Established around 1937, American Science & Surplus, a science-related hobby store, equips curious customers with gadgets that fulfill educational pursuits. For customers working on science experiments, the shop carries lab supplies and equipment such as burner stands, microscopes, and petri dishes. Tinkerers can pick up spare parts for their projects, such as power adapters or wheels to help with building model cars or turning TV remote controls into cat toys. The shop's inventory also includes robot parts, school and art supplies, and home accessories such as flexible chopping mats, cheeseburger-shaped kitchen timers, and desk toys.
Each month, a glossy new issue of Madison Magazine arrives in the mailboxes of readers, sharing local stories and events such as a profile of a local band instructor or an upcoming ballet folkl?rico performance. For nearly 35 years, the award-winning publication has filled pages with articles and photographs showcasing the Madison area?s restaurants, businesses, and cultural life. The arts and entertainment section highlights events such as the Madison World Music Festival, and food and dining articles explore new barbecue spots and share recipes that highlight local and seasonal ingredients. In addition to regularly reserving space for subjects such as health and habitat, the magazine turns out once-a-year creations, such as an annual food lover's issue and a Best of Madison Readers? Poll that directs readers toward comfortable coffeehouses and talented theater companies.
The Exclusive Company—a Wisconsin-bred music-and-movie retailer—has given the gift of song since 1956, earning a Best of Milwaukee award from Shepherd Express readers in 2011. Passionate staffers guide visitors toward sprawling collections of rock and jazz and bins brimming with DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, and loose 8mm slides from Kenny G's summer vacation. In addition to peddling new vinyl releases such as El Camino by the Black Keys and Revolver by T-Pain, the shop functions as a trading post, helping to find loving homes for preowned films and music. All used discs are carefully buffed into shape before meeting their new owners, and each comes backed by a money-back guarantee, which promises store credit if a preowned item exhibits biting tendencies. Most used CDs, DVDs, and vinyl cost less than $20.
Twin sisters and Alpaca Art owners Becky and Brenda helm the cheery studio’s kiln and ready-to-paint bisque objects. Guests of the studio sidle up to an “idea counter” stocked with stamps, stencils, and inspirational booklets before bringing patterns to life on a chosen ceramic. During a weeklong layover in the shop, each personalized curio receives a coat of clear glaze and boards the kiln, becoming immune to the heat of microwaves, dishwashers, and stewardesses who want to put tray tables in their upright and locked positions. The studio also hosts pottery-painting parties for birthdays and other special events and leads summer camps for children and workshops for adults.
With more than one million book titles to choose from, Barnes & Noble stocks one of the retail world's largest selections of bound pages, along with a huge assortment of educational toys and games. Keep sprightly scribes from using walls, furniture, and siblings as writing surfaces with the help of LeapFrog’s Scribble & Write ($24.95 online), or indulge kids’ natural passions for outer space and solid detective work with a LEGO Space Police Smash ’n’ Grab set ($19.95 online).
The Waukesha County Museum, which started in a basement room of the old courthouse in 1914, houses a more-than-2,000-square-foot repository for American history. The Memories of World War II touring exhibit pays homage to veterans, photographers, and reporters with more than 100 photos from Associated Press archives in addition to testimonies and hundreds of artifacts donated by local residents. Duck into the Greatest Generation Theater for a 20-minute film that illuminates the sagas of four local surviving WWII veterans.