The Waukesha County Museum hosts its largest exhibit ever to celebrate the 100th anniversary of scouting in America for a limited engagement beginning this week. The exhibit has been developed and installed by the museum staff under the leadership of J. Brock Baxter, a Waukesha scout who made the exhibit his required service project for the Eagle Scout award. Featuring rare objects never before on display in the central United States, the exhibit fills the entire second floor of the museum with hundreds of rare objects and includes a 1970’s campsite diorama and interactive “See and Do” room. Complementing the exhibit is a heavy schedule of programs and events sure to engage young people and adults alike.
“We’ve been incredibly lucky to have museums and collectors from coast to coast, as well as the local scouting community, agree to loan us objects and photographs for the exhibit,” Baxter notes, “The finished exhibit is full of incredibly unique items filling 2,000 square feet of gallery space.”
The 17-year-old Baxter, son of Mike and Melissa Baxter of Waukesha, is a junior at Waukesha West High School and has been a summer counselor at B.S.A. Camp Long Lake in St. Cloud, WI. A self-described “history buff,” Baxter has spent months coordinating the collection of items, researching historical background, and recruiting dozens of volunteers for the project with a constant goal of creating a compelling and educational exhibit for the thousands of expected visitors.
The main gallery features hundreds of objects including a letter signed by the founder of the scout movement, Robert Baden-Powell, during the Boer War’s “Siege at Mafeking” – the 1899-1900 battle that made him famous. One of less than 700 Silver Buffalo medals, the highest national Boy Scout award, is also on display. A number of photographs help tell stories of both local and national interest in a series of ten thematic sections such as “Cub Scouting,” “Scouting in Popular Culture,” and “Controversy and Scouting.”
Museum staff members have planned a special overnight event, the “Centennial Sleepover,” on March 26 for the first 100 youth and adults registered, as well as a performance by Milwaukee’s Mikano Lodge Native American Dance Team on March 19 at 6:30 p.m. Details about the exhibit and accompanying programs can be found on the museum’s website: www.waukeshacountymuseum.org. Located at 101 W Main Street in historic downtown Waukesha, the museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., although pre-arranged group tours for evenings and weekends are encouraged. Information can also be obtained by calling the museum at (262) 521-2859.
About the Waukesha County Museum:
The 1893 castle-like structure at East Avenue and Main Street in Waukesha, Wisconsin is home to the Waukesha County Museum. Originally constructed as the county’s second courthouse, the building is owned and operated by the Waukesha County Historical Society & Museum, Inc., a not-for-profit organization.
Three floors of exhibits cover such topics as the Civil War, early settlement in the county, architecture, toys from many generations, and technology. The Museum offers educational programs throughout the year including spring and summer camps, Scout programs, and guided tours. The Research Center contains over 28,000 printed documents and over 9,000 photographs for researchers to reference.
The Museum’s 75,000 square foot building is a complex of three structures. The oldest portion is the shell of Waukesha County’s second jail built in 1885, which had been converted to office space in the 1980s. With its stunning turrets, the 1893 Richardson Romanesque courthouse captures the attention of all. Connecting the two older buildings is a 1938 WPA structure, stark by contrast in its Art Moderne/Art Deco style architecture. The building presents an opportunity to discover and contrast architectural details reflecting the culture of the times.
The Waukesha County Museum has been in the same building since its opening in 1914. The building was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1975. The Historical Society purchased the building from Waukesha County in 2003.
The Waukesha County Museum is located at 101 W. Main Street at East Avenue in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Exhibits and the Museum Store are open regularly from Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. General admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors aged 62 and above, $3 for students aged 6-17 and free for children 5 and under.
For additional information, call (262) 521-2859 or visit www.waukeshacountymuseum.org