Wisconsin Historical Society

816 State Street, Madison, WI

Wisconsin Historical Society headquarters building exterior.



Wisconsin History Tour: Ashland
Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center.

Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center

Join the Wisconsin History Tour in Ashland, Wisconsin!

Location Information
Exhibit Dates: Thursday, June 2 - Sunday, July 31, 2016
Location:Northern Great Lakes
Visitor Center

29270 Co Hwy G, Ashland, WI 54806 map

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A Toast to Our Hosts

Thank you to the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center for hosting the Tour and to all of our local partners who helped create a wonderful program week. What a beautiful place to celebrate Wisconsin history!

Society Director Ellsworth Brown presents Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center Director Jason L. Maloney with a certificate of appreciation

Society Director Ellsworth Brown presents Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center Director Jason L. Maloney with a certificate of appreciation

Our first day of programs was a celebration of Wisconsin's water history. Author Ann Lewis shared stories from her book "Ship Captain's Daughter" and Steve Cotherman gave an illustrated history of the Lake Superior fur trade using objects from Madeline Island Museum. That evening, Underwater Archaeologist Tamara Thomsen spoke to a large crowd about shipwrecks of the Apostle Islands.

The week continued with Society staff programs on genealogy and a discussion of how to care for your family treasures. Guests shared their own treasures, including a large doll collection and items from the Kraft family, during Your Stuff, Your Story. Local brew master Bo Belanger spoke at History Happy Hour about starting South Shore Brewery after author Jim Draeger shared the history of brewing in our state.

The week also featured a panel moderated by Paul Strong, Forest Supervisor at the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, on the future of Wisconsin's water resources. Local water experts shared their work and perspectives on the topic, sharing the impact water has had on our state and the role it will play in the future. Other events during the week included presentations on Fran and Frederick Hamerstrom, the development of the Northern Wisconsin resort, and the origins of Great Lakes Surfing.

Thank you, Ashland! We enjoyed our time on the shores of Lake Superior!

Upcoming Events

Please note: these events have passed

+ Tuesday, June 14

  • 10 AM

    Ship Captain's Daughter

    Presented by author Ann Lewis

    Sail through the history of shipping on the Great Lakes with the daughter of a long-time captain. Ann Lewis, author of the new Society Press book "Ship Captain's Daughter: Growing Up on the Great Lakes," will share stories of her life in a shipping industry family. Hear her memories from the deck as she sailed Lake Superior and from at home with her mother awaiting her father's safe return.

  • 10 AM - 1 PM

    Archives Open House

    Drop in to discover examples from our research collections including materials from the Society's map, manuscript, and government records collections. Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center staff will be on hand to answer questions and get you started researching your home, neighborhood, or family history.

  • 12 PM

    Connecting Cultures: Exploring the Lake Superior Fur Trade

    Presented by Madeline Island Museum Director Steve Cotherman

    Explore the Lake Superior fur trade with this dynamic hands-on presentation. Learn how the fur trade operated in the Lake Superior region, examine the roles played by Ojibwe and Europeans, and see how each culture was influenced by the trade of each other's goods.

  • 7 PM

    Shipwrecks and Underwater Archaeology of the Apostle Islands

    Presented by Underwater Archaeologist Tamara Thomsen

    Dive into the history hidden beneath the waves of Lake Superior. Join Tamara Thomsen on a tour of Apostle Islands shipwrecks and their histories. Learn about the Society's current work documenting the remains of the region's vital brownstone industry, cataloguing quarry docks, and the important land-lake connection on Basswood, Hermit, and Stockton Islands.

+Wednesday, June 15

  • 10 AM

    Your Stuff, Your Story

    Virtually everyone collects something. We want to know what you collect. Bring an item that has a story to tell such as a historic photo, art, glassware, clothing, or collectables such as breweriana or dolls and share your story with us. Have your story posted on "That's My Story," a collection of objects and stories from around Wisconsin on!

