Fortuny Dress

Italian dress designer Mariano Fortuny was inspired by ancient classical style. Fortuny dresses display a consistent style throughout his career. Most dresses had pleated silk that was dyed in an elaborate style, which Fortuny never documented (and consequently, cannot be replicated today). The Fortuny dress at the Milwaukee Public Museum is rose colored, accented with small glass beads and a sash. The sash is gold print and says "Fortuny D s e" on it. This is a rare dress representing 1920s high culture.

Jones Island Figurines

The Jones Island Figurines are rare folk art carved by John Mickowski during his retirement (from 1956 until his death in 1982). Carving close to 200 figures, Mickowski's goal was to make art that depicted the life of people on Jones Island. Jones Island was a small community in Milwaukee on Lake Michigan. Carvings included members of his family and other area natives, such as the fisherman and the peddler. The Jones Island figurines range from a few inches tall to 7 or 8 feet.

Ivory-billed Woodpecker

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) is one of several species whose numbers have dwindled to the point where it is uncertain how many remain. The species is listed as critically endangered and possibly extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Telephone Answering Machine

The answering machine, a piece of technology people use all over the world, was invented here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The first answering machine was created by Joseph Zimmerman, a Milwaukee native, who had the idea for the invention after he spoke with an air conditioning and heating specialist who told him he did not want to leave his office because he had no secretary to take his phone calls. It weighs nearly 80 pounds and consists of two boxes; one had a record tape play and the other had a wire tape, which worked together to record the messages.

Japanese Censer from Schlitz Palm Garden

The Schlitz Palm Garden was one of the most popular beer gardens (biergartens) of the late 1800s and early 1900s. It was a gathering place for politicians, celebrities, and local families. Inside, a bronze Japanese censer stood over sixteen feet tall. This censer was very typical of late 19th century Japanese exports and may have been made specifically for the Schlitz Palm Garden. Japanese artwork, like the Japanese censer, were very popular in America in the 1880s and the 1890s. The censer is currently on exhibit in the Sense of Wonder exhibit.

Dresden Tete-a-Tete Tea Set

This late 19th century porcelain tea set came from Germany. All the pieces have footed cups and the set includes a tea pot, cups, a creamer, and a sugar cup. The set has gold enamel and iridescent maroon colors. It is the finest and most beautiful tea set in the Milwaukee Public Museum. Dresden, Germany produces a significant amount of porcelain and is considered the "porcelain cradle of Europe."

"Tut" Clay Seal

The "Tut" clay seal was acquired by the Museum in the 1960s from a collector in New York. It was not until the late 1980s that a curator was working with the piece and saw the hieroglyphs for the syllable "TUT" in the cartouche. "TUT" only appears in one Egyptian pharaoh's name -- Tutankhamen. The item was reviewed by a prominent Egyptologist from Chicago, and its relationship to Tutankhamen was tentatively accepted. The seal is currently on display in the Crossroads of Civilization exhibit.

Newhall House Fire Relics

The Newhall House fire relics recall the story of one of the nation's greatest hotel disasters. Before burning down, the Newhall House Hotel was one of the finest hotels in the country. Located in downtown Milwaukee, it attracted many guests from all over the world. Unfortunately, in January 1883, the hotel burnt to the ground, leaving at least 90 dead. After the fire, locals came to the ruins and picked through the ashes for Newhall House memorabilia to take home. Occasionally burned artifacts, like this goblet, are still being donated today.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Public Museum's Milwaukee Bucks Collection holds the franchise establishment papers for the Bucks. The NBA awarded the franchise in 1968 to Wesley Pavalon and Marvin Fishman. That first season, the team struggled to win games, as is typical with new teams in the NBA, but they became successful their second season when Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Adbul Jabbar) joined the team. In addition to the papers, the collection also features the first Milwaukee game ball the Bucks used in competition plus game balls from the Bucks' appearance at the National Championship game in 1971.

Peter Glass Marquetry Table

A German immigrant, Peter Glass, crafted wooden tables with extremely intricate wooden veneer designs, which led him to win two major awards, one at the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association exhibit in 1850 and one from the American Institute of New York in 1856. Shortly thereafter, Glass moved to Sheboygan, Wisconsin and began one of his greatest feats: a table containing nearly 20,000 pieces of wood. This design depicted faces of military and political heroes, with floral motifs. Today, very few Peter Glass Marquetry tables survive.