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A Great Summer Escape

I decided our next adventure would be a visit to the History Museum at the Castle. I, as a hometown girl, had been there many, many times over the years, but Sadie had never been and was surprised and intrigued we even have a Houdini exhibit. As a summer tourism spot, the History Museum is a great choice for one of those days when it’s just slightly too hot to stay outside. We spent the first few minutes of our visit just enjoying the air conditioning. It’s also a great opportunity to learn about the Fox Cities area, whether you’ve lived here your whole life or are new to the area and want to know more about its history.

We began exploring in the current special exhibit, “Food: Who We Are and What We Eat,” a fascinating walk through the history of food in the Fox Cities area. We learned about foods distinctive to northeast Wisconsin and how they arrived there, how kitchens have changed, and we even got to try our hands at virtual sturgeon fishing, though we were both awful at it. The exhibit is a great mix of opportunities to read about the food and opportunities for hands-on activities. There’s everything from local recipes to antique kitchen implements to jelly bean dispensers scattered throughout the exhibit!

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We also spent time exploring the permanent “AKA Houdini” and “Tools of Change” exhibits, which I had been to before, but not in quite a few years. These exhibits offer two very different but equally interesting views into aspects of Fox Cities’ history. Sadie had known that Houdini was somehow connected to Appleton, but we learned a lot more about the specifics of his personal history, and about the history and construction of some of his most famous illusions. We checked out handcuff lock picks, straightjackets, and tested our cold tolerance to see if we could build it up like Houdini could, in case either of us ever needs to jump in an icy river. The “Tools of Change” exhibit features scenes of different kinds of everyday work in the Fox Cities from 1840 to 1950, and we enjoyed seeing how things like a historic doctor’s office and wire production would have looked.
The History Museum at the Castle is absolutely worth a visit! Check out myhistorymuseum.org for details.

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