Sunday, July 14, 2013
Creating Old World Wisconsin (University of Wisconsin Press), by John D. Krugler
Remnants of 19th century immigrant Wisconsin were falling to wind and wrecking ball by the time Old World Wisconsin was established. One of the world’s largest outdoor museums, Old World Wisconsin came to life on 600 acres of the Kettle Moraine State Forest in the 1970s. Marquette University history professor John Krugler recounts how barns, houses and outbuildings were salvaged and reassembled, largely at the behest of the State Historical Society. Old World Wisconsin was conceived as a multi-cultural project with the folk architecture of many immigrant groups represented in a setting emblematic of the state’s natural beauty. Money for the project was tight, staffing was sender and experience with museum building was lacking. And yet, enthusiasm carried the day, creating a museum that was not a building housing a collection but a collection of buildings.