they wish the show was larger!

I agree–there’s so much out there that I wasn’t able to include, but this show is really just the beginning of the endeavor. My hope is that this small exhibit will bring more objects to light and inspire more excitement about early Wisconsin decorative arts. I’m planning to work with more private collectors in the upcoming months (years?) to expand the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database. With more research and more new findings, I can certainly forsee some exciting exhibitions in the future.

Posted by Emily Pfotenhauer.

Object Photography at the Mayville Historical Society

On August 11 I spent a beautiful sunny day at the Mayville Historical Society in Dodge County. The Society manages a complex of buildings, the largest of which is the Hollenstein Carriage Factory and House (the Hollensteins linked their business and their residence). I spent most of my time in the home, photographing a wide assortment of artifacts including a spinning wheel made by local wood turner Frank Fell, needlework by Rudolph Sauerhering, and a willow basket by Joseph Leibl. Volunteers Barbara Larsen and Lois Gadow were extremely helpful and spent the entire day with me. Board members Ann Guse and Alyce Wurtz joined us and took me to lunch.

Look for artifacts from the Mayville Historical Society in the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database later this fall.

Posted by Emily Pfotenhauer.