The Carl P. Dietz Collection of business machines currently numbers approximately 1200 machines of which 900 are typewriters. The collection reflects the diversity of typewriter manufacturers and the development of machines from the 1870s to the late 1980s. The Dietz Collection holds Museum-made models of the earliest typewriters designed by Christopher Latham Sholes, post 1873 Remington production models and many seminal typewriters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Mexican Kickapoo reside on a reservation in the Santa Rosa Mountains of Coahuila. They originally inhabited land in northwest Ohio and southern Michigan, but were forced westward to northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin in the mid-1800s. They slowly spread westward into Kansas and south into Oklahoma, some reaching as far as northern Mexico. This collection comes from 1954 fieldwork conducted by Dr. Robert Ritzenthaler, Milwaukee Public Museum Curator of Anthropology, and from anthropologists Dolores and Felipe Latorre between 1960 and 1972.
This Crow gun case was collected by Colonel J.J. Upham, a Milwaukee native, during his military service in the mid to late 1800s on the Western frontier. Upham collected a variety of American Indian materials while stationed at military forts. His collection was donated to the museum by his wife shortly after his death in 1898. The gun case is an excellent and rare example of Crow leather craftsmanship and bead working ability.
The painted Blackfeet elk skin robe in the museum's collection came from Montana and is believed to have been painted by Mike Left Arm, showing his own exploits. The paintings depict primarily horse stealing scenes. Horses were important to the Blackfeet way of life, and it was a great achievement to acquire them through theft.
This ostrich shell belt was made by the San (Bushmen) of Botswana, a country in southern Africa. Ostrich shells play important roles in their culture, serving not only as beads for body ornamentation, but also as water storage containers, essential in the hot, dry environment in which the San live. To make beads, the egg shell is broken into small fragments, which are further shaped by hand into circular pieces. A small hole is drilled through the center of each bead. The whole process is by hand, so considerable time would have gone into the making of this belt.
The Milwaukee Public Museum has approximately 860 Peruvian textiles in its South American collection, a large portion donated in 1964 by collector Malcolm Whyte. Most of these items were obtained from the southwest coast of Peru and are associated with burials. The intricate textiles preserved by the dry, hot climate of the Peruvian desert coast, illustrate a variety of weaving and decorative styles, representing several different cultural periods. Items from the collection can be viewed on the 3rd Floor Pre-Columbian Mezzanine.
The Museum's Chamacoco Collection consists of 70 objects, such as this belt ornament made of tropical bird feathers, and represent items both for everyday use and for ceremonies. Collected in 1925 by the Museum of the American Indian in New York, they came to the Milwaukee Public Museum that same year. The Chamacoco live in the Gran Chaco region of northwest Paraguay. The Chamacoco today alternate between their traditional hunting and gathering and more recent light agriculture, craftsmanship, or labor.
The Swiss Lake sites were first excavated in the mid 1840s and popularized by Swiss archaeologist Ferdinand Keller. Their interpretation as villages located over the lakes brought them much acclaim and made the collections from the sites' excavations much sought after by museums world-wide. Today, it is known that some, but not the majority, of these sites were built over water. They date from the Neolithic through the Bronze Age (4,000 BC-700 BC).
Trinidad, one of the islands forming the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in the southern Caribbean, has been ruled by several previous European powers, the last being Great Britain. On this small island, people from the various cultures of Asia, Europe, Africa, and native groups live and interact. This rare collection is from the East Indian peoples on the island, and was collected by Milwaukee Public Museum Curator of Anthropology, Dr. Arthur Niehoff, in 1957. The East Indians were brought to the island by the British as indentured servants.
George West, a Milwaukee lawyer with a strong interest in archaeology, helped found the Wisconsin Archaeological Society in 1903. West also served on the Board of Trustees of the Milwaukee Public Museum for 32 years, for most of which he was president. Particularly interested in Native American pipes and smoking customs, West began collecting pipes around 1873 and continued to do so for several decades. The West pipe collection consists of 516 pipes; the majority are Native American. They represent all typical pipe styles found in the United States, three-fourths of them from Wisconsin.