Current Exhibits

Shared Sacrifice – Shared Success:

Milwaukee County During World War II

World War II required a total effort by soldiers and citizens alike.  It was no different in Milwaukee County where thousands of men and women served in the armed forces, thousands more worked in war-related industries, and all citizens made sacrifices.  This exhibit explores how average Milwaukeeans took up the war effort on the battlefield and the home front, and how their actions affected the war and Milwaukee County.  It does not purport to tell extraordinary stories, or glorify war, but rather to demonstrate how even average people were involved in extraordinary activities, made sacrifices that contributed to the war effort, and ultimately shared in victory.

Milwaukee Soldiers

This section utilizes images and artifacts from the service of several Milwaukee soldiers to look at what life was like in the armed services during World War II.  Highlighted soldiers include Tracy Hale, Jr., Frieda (née Frank) Luctman, John Stapko, and Sebastian “Pat” Corriere.

Industry and the War Effort

Artifacts, images, and text describe how many Milwaukee industries reconfigured their factories to manufacture goods for the war effort.  Highlighted industries include Froemming Bros. Inc., Rexnord Inc. Chain Belt, and Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company.

The Home Front

Through images, artifacts, and text we get a glimpse into how the total war effort affected people at home.  Rationing, scrap drives, civil defense, the purchase of war bonds, and volunteer organizations were some of the many ways that the people of Milwaukee contributed to the war.

Gertie the Duck

The story of Gertie the Duck, and her interesting choice to build a nest on a piling next to one of the busiest bridges in the state of Wisconsin, provided a welcome distraction and feel good story for people who were growing weary of the war.  Gertie captivated the city, and her story became a nationwide phenomenon in early 1945 as thousands of people followed the exploits of Gertie and her ducklings.

Clock and Watch Exhibit

August 1 – September 5, 2014

Don’t miss this limited “time” exhibit at The Milwaukee County Historical Society! View highlights of the Society’s large collection of historic clocks and watches on display as part of a small exhibit during the month of August. The clocks represent a number of manufacturers and utilize a variety of mechanisms and designs. A sampling of pocket and wrist watches will also be displayed. Many of the clocks and watches date to the 19th century, but some more recent items will also be featured, including a watch that belonged to Hildegarde.

Historic Quilt Exhibit

September 8 – 26, 2014

Our September exhibition is sure to be a real “stitch.” The Milwaukee County Historical Society will exhibit a number of quilts from its historic quilt collection. Many of these quilts have not been displayed for more than two decades. Dating mostly from the latter half of the 19th century, with some from the early 20th century, a number of styles are represented including log cabin, Irish chain, nine and ten patch, and a beautiful crazy quilt. These quilts will be hung throughout the main floor of the Historical Society and information sheets will be provided.