Projects Funded in 2014

Zoom down the page to read descriptions of all projects given Major Grants in 2014.


Mini Grants Awarded in 2014

Rosholt’s Main Street: Audio Walking Tour | $2,000 awarded to Town 25 North Historical Society

Town 25 North Historical Society is creating a walking tour of the community’s buildings and sites of historic and cultural value.  They want to educate the community and at the same time stimulate thinking about the role of Rosholt’s Main Street in the past and in the present. The tour integrates historical research and first-person interviews and is available digitally via hand-held devices on loan from the Portage County Library in Rosholt.  The finished product will be premiered at the Portage County Fair in September 2015.

An Inquiry into Skill in Wood Printing Type Production | $1,928 awarded to Two Rivers Historical Society

This project fits our Working Lives Request for Proposals. Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Two Rivers will explore the meaning of skill in industrial work.  Wood type manufacturing was once done at Hamilton and is an important part of the industrial heritage of Two Rivers. Events include a live demonstration of running a a die-stamping machine under simulated industrial production conditions, as well as a presentation at the Lester Public Museum about the history of wood type manufacturing in Two Rivers.

Public Humanities Programming for ARTi Gras 2015 | $2,000 awarded to Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre

A presentation about the 1964-1965 World’s Fair, a poetry slam emceed by a Wisconsin Poet Laureate, and a historical music concert will be featured programs at ARTi Gras 2015, which takes place in Wisconsin Rapids in February 2015.  Partnering organizations and venues include the Central Wisconsin Cultural Center, the South Wood County Historical Museum, and the Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre.

Fourth Annual Tony Woiak History Festival | $1,040 awarded to Washburn Heritage Association

Developed in partnership with the Washburn Area Historical Society and presented in January and February 2015 at StageNorth in Washburn, a series of free, public presentations will explore regional topics.  Individual presentations will focus on influential women of Washburn, the Great Depression in Wisconsin, legends of the Apostle Islands, and the history of the Sand Island Lighthouse.

Bernhard Schneider:  From Lens to Brush |  $2,000 awarded to the Cedarburg Art Museum

The paintings and photographs of Bernhard Schneider (1843-1907), a German-born artist who settled in Cedarburg in the 1890s, are on exhibit at the museum this fall.  Public programs at the museum, the Cedarburg Public Library, and Cedarburg Cultural Center feature humanities experts discussing Schneider’s role in the panorama painting industry in Milwaukee in the 1880s, the community history captured by Schneider’s images, and other topics.

Artist Residency for ETTY | $2,000 awarded to the Jewish Museum Milwaukee

Throughout November, Susan Stein will perform her one-woman show, “ETTY,” for students and adults in Milwaukee and beyond.  ETTY explores the life of Etty Hillesum, a young Dutch woman who died in the Holocaust.  The performances extend the reach of the museum’s exhibit, Stitching History from the Holocaust, which received WHC Major grant funding in 2013.

Dark La Crosse Tour: The Radio Show | $2,000 awarded to the La Crosse Public Library, Archives Department

During three performances at the Pump House Regional Arts Center in January 2015, local history experts will tell stories about the seedier side of La Crosse’s history.  Drawn from primary source materials in the archives, the stories explore themes of lumbering, prostitution, murder, the paranormal, the Great Depression, and Prohibition.  Audience members will take home a bibliography of existing local history sources, a map of events, and links to local digitized content.

Lorine Niedecker Wisconsin Poetry Festival | $850 awarded to the Friends of Lorine Niedecker

This annual festival, scheduled this year for October 10 and 11 in Fort Atkinson, celebrates the work and life of poet Lorine Niedecker and Wisconsin poets and poetry in general.  Individual presentations explore Niedecker’s sense of place, aspects of her biography, and innovative collaborations aimed at engaging people with poetry in their everyday lives.

