Tag Archives: Wisconsin Historical Society

Guest Post from WPT Education: How I Became a Game Designer

John Dollar

As an education specialist at WPT, and a former teacher at Sauk Prairie High School, I’m always excited to discover new ways that we can collaborate with teachers to make education come alive for students of all ages.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to the amazing Nikki Lutzke, who teaches fourth grade in southern Wisconsin’s Parkview School District. She and some of her fellow teachers recently joined some of the brightest local minds in history and game design to create something special – something that we know teachers and students all across Wisconsin will love.

Read on for Nikki’s thoughts on her new side gig in video game design – and enjoy!

Continue reading Guest Post from WPT Education: How I Became a Game Designer

Behind the Scenes – “Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain”

WPT producer Mik Derks has worked with Jerry Apps since 2012. Photo credit: James Gill.

“[Jerry Apps] gave permission to his audiences to remember their childhoods fondly.” -Mik Derks

Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain premieres 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 8 on WPT

Over the past five years, WPT producer Mik Derks has been sharing the stories of beloved Wisconsin author, historian and storyteller Jerry Apps with television audiences. This month, the tradition continues with a new documentary: Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain. Reflecting on water’s importance throughout his life, Apps shares why his father told him, “Jerry, never curse the rain.” Continue reading Behind the Scenes – “Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain”

WPT Archives: Exploring Our Past

I spend so much time trying to keep up with this crazy 21st Century (I blame you, Twitter), but when left to my own devices I tend to fall into a much slower rhythm.

Maybe that’s why I’ve always been drawn to libraries and archives. When I was living in Brussels, it was my art school’s local – and dusty – hodgepodge of old books filled with gallery exhibits, tutorials and biographies. Here, I’m lucky enough to have the Wisconsin Historical Society and the University Archives just across the street.

Visit WPT’s new archive page!

When I was given the opportunity to work with our amazing media archivist, Ann Wilkens, I leapt at the chance. What were our offices like in the 1950s or ‘60s? What ideas mattered to us? What were we arguing about and what were we celebrating?

Our archives have helped me visualize everything we were working for and continue to work towards: sharing quality public education, exploring our heritage and understanding our culture.

Now, you can explore with me. We’re digitizing as much of our archival footage as possible and making it available to watch online. Visit our new WPT Archives page, and start poking around. Click on a newly digitized show that catches your attention, or explore by decade. You can also find the WPT Archives by going to our Watch Page, and looking under “Wisconsin Productions.”

Watch John F. Kennedy announce his presidential campaign. Listen in on a conversation with Richard Nixon. Check out some of our more memorable kids shows like The Friendly Giant and Storylords. It’s all right here. Take a look.

Behind the Scenes: Q&A with Remarkable Homes host Michael Bridgeman

Host Michael Bridgeman speaks with the owner of the Havilah Babcock house in Neenah, WI.

Watch Online Now — Remarkable Homes of Wisconsin

If you’re looking for a glimpse of summer and some architectural gems, check out one of our newest shows, Remarkable Homes of Wisconsin, premiering 7 p.m. Monday, March 2. Inspired by the Wisconsin Historical Society’s book, Wisconsin’s Own: Twenty Remarkable Homes, the new program showcases six buildings that are truly works of art. The show explores not only the architectural details, but also the families and stories behind the historical houses. Host Michael Bridgeman sat down with me one afternoon to talk about how the show came together.

What about this project caught your attention?
“This project was great; it’s exactly the kind of thing I like to do. I actually started my undergraduate studies as an architecture major. I was always going to be, I thought, an architect and was a big youthful fan of Frank Lloyd Wright. My architectural career in college lasted exactly one semester, but my interest never waned.” Continue reading Behind the Scenes: Q&A with Remarkable Homes host Michael Bridgeman

Archives of Vel Phillips to be Made Available

Written by Michael Edmonds, Deputy Director of the Library-Archives Division of the Wisconsin Historical Society, which hosts a free discussion on Milwaukee’s Civil Rights Struggle Tuesday, Feb. 24.

Judge Vel Phillips – WHS Image ID 28115

As you probably saw from Monday night’s documentary, Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams, Milwaukee’s Vel Phillips has led a remarkable life — activist, Common Council member, judge, Wisconsin Secretary of State, and much more. The records of her career recently came to the Wisconsin Historical Society, where a team of archivists has begun to prepare them for use by researchers.

An old maxim claims that newspapers are the first draft of history, but in fact there’s an even earlier draft: the notes, scraps, manuscripts, and other documents that people preserve in file cabinets or toss into boxes under the bed. Phillips was an enthusiastic saver of such records, and over the decades she carefully preserved enough papers to fill two storage units. She and her family recently donated them to the Wisconsin Historical Society where, thanks to a generous gift from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, they are being properly arranged and described. Archivist Emil Hoelter is in charge of the project.

Cataloging the large quantity of documents is no simple task. The first step was to repack the papers from hundreds of miscellaneous containers into 116 acid-free boxes and ship them to Madison. Hoelter and his staff are currently making a first pass through those boxes to make a rough inventory of the collection and write a professional appraisal report and processing plan. Over the next year, the project team will implement that plan by arranging records according to their dates or topics, noting those that need special conservation treatment, and selecting the most interesting and important ones to be digitized and share on the Web. Digitization is being supported by a gift from retired UW history professors Allan Bogue and Margaret Beattie Bogue.

Watch Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams online.

