A valuable piece in the museum's glass collection, the Lalique mask is an excellent example of glass artwork. It was crafted by Rene Lalique, known in the 1920s as Europe's master of decorative glass. Although he is reknowned for his work in jewelry, furniture accessories, vases and more, this piece of decorative glass is a product of Lalique's shift in specialization after the world market's collapse in 1929. Most of Lalique's work after the Depression focused on architectural items such as rails and altars for churches and lighting fixtures and wall panels for department stores.
The Uihlein Stamp collection was donated in 1928 by William J. Uihlein, an avid stamp collector who amassed 22 albums comprising 40,000 stamps from all over the world. Many of the stamps in this collection are pre-1900 and quite rare. Uihlein volunteered at the museum with his collection until his death in 1932.
This rare WWII jacket was a donation to the Milwaukee Public Museum from its original owner, Staff Sergeant Byron Taylor Jr. A native Milwaukeean, Sergeant Taylor flew 39 missions over Germany with the Air Force. During WWII many airmen would decorate their flying jackets, making them both distinctive and unique. In Taylor's division, all the men had the "Dresden Doll" on the back of their jackets, but each woman had a different face: the feminized caricature of the man who wore the jacket!
The U.S. Lifesaving medal was established in 1874 for anyone who saves or attempts to save a drowning person from a shipwreck or any other type of water related danger. It was originally granted by the U.S. Life Saving Service through the U.S. Treasury Department (now the United States Coast Guard) and is only awarded to United States citizens whose act of bravery occurs in U.S. waters. Citizens can be awarded a gold or silver medal. Anton Oleson was the head of a lifesaving station in Milwaukee's harbor when on September 9, 1875 the bark "Tanner" was sinking in the harbor.
The Milwaukee Public Museum acquired the Indiana wreath quilt in the 1980s. This was one of four quilts designed (but not quilted) by Rose Kretsinger of Emporia, Kansas. Kretsinger was part of the "Emporia, Kansas phenomenon," a small group of women who designed and crafted the most detailed and exquisite quilts of the 20th century. This quilt design dates to 1925.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.