Oshkosh Public Museum delivers with People of the Waters


The new interactive People of the Waters exhibition at the Oshkosh Public Museum explores the richness of prehistoric and early life in this region that spans 13,000 years. The key storyline and interpretive elements of this cutting edge experience link strongly with 4th grade curriculum on the study of the Ice Age, Native American cultures, and the impact of the Fur Trade.

Visitors can journey through time to discover how massive sheets of ice, up to two miles high, gouged and transformed the landscape from prehistoric times to what we see today. A dynamic forty-foot long glass wall showcases an array of artifacts that represents history from Paleoindians through the Fur Trade.

Artifacts left behind help archaeologists determine how people lived. Visitors can uncover the past in a walk-over archaeological dig site, walk inside a full-sized recreated Oneota longhouse from 1,000 years ago to discover daily life in a Native village, and find out how early people used the region’s diverse natural resources.

Rivers and lakes were like highways, carrying goods and people across the region. Discover the history of trade, dating back thousands of years. An innovative proprietary Trap and Trade game allows visitors an opportunity to experience first-hand how trading occurred. The trading game can be played in the gallery, online at oshkoshmuseum.org, or by downloading the free app from the iTunes Store.

This state-of-the-art exhibition is the culmination of over four years of research, and more than a year of construction, that started with collecting feedback from members, teacher focus groups, and the community. Survey results indicated that fully 65% of respondents ranked a Native American exhibit as their number one choice.

People of the Waters is a permanent, long-term exhibition that will continue to inspire visitors for many years to come. The unique nature of this exhibit and information presented is a huge draw to all K-12 students, in addition to educators, researchers, and anyone who is interested in discovering more about the region’s cultural history and understanding how past events shape our lives.

The Oshkosh Public Museum is the only museum in the east central region of Wisconsin that offers such a clear-cut educational experience, providing enriching field trip opportunities that align with and enhance classroom instruction. You can explore the wealth of artifacts that make up this incredible exhibition through the Virtual Exhibition at oshkoshmuseum.org. Also available for download is a curriculum offering complete lesson plans at the Elementary School, Middle School, and High School levels.

Experience the beautiful historic Sawyer home in its holiday splendor during the annual Deck the Halls exhibition, on display through December 31. The Christmas Village exhibit windows showcase a festive display of recreated scenes from favorite holiday movies. And, the Museum Elves are back and ready to stump visitors with their new hiding places. In staying true to its mission, the Museum is offering free admission to children under age 18, and adult admission is only $3.50 during this holiday experience.

The Oshkosh Public Museum is located at 1331 Algoma Blvd in Oshkosh. Regular hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 10 am-4:30 pm and Sunday from 1 pm-4:30 pm. The Museum will be closed for the holidays on November 23, December 24-26, and January 1. Effective January 1, 2018, general admission to the Museum will be Adults $8, Seniors $6, College Students $6, and Children (age 6-17) $4. Museum members, and children five and under, receive free admission. For more information, visit oshkoshmuseum.org or call 920.236.5799.

Photo courtesy of Phil Weston of Weston Imaging, Oshkosh, Wisconsin.


About Author

Karla Szekeres Oshkosh Public Museum Civic Contributor

The Oshkosh Public Museum is a non-profit regional history museum entrusted with the care of more than 300,000 historical photographs, documents, and artifacts that represent the history, culture and heritage of the region. Housed in the historic Sawyer home since 1924, the Oshkosh Public Museum is an amazing resource for research and discovery of Oshkosh and the Lake Winnebago region. Situated just off the Fox River near historic downtown Oshkosh, the Museum’s mission is to preserve the area’s colorful legacy, and to bring history to life through innovative exhibitions and educational programs that will both inspire and entertain guests of all ages and interests.

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