Discovering Austen | $2,000 awarded to Arts Wisconsin

In January and February 2015, Kristin Hammargren will perform her one-woman show “Discovering Austen” at public libraries in northeast Wisconsin.  Featuring excerpts from Jane Austen’s novels, letters, and lesser-known early work, these free performances are meant to inspire audience members to develop their own, more nuanced opinions of Austen’s life and work.

First Annual “Dig Into the Past”: Introducing Children to Archaeology | $1,550 awarded to the Mount Horeb Area Historical Society

In Mount Horeb on Saturday, October 4, 2014, humanities experts will guide children ages 5 to 12 in a simulated archaeological excavation of a prehistoric food processing site, an historic kitchen, an historic farm, and a modern household.  Kids will document the objects they find, explore questions of who, what, where and when, and gain insight into the differences and similarities between people throughout the ages.

Second Saturdays-Journeys Into Local History | $1,850 awarded to the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center

Every fall and winter, the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center hosts a series of presentations featuring humanities experts from Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest. This season, audiences will discuss barns, immigration, the Amish, Increase Lapham, and Bayfield and the Apostle Islands, among other subjects.

Wisconsin Farms Oral History Project-Community Outreach Initiative | $1,850 to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

In fall 2014 and spring 2015, five public events will take place as part of an ongoing effort to develop a publicly accessible collection of oral histories, historical documents and artifacts related to food, farming, race and ethnicity in Wisconsin.  The events are organized to inspire small-group discussions about the project’s themes and future.  Participants will also be welcome to sample produce from area farmers and listen to some of the completed oral histories.

Wisconsin’s Civil War Program Tours | $1,800 awarded to the University of Wisconsin Press

In November 2014 and April 2014, storyteller, musician, and historical performer Judy Cook will perform at eight cultural venues throughout the state.  The performance is based on the wartime letters exchanged between her great-great grandparents, which are published in the book A Quiet Corner of the War,  and gives audiences a lively view of everyday life in mid-19th century Wisconsin.

Anne Frank Story Through the Eyes of Fifth Graders Showcase | $2,000 awarded to UW-Superior

Fifteen UW-Superior students are partnering with fifth graders at Northern Lights Elementary School to read and discuss Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl.  Guided by university and elementary school faculty, the college students are helping fifth graders develop presentations based on the book that will be made at UW-Superior in December 2014 and April 2015.  To support the project, books about genocide and the Holocaust are being added to the Northern Lights school library collection.

Talking Spirits XVI: Forest Hill Cemetery Tour | $2,000 awarded to the Wisconsin Veterans Museum

Every October, Madison’s Forest Hill Cemetery comes to life with in-character theater performances. This year, to commemorate the Civil War, the Museum is developing four new vignettes highlighting historic figures from diverse backgrounds and with different perspectives on the war. The event attracts large numbers of school groups, as well as the general public, and is a unique way to learn more about the Civil War.

Wisconsin’s Liquid History | $1,325 awarded to the Waunakee Public Library

A series of five presentations in March and April exploring the role of water in Wisconsin’s history and culture.  Experts on wind power, groundwater, and the histories of Wisconsin’s cranberry, brewing, and dairy industries are giving talks.  Neighbors from near and far are encouraged to drop in for one or all five.

Manitowoc River Guides | $2,000 awarded to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum

Located at the mouth of the Manitowoc River, the city of Manitowoc has both a name and history intertwined with the river. Students at UW-Manitowoc, enrolled in a course called “The Spirit of the Rivers,” studied the past and present relationship of people to the river.  The Wisconsin Maritime Museum is building on the students’ work to create four river guides. This summer, the guides will be available free at businesses and organizations along the river, encouraging everyone to get involved in the community’s larger conversation about the river.

Veterans’ Story Project | $1,247 awarded to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside

This spring, two workshops will be held for veterans from the UW-Parkside community and the Kenosha VFW post. The workshop is teaching people how to use digital tools to document  their life stories, in particular their military experiences. The finished multimedia products can be uploaded to social media sites and will ultimately be stored in the Library of Congress archives.

