Peruvian Mummies

Three Peruvian mummies from the Chancay culture that inhabited the central coast of Peru from AD 1000 – 1450 are part of the Milwaukee Public Museum's collections. Buried in either a flexed or seated position and wrapped in several layers of textiles, the bodies are not actually embalmed but preserved naturally by the extreme dryness of the environment. Little is known about the Chancay civilization as many of the sites were destroyed by looting or bulldozing. Two of the mummies can currently be seen in the Pre-Columbian exhibit on the 3rd floor mezzanine.

Emerald Mound Pipes

These limestone effigy pipes, excavated from the Emerald Mound site in southwestern Mississippi, were donated to the Milwaukee Public Museum in 1955. Emerald Mound served primarily as a ceremonial platform with a temple structure during the Mississippian period (AD 1250-1600). Tobacco was regularly used in Mississippian ceremonies to assist religious leaders in communicating with the spirit world. The pipes represent a cougar, two rattlesnakes, a kneeling human, and a bird/composite form.

Mitchell Civil War coat

This Mitchell Civil War uniform, part of a larger group of Mitchell militia material, belonged to John Lendrum Mitchell, son of prominent Milwaukee banker Alexander Mitchell. John served in the Wisconsin 24th Infantry and rose to the rank of 1st Lieutenant. After the Civil War, John was a gentleman farmer and had a large estate in what is today West Allis, Wisconsin. He was very well educated and served in the Wisconsin legislature and later served as a United States Senator. John's second son, William, rose to prominence in the U.S.

Park City Grays Uniform

Park City was the original name of Kenosha, Wisconsin and the Park City Grays were the local militia. The group was mustered into the Wisconsin 1st infantry at Milwaukee and sent, wearing their gray coats, to guard Washington DC at the outbreak of the Civil War. Before the Civil War, the color of the 1st Wisconsin Militia (as well as many other states) was gray. However, gray was the color of the Confederate Army as well, and at the beginning of the Civil War, the Union quickly changed their color to blue. This coat was worn by Sergeant Warren Graham in 1861.

Solomon Juneau Collection

A French Canadian fur trader, politician and land speculator, Solomon Juneau was one of the founders of the city of Milwaukee. In 1818, Juneau came to Milwaukee to work as a clerk at the American Fur Company's trading post in Milwaukee and saw potential in the city. Shortly thereafter, he won a pre-emption from the government and acquired land between the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan. Here, Juneau developed the Milwaukee Journal and became the postmaster for the emerging city. In 1846 he was elected the first mayor of Milwaukee.

Works Progress Administration Murals

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.

Frackelton Pottery

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.

Nunnemacher Decorative Arts Collection

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.

Glass Cane Portraits

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.

Darwin's "Barnacles" book

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.