It’s too early to say what documents may be published on the Web, but the 116 cartons thoroughly document all aspects of Phillips’ life and public career. When the collection is made available to researchers early in 2016, it will surely shed much new light on the history of Milwaukee’s African-American community, the city’s civil rights struggle, and Phillips’ own illustrious career.

Hoelter will talk about the papers on the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 24th, at the Wisconsin Historical Society headquarters in Madison. Dr. Patrick Jones, author of the award-winning book “Selma of the North: Civil Rights Insurgency in Milwaukee,” will introduce the program, which also includes selections from Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams and a conversation with James Steinbach, director of Wisconsin Public Television, about the documentary project.

More information on the Tuesday night program is at wisconsinhistory.org.

Michael Edmonds is the Deputy Director of the Library-Archives Division of the Wisconsin Historical Society and curator of the Society’s online collection of more than 25,000 pages documenting Freedom Summer. He is editor of the Society Press’s book highlighting that collection Risking Everything: A Freedom Summer Reader.

Attend a Bottoms Up Premiere Party in your Town!

Bottoms Up: Wisconsin’s Historic Bars and Breweries, a new documentary from Wisconsin Public Television premieres at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12. Sure, you could kick back and tune in at home. But, why do that when you can join fellow revelers at one of the great premiere parties that are being held at bars and breweries in communities all over the state?

The one-hour documentary is based on the Wisconsin Historical Society Press book “Bottoms Up: A Toast to Wisconsin’s Historic Bars & Breweries” by Jim Draeger and Mark Speltz. Both the documentary and the book explore the architecture and social history of bars and breweries.

Find a list below of establishments that have already shared their plans to celebrate the premiere. Don’t see one in your neighborhood? Check with your favorite local bar or brewery; or, join in the historic celebration at home. Remember, Watch Responsibly!

 Premiere Party Sites

Meet an author or producer at these special Premiere Party sites

Fall Creek/Eau Claire

Big Jim’s Sports Bar, 102 E Lincoln Ave, Fall Creek

Featured in the book & documentary

Book Photographer Mark Fay will be signing books.

7-10 pm Drink Specials. Books for sale.

Green Bay

Titletown Brewery, 200 Dousman Street

Featured in the book & documentary
Documentary Producer David Hestad will be present at 7:45 p.m.
7-10 pm Happy Hour prices. Books for sale.

JD’s Bar,715 South Broadway

Featured in the book
Documentary Producer David Hestad will be present at 7 p.m.
6-10 pm free Hor D’oeuvres. Happy hour drink prices. Books for sale.


Best Place Bar at Pabst, 901 W Juneau Avenue

Featured in the book & documentary

Author Jim Draeger will be presenting and signing books

7-9 pm Drink Specials. Books for sale.


Legend Larry’s (& The Old Wade House), 733 Pennsylvania Ave

Special party to celebrate two featured bars – Legend Larry’s & The Old Wade House Historic Site in Greenbush. Wade House staff attending in period dress. Books for sale.

7-9 pm


DMZ Bunker, 29224 Evergreen Dr, Waterford

Featured in the book & documentary

Author Mark Speltz will be presenting and signing books

7-9 pm Books for sale.

Additional Premiere Party sites

Black River Falls

Cozy Corner, 43 Main Street

7-9 pm Books for sale.

Cottage Grove

Doubledays, 4586 Baxter Road

7-9 pm Drink Specials

Fountain City

The Monarch Public House, 19 North Main Street

Featured in the book

7-9 pm

Fox Lake

Hayes Resort, W10551 Blackhawk Trail

7-10 pm $3 retro cocktails. Books for sale.

Green Bay

The Den, 1623 Cass Street, Green Bay

7-9 pm

La Crosse

Glory Days Sports Pub, 324 S Fourth Street

7 to 9 pm Drink Specials ($2 16oz silos of select beers, 2 for $5 Packer bombs, $5 fried cheese curds, $2 Brats, Franziskaner on tap)

Madeline Island

Tom’s Burned Down Cafe, 234 Middle Road (event held at Beach Club dining hall)

Featured in the book

6-10 potluck dinner party before the documentary airs. Bring a dish to pass; call
715-292-4800 for details.


Brocach, 7 West Main Street

Featured in the book

7:30 to 10 p.m. Drink specials: $3.00 Brocach Pale Ale pints (enjoy the debut of their new House of Brews beer); $4 Korbel Brandy Old Fashioneds


Water Wherehouse, 818 S Water Street

6-10 pm Prohibition Swing dance party. Drink specials.


Hollywood’s Roadhouse, W332N6629 County C

6 pm Party Starts. Drink Specials ($5.00 Call Talls, $2.00 Apple Pie Shots, $5.00 Martinis)

Prairie Du Chien

Frazier’s Old Faithful, 157 N Illinois St

Featured in the book

7:30 celebration. Door prize and drink specials. Books for sale.

St. Germain

Sisters Saloon, 8780 State Highway 70 W

Featured in the book

6-8 pm celebration dinner and cocktail specials! Books for sale.

Stevens Point

Club 10, 1602 County Highway E
Featured in the book

Books for sale.

Rusty’s Backwater Saloon, 1715 West River Drive

7-9 pm Drink Special of $2 bottles of Point Special Beer

Sturgeon Bay / Institute

Institute Saloon, 4599 State Hwy 57

Featured in the book

7-9 pm

Three Lakes

Pine Isle Sports Bar & Grille, 1261 Pine Isle Road

7-9 pm


Silver Eagle Saloon, 207 S 2nd Street

7-10 pm Happy Hour Prices; Half-price Appetizers


Blader’s Dakota Inn, W9501 County Rd JJ

7-9 pm