Reflections on Historical and Contemporary Community Building… | $2,000 awarded to the Kickapoo Cultural Exchange

The Kickapoo Cultural Exchange is interested in documenting the history of the back-to-the-land movement in Crawford, Richland, and Vernon counties. In late spring of 2014, they are organizing an event for people to share stories and learn more about the movement’s influence in southwest Wisconsin.  They plan to distill this history into a poster to be displayed at various locations as part of building and sharing the legacy of the movement.

Major Grants Awarded to 2014

Ojibwe Winter Lodge: Carrying Our Culture Forward | $10,000 awarded to the ENVISION Program, Lac du Flambeau Public School

In December of 2014, members of the Lac du Flambeau tribe will make history by building a new winter lodge using historic techniques. The construction is being done, in part, by tribal youth who are learning about traditional culture, indigenous technologies, and precolonial lifeways through the process.  The construction is being documented so that the process, as well as the final product, elevate our understanding of these once essential structures.  Once built, teachers of Lac du Flambeau Public School will use the lodge to teach math, physics, and culture, and the lodge will serve the community for years to come.

Hidden from History: Sundown Towns and Other Seldom-Told Stories | $10,000 awarded to the Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation

A series of six programs at public libraries around Milwaukee begins in spring of 2015. The facilitated conversations are designed to explore aspects of African American history, including slave rebellions, the North and the slave trade, the black press and African American identity, and more.  Virtual exhibits on the America’s Black Holocaust Museum website will extend the reach of these important conversations beyond Wisconsin.  The series is co-sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Cultures and Communities Program and the Milwaukee Public Library.

2014 Sheboygan Children’s Book Festival: Feed Your Imagination | $10,000 awarded to Eastern Shores Library System

In October 2014, the Sheboygan Children’s Book Festival is bringing award-winning authors and illustrators together for the fifth annual literary festival. For three days, families, educators, librarians, parents and caregivers can enjoy readings, presentations, discussions, and school visits.  This year’s theme, “Feed Your Imagination,” particularly encourages people to consider how books have shaped their imaginations, as well as the role of imagination in creating books for young people and teens.

Lavinia Goodell Play | $9,452 awarded to Wisconsin Law Foundation

The Wisconsin Law Foundation, in partnership with the Director of the State Courts Office, is staging the full production of a play about Wisconsin’s first woman lawyer, Lavinia Gooddell. The five performances take place in spring and summer 2015 in Madison, Janesville, Wausau, and Superior.  Facilitated by a diverse line-up of humanities experts, pre-show presentations and post-production discussions are part of the way the group is sharing the story while helping audiences  to explore issues raised by the play.

Freedom EXPRESSions: Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary | $10,000 awarded to Arts@Large

Arts@Large works within Milwaukee Public Schools to create cross-disciplinary arts curriculum. This program connects students at six schools with the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Freedom Summer archive, giving them the opportunity to build research skills and design student-led projects.  Twenty-five students will be selected to travel together to key civil rights landmarks in Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer.  Throughout fall 2014, student projects will be featured at public exhibitions in Milwaukee, intentionally sparking dialogue city-wide.

Doors Open Milwaukee | $10,000 awarded to Historic Milwaukee, Inc.

This free, public celebration of the city’s art, architecture, and history features behind-the-scenes tours of more than  130 buildings in Milwaukee’s downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. Lectures and discussions by historians, artists, and educators over the two days in September are taking place at some of the locations to shed more light on the city’s intriguing past and present.

Untold Stories Testimonial Writing Workshop and Spring Showcase | $10,000 awarded to Mount Mary University

Collaborating with the Voices and Faces Project and Alverno College, Mount Mary University is hosting a testimonial writing workshop for survivors of sexual assault and human trafficking.  Participants compare works of literature to consider the larger context of memoir and storytelling, then have the opportunity to share their writing at a community engagement event in March 2015.

Hear, Here: Voices of Downtown La Crosse | $10,000 awarded to the Department of History, UW-La Crosse

UW-La Crosse students are developing a location-based mobile phone documentary project in downtown La Crosse. The project is a collaboration with Downtown Main Street, the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission, the La Crosse Public Library, and community members.  After the project is launched in April 2015, anyone with a cell phone will be able to contribute a story about a particular place downtown. The result will be a widely accessible collection of street-level histories and everyday stories about the downtown.