  • 1 PM

    Discover the Roots of your Family Tree and Local History

    Presented by Society Reference Archivist Lori Bessler and Society Archivist Linda Mittlestadt

    Come stump our librarians and archivists! The Society houses one of the nation's greatest genealogy and history collections. In this two-part session, the presenters will discuss the Society's collections in Madison and throughout the state at the Area Research Centers. In the second part of the presentation, we will answer your questions and unearth resources to solve problems that have been stumping you!

  • 3 PM

    Practical Preservation for Your Family Treasures

    Presented by Society Preservation Coordinator Katie Mullen

    Come and learn pragmatic ways to preserve a variety of family treasures including scrapbooks and digital photographs, as well as inherited family heirlooms or archives. Learn when and where to find a conservator to help.

  • 5:30 PM

    History Happy Hour

    The Alley, 808 W. Main Street

    Join author Jim Draeger for history happy hour. Yak it up over Wisconsin's favorite beverage, decorate your own beer labels and learn more about Wisconsin's beer history. Signed copies of Draeger's best-selling book, "Bottoms Up: A Toast to Wisconsin's Historic Bars and Breweries" will be available for purchase. Society Members get a free drink!

+Thursday, June 16

  • 10 AM

    Book Talk

    Presented by author Dennis McCann

    This Superior Place

    The picturesque communities of the Chequamegon Bay region characterize one of Wisconsin's most popular visitor destinations. Society Press author Dennis McCann will share the alluring history of the region and the unique qualities that keep visitors coming back. As one book reviewer noted, "From the times of timber barons and fur trading up until today, these richly told stories reveal the wonders of a truly 'superior place.'"

  • 12 PM

    Communing with Nature: the Development of the Northern Wisconsin Resort

    Presented by State Historic Preservation Officer Jim Draeger

    Late nineteenth and early twentieth century ideas about the vanishing wilderness transformed northern Wisconsin from a stump-riddled wasteland to a rustic escape. Learn about the origins of the "northwoods" vacation and the birth of the rustic architectural style that represented vacation ideals.

  • 7:00 PM

    The Depth of Wisconsin's Water Resources: A Panel Discussion

    Water inspired community and innovation for thousands of years before Wisconsin became a state and continues to do so today. Join us for a panel discussion on Wisconsin's water resources moderated by Paul Strong, Forest Supervisor at the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Experts working with and studying our waterways will offer their fresh perspectives on the current and historical impacts of water on our state. Come early for a silent auction benefitting the Friends of the Center Alliance.

+Friday, June 17

  • 10 AM

    Book Talk

    Fran and Frederick Hamerstrom: Wildlife Conservation Pioneers

    Presented by Author Susan Tupper

    Learn how a husband and wife team saved the greater prairie chicken from extinction. As students of the famous Wisconsin naturalist Aldo Leopold, the Hamerstroms helped establish new ways to think about habitat conservation and spent over thirty years mentoring many future scientists.

  • 12 PM

    Some Like It Cold: Stories from Surfing the Great Lakes with Larry Williams

    From hypothermia to "Hanging-Ten," Great Lakes surfing icon Larry "Longboard" Williams will detail the crazy, inspiring true story of how he and brother Lee turned Sheboygan, Wisconsin, into what surfers now call "The Malibu of the Midwest." Williams will also share the story of legendary surfer Tom Blake, who grew up in the Chequamegon area and took the surfing world by storm when he invented the modern hollow surfboard in 1926.

Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center.

A Toast to Our Hosts

Northern Great Lakes
Visitor Center

The Wisconsin Historical Society thanks the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center for hosting the Wisconsin History Tour exhibit and events during the months of June and July.

Hands-on history activities.

Next Tour Stop

See the Tour!

August 2016

See the Wisconsin History Tour exhibit in Milwaukee August-October 2016. See historic photographs, documents, and stories related to Wisconsin history.

Learn More