Not just a pretty face... Founded in 1924, the Oshkosh Public Museum is a local history museum housed in the beautiful Sawyer home, with luxurious interiors designed by Tiffany Studios. In addition to the historic Sawyer home, the museum has 10,000 square feet of immersive exhibits that bring the region's history to life.
Resting beneath natural light from the skylights mounted above it, the hulking figure of the 1.2 million-pound Union Pacific Big Boy cloaks visitors in a shadow that stretches for nearly 50 yards. As guests ascend the monstrous cab of this steam locomotive, they enter the centerpiece of the National Railroad Museum, a chamber echoing with more than 150 years of American railroading history.
After exiting Big Boy, guests can view a computer-generated porter that recounts how African-American rail workers formed the nation's first all-black labor union, and another stop invites passengers to view inside a portion of General Eisenhower's WWII command train. Elsewhere in the museum, various collections are housed with more than 15,000 photographs, archives such as maps and engineering drawings, and more than 5,000 artifacts including uniforms and tools.
The National Railroad Museum has over 60 pieces of rolling stock, including diesel, steam, and electric locomotives, and passenger and freight cars. Among these are some of the most influential and unique pieces in railroading history, including a number of items that pertain to the state of Wisconsin.
Other must-sees of the museum include General Motors’ experimental Aerotrain; the streamlined Pennsylvania Railroad No. 4890, a GG-1 electric locomotive; and the Frederick Bauer Drumhead Collection, the largest, single collection of railroad drumheads known to exist in the United States. Most facilities are accessible, except where rolling stock cannot be altered due to their historic nature. The Museum’s train ride is accessible, and a wheelchair lift is available.
A train ride is offered on a daily basis from May through September and guided tours are available from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The Museum also hosts a variety of special events for all ages.
Founded in 1969 by a group of commercial fishermen, Door County Maritime Museum’s three locations illuminate the history of area waterways and the seafarers who've traveled them. The 20,000-square-foot Sturgeon Bay location, open 365 days a year, focuses on the evolution of shipbuilding. Its galleries house model ships ideal for transporting hand soap across sinks, along with displays on lighthouses and shipwrecks.
For an interactive adventure, patrons can board a fully restored Chicago fire tug from the 1960s for a two-hour in-water cruise, narrated by a trained docent. The Gills Rock location focuses on the shipwrecks that have peppered the Door Peninsula region, with supplementary exhibits on Great Lakes pirate Dan Seavey and maritime life-saving techniques, such as never boarding a ship named Titanic. Alternatively, patrons can climb 97 spiral-staircase steps to the summit of the Cana Island Lighthouse, which, along with the keeper’s house, has been preserved since 1869. In addition to educational displays, the museum also hosts various events to unite the maritime-enthusiast community. :m]]
It’s a startling sight: against the backdrop of green, rolling hills, clusters of ostriches and peacocks strut across wooden-fenced pastures, their caws overpowering the lowing of nearby buffalo and elk. This collection of exotic animals represents a labor of love for Glacier Ridge Animal Farm owners Mark and Michelle Schultz, who have welcomed more than 30 animal species onto their farm.
In addition to the lively menagerie, Mr. and Mrs. Schultz populate their property with a farm store housed inside a 100-year-old barn. They promote their farm raised bison and elk meat, seasonal pies, and other Wisconsin-made products.
EAA AirVenture Museum exhibits more than 20,000 aviation artifacts and approximately 225 aircraft spanning the colorful history of human flight. Visitors can fulfill needs for imagined speed by gazing upon WWII-era fighter planes such as the majestic Spitfire or the muscular F-51D Mustang, inspired by the engineer's deep friendship with Pegasus. Specimens such as the skeletal Fike Model C and the appropriately named Stits Sky Baby, built in 1952 to be the world's smallest airplane, represent more experimental chapters in aviation history. Today's Groupon also includes a ride for two in a MaxFlight simulator that swings and rolls as it responds to complex stunts and aerial maneuvers.
Heritage Hill State Historical Park is a living-history museum, dedicated to the preservation of buildings and artifacts of Northeast Wisconsin and its citizens. The 50-acre park houses carefully reproduced greenery and actual log cabins and buildings from the 1800s, such as a U.S. military fort hospital and a fur trader’s cabin, where mammals of all shapes and sizes would trade their dusty old pelts for feature-loaded furs. Heritage Hill State Historical Park also proudly displays a collection of more than 11,000 artifacts, including original artwork, books, clothing, and furnishings. To truly bring Wisconsin history to life, volunteers representing a way of life interact with park attendants, showing curious customers the various trades and methods of early Wisconsin living.