Public Programs in Milwaukee for Vel Phillips: Gracious Persistence | $10,000 awarded to Wisconsin Public Television

Wisconsin Public Television will partner with local organizations to convene public events in Milwaukee that complement screenings of a documentary film about Vel Phillips.  A model for how a community activist can have a significant impact, Phillips was instrumental in overturning discriminatory housing practices in Milwaukee and advocating for civil rights at the national level.  Facilitated discussions will explore recent social transformations and engage questions about civil rights.

Public Programming for the 2014 Oral History Association Annual Meeting | $3,500 awarded to the Oral History Program, UW-Madison

The UW-Madison Oral History Program is presenting a series of events during the Oral History Association (OHA) annual meeting in Madison in October 2014.  The free, public events include a theater piece about the 1970 Sterling Hall bombing, the screening of a documentary film about domestic violence, a teacher’s workshop, and a live interview with jazz legend Richard Davis.

Wisconsin Biographies: Elizabeth Fisher Baird & Walter Bresette | $10,000 awarded to the Educational Communications Board – Wisconsin Media Lab

The Wisconsin Media Lab is adding to its collection of multimedia biographies about notable figures in Wisconsin history with short films about Elizabeth Fisher Baird (1810-1890) and Walter Bresette (1947-1999).  Designed to enrich the 3rd-7th grade social studies and literature curriculum, each story will include a 3-5 minute animated video with discussion questions, an image gallery, teaching tips and resources for educators.

Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures Field School | $9,978 awarded to the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

In the summer of 2014, UW-Milwaukee students along with residents of the city’s Washington Park neighborhood are working together to collect, and then digitally curate, stories and photos about the homes and people of their community. They are focusing on places that will illustrate to insiders and outsiders the collective memories of caring and civic pride of the neighborhood.

To Be!  Shakespeare Here and Now | $10,000 awarded to the Optimist Theatre

Ron Scot Frye, a Milwaukee-based actor and Shakespeare expert, has been traveling the state spreading the literary richness and plain tom-foolery of Shakespeare for years. We have been a proud supporter of the Optimist Theatre outreach program  for several years. And now again, throughout 2014 and 2015, students, teachers, and average Wisconsinites will be entertained while they learn more about the language, history and culture of Shakespeare. The first-person interactive theatrical program is typically booked by schools and libraries, reaching a broad and diverse audience.

One World Global Arts, Literature, and Film Series | $7,474 awarded to the University of Wisconsin-Barron County

In Rice Lake this spring, a series of four events has been organized to spark community conversations about world art, literature, and film. There are film screenings and other opportunities for people to meet, talk, and increase their understanding of the diversity of northwestern Wisconsin within a global context. The programs are designed for high school students, university students, and members of the general public.

Heritage Days:  Get Hooked on History! | $6,425 awarded to The Friends of Fred Smith

For the second time, we are happy to support this two-day event at the Wisconsin Concrete Park in Phillips. Located in north central Wisconsin, the historic home of the folk artist Fred Smith is also an educational center dedicated to the history of Price County. The first day of the event is for school children. Hundreds of students arrive by bus to spend the day immersed in live performances and demonstrations. The second day is open to the general public and includes historical reenactments and a showcase of regional music traditions.

Cultural Watershed Mapping with the Bad River Ojibwe | $10,000 awarded to the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bad River Ojibwe tribal members, including elders and young people, are collaborating with humanities experts at the UW-Madison to create multimedia maps that represent important cultural resources in northern Wisconsin.  The finished maps will visually illustrate the cultural and historical values of the indigenous people of the Lake Superior watershed.  A large interactive floor map, paper wall maps, some web-based maps, and a cultural atlas, will all be displayed for the public as part of celebration and discussion events in four locations in the summer and fall of 2014.