The museum holds the sketches, notes, and original artwork that was published in Nancy Burkert's book, Valentine and Orson, the story of twin boys separated at birth; one was raised by royalty and the other by bears. The artwork in this book was inspired by Brueghel in its artistic style, and Burkert was praised for her stunning artwork. Burkert was a long time UW-Milwaukee art professor, and before working on this book, Burkert illustrated Roald Dahl books such as James and the Giant Peach.
One of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal administration policies, the Works Progress Administration, offered jobs to keep people employed during the Great Depression. At the Milwaukee Public Museum, Director Samuel A. Barrett wanted to keep his staff employed, so he designated space for murals throughout the museum to depict different exhibits and periods in world history. This endeavor allowed the current museum staff to stay employed during a time when many people were losing their jobs. This mural shown here is by Albert O.
Susan Frackelton, born in Milwaukee in 1848, was a local artist for most of her life, but was internationally known and honored. She was a major supporter of the Arts and Crafts movement in Wisconsin and taught local women how to paint their own pots as a hobby. Frackelton's main type of artistic expression was pottery and she later started to experiment with salt glazed stoneware. Frackelton was honored for the first time for her ceramic expertise at the 1889 Paris Exposition and in 1893, she won many awards for her stone glazed stoneware at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
In 1886, a 14 year-old Rudolph Nunnemacher became involved with the new Milwaukee Public Museum when he donated his rock collection. His passion to collect continued through the years, primarily obtaining decorative arts items, guns, and East Asian religious imagery. When he died prematurely in 1900, nearly 2,000 items were willed to the Milwaukee Public Museum, including his housewares and paintings from all over the world. The Nunnemacher Decorative Arts collection has continued to grow through donations to the Nunnemacher Collection.
The glass cane mini-portraits are Italian made. Glass cane is a way of stretching glass, making beautiful, colorful, and delicate artwork. The portraits are tiny round pieces of glass with a face of a person in the center. The glass cane portraits in the Milwaukee Public Museum are an example of true artistry and craftsmanship.
This first edition Darwin book, published in 1854, was originally cataloged in the San Francisco Library collection. By good fortune, the book was checked out during the 1906 fire that destroyed the building and made its way to the Milwaukee Public Museum's library a few years later.
Netsuke are artistic toggles that originated in Japan in the 17th century. These little figures of people and animals became a Japanese import to the states as early as the 1860s. They were made of many different materials such as ivory, wood, iron, or gold. Easily imported because of their small size, this factor contributed to their status as a very collectible object in America. In Japan, people used them to hang on the ends of their medicine boxes or on their kimonos.
It wasn't long ago that clocks decorated the streets of Milwaukee. As the city grew, buildings became modernized and development continued; the street clocks were greatly reduced in number. Most clocks were removed as they were an obstruction to urban development. Milwaukee mayor, Sherman M. Becker, known as the "Boy Mayor," found the clocks to be particularly bothersome and took matters into his own hands by ordering their destruction. One morning in 1907, he and a team of firemen destroyed most of the city street clocks.
This horse is made of pinkish buff clay and with a painted white slip. Its "cold pigment" colors include rust, orange, pinkish and traces of black. The horse dates to the T'ang dynasty in China which lasted from 618-907 A.D. The horse was extensively restored before it came to the Museum.
Known for their precise detail and distinguishing color, the Blaschka glass models are accurate representations of biological specimens. Leopold Blaschka and his son Rudolph, Blaschkas were Bohemian, or Czech, by birth but worked in Germany. The MPM purchased 70 invertebrate glass models which were offered for sale through Ward's Natural Science Establishment, Inc.