Ferguson Breech Loading Rifle

rifle
Unique to firearms history, this flint-lock Patrick Ferguson breech loading rifle is one of only 100 martial Ferguson's rifles made and dates to 1776-1778. Prior to breech loading weaponry, muzzle-loading firearms were used. The breech loading rifle revolutionized firearm warfare with a design that enabled faster reloading during battle. Breech loading rifles had been used for more than 200 years prior to Patrick Ferguson's design, but Ferguson's version of this breech loading flintlock weapon, made possible by improvements in more precise engineering, was a more successful weapon.

1913 Harley-Davidson Motorcycle

motorcycle

In 1903, Harley-Davidson began its motorcycle business in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This item, a 1913 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, was manufactured during a time of great production and growth for the company. That year, Harley-Davidson built a new, much larger factory. The following year, production numbers soared to 16,284 motorcycles. After 1914, Harley-Davidson dominated the motorcycle industry.

Northwood Cameo Plaque

cameo plaque
Dating to 1895 and depicting "Venus instructing Cupid," the Northwood Cameo Plaque is unique. Although George Woodall is considered the greatest carver of English cameo glass, John Northwood was one of the first to carve this type of glass and is known to have made only seven works on cameo glass. He sparked a period of Greco-Roman recreations on glass and revitalized British interest in Greco-Roman glass works.

Tiffany Mokume Vase

vase
Inspired by Japanese artifacts, the mokume vase is Tiffany's recreation of Japanese metal work. This vase contains a square with panels of copper, silver and gold on a sterling silver frame. Tiffany and Company created a line of items displaying traditional Japanese metalworking techniques after Christopher Dresser, a long time friend of Louis Tiffany, returned from Japan with several artifacts. In 1878 Tiffany displayed his work at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, France.

The Lalique Mask

Lalique Mask

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, altars for churches, and lighting fixtures and wall panels for department stores.

William J. Uihlein Postage Stamp Collection

stamp collection
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.

Dresden Doll WWII Jacket

jacket
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!

Oleson Lifesaving Medal

medal
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.

Indiana Wreath Quilt

quilt
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.

Fortuny Dress

red 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.