Cause to celebrate: Oshkosh Public Museum marks 90 years

Posted on March 1, 2015 by Amy Hanson

The Oshkosh Public Museum is inviting the public to celebrate an important milestone in its history with a “90th Anniversary Celebration” gala event planned from 5-7:30 p.m. March 26.

The former home of Edgar and Mary Sawyer was donated to the city of Oshkosh in 1922 for the benefit of the public. Ninety years later, what started as a small collection of artifacts at the library was moved into the museum that opened its doors on Nov. 8, 1924.

The gala will be included with regular admission for non-members and be free to museum members. The evening also will feature a preview of the “Hometown Stories: Oshkosh” show that is scheduled to air in April on PBS. Current exhibits like “The Art of the Brick,” running through June 14, also will be open for viewing. Cake and hors d’oeuvres will be served, and a cash bar will be available.

Photo courtesy of Oshkosh Public Museum

Photo courtesy of Oshkosh Public Museum

The museum is in the early stages of planning a new exhibit entitled, “People of the Waters” that will replace the “Wetlands & Waterways” exhibit that has been around 16 years. The old exhibit told the story of life along the water, but is now outdated and static, says Karla Szekeres, Marketing and Membership coordinator. The new exhibit will be interactive and include an archeology pit that visitors can walk over.

“We’re really excited to have this coming,” Szekeres says. “Today’s visitors are looking for more interactive exhibits. They want to touch, feel, do.”

The process for tearing down “Wetlands & Waterways” is estimated to begin later this year in phases and it will take until the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017 to complete the new exhibit, Szekeres shares.

Artifacts will be taken out, catalogued, put in storage and sorted in a collection of storage units. Not all the artifacts will go into the new exhibit. New artifacts, yet to be determined, will be incorporated into the space. The museum is working with Split Rock Studios based in Minneapolis on creating the premise and designing the space. Focus groups with community members and teachers also have been instrumental.

“We knew things needed to be refreshed, but we wanted to hear from them what was missing,” says Szekeres who adds that this is the first of many changes within the next 10 years that the museum will undergo as they look at all of the galleries and how to make the museum more engaging as a whole.

For more information, visit

Bookmark this post.
Arts & Culture

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.