The dairy industry gets a great deal of attention at the Wisconsin Historical Society Museum. Displays feature the wide variety of glass bottles with the names of numerous bottling companies that once were in the state along with historical displays of the dairy research that led to the development of the dairy industry. Photo By Gloria Hafemeister
Wisconsin's history is built onboth agriculture and manufacturing
Wheat, war, cows and tourism - all are major parts of Wisconsin's history.
Wisconsin's history is as rich as its soil and as diverse as its immigrants.
The Wisconsin Historical Society Museum in Madison clearly depicts Wisconsin's rich history, including its agriculture.
The first thing visitors see when they step off the elevator is a nearly life-sized Holstein cow standing, not on grass, but on a bed of shiny brass parts.
The exhibit makes it clear to the many school groups and others visiting the exhibit that Wisconsin's history is built on both agriculture and manufacturing.
Visitors learn, through the variety of exhibits, that the extensive river system played an important role in the shaping of Wisconsin as a path for French fur traders who traveled between Green Bay and Prairie du Chien.
Visitors can walk into a mine, designed to show how the early lead miners in the southwestern part of the state made their living.
Wisconsin's military history and surveying are depicted, along with exhibits featuring early transportation systems.
While exhibits feature all aspects of the state's diversity, agriculture takes a prominent place in the displays.
Beginning with wheat farming, the agriculture area follows the experiences of the Krueger family at Watertown for several generations as they move from wheat farming to more diversity, including dairying.
Highlighted in the displays is the application of scientific methods and the mechanization of agriculture that helped the state gain its place as a leader in the agricultural industry.
Blacksmithing and woodworking, a big part of the development of the agricultural industry, are depicted along with the early tools of the trade.
Children enjoy the opportunity to sit in the cab of a tractor, highlighting the roll that J.I. Case farm equipment company played in growing Wisconsin's economy.
Home-life on the farm is illustrated with displays on old methods of laundering, making butter and butchering.
The dairy industry is highlighted in numerous displays including a variety of milk bottles, a 1950s milking machine and more.
The dairy display lets viewers gain an appreciation for the influence of the research accomplishments at the University of Wisconsin. Included are the Babcock milk test, the vitamin D research of Dr. Harry Steenbock, a soil testing kit developed by Emit Truog and many other projects.
Visitors on self-guided tours can see these things and more.
School groups have the benefit of a guide explaining details about some of the exhibits. Since fourth graders study Wisconsin and agriculture, these areas are highlighted on tours.