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It's your place for engaging stories of the people that make Wisconsin feel like home.

Returning History

Bill Green is the director of Beloit College’s Logan Museum of Anthropology. As part of his work, Bill leads anthropology students in their studies of the museum’s Native American artifact collection. Bill’s work is unique because unlike many museums that seek to add to their collections, the Logan Museum conducts research to determine who rightfully owns the artifacts 

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Family Trees

Lois Lawton records the history of her community… one stitch at a time.  Lois has spent decades hand-working personal needlepoint designs, crafted to reflect the life experiences of her friends and neighbors.  

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Milwaukee Blacksmith

Kent Knapp has been studying blacksmithing since he was 19 years old.  He worked with a master blacksmith for a few years in Milwaukee and now runs a traditional blacksmithing business that involves his wife and 4 children.  A huge part of the draw to this art form for the family is Kent’s love for Milwaukee architecture and its rich history with iron.  Now Kent expresses his passion for Milwaukee’s history by designing his own ironworks. 

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Riverboat Through Time

Steamboats are embedded in the history of the La Crosse area. However, a passion for those vessels continues to bring that history to life. Producer Breann Schossow tells us more.

Photo: Breann Schossow

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Clog Jam

Tracy Mullaney and Christi Pfaff have almost nothing in common. What they do share is a passion for clog dancing. That love of dance has been enough to serve as the base of their lasting friendship and business.  

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Richard Davis

Richard Davis is internationally known as one of the best jazz musicians in the world. What some may not know about Richard is how much of his time he devotes to mentoring up-and-coming artists. Tag along to see how this music legend seeks to inspire Wisconsin youth.

For more on Richard, his students and his peers, check out these web extras:

Hiwot Adilow’s poem, with Richard playing along, shows a student’s capacity to learn and a teacher’s hope for the future.

Following the news that Richard Davis had received the NEA Jazz Master award, his UW performance class drew 3 times the usual numbers.

Born 1930, Chicago, Richard Davis was inspired by Ben Webster’s sax solos in Duke Ellington’s orchestra. 

Taylor Scott (a junior First Wave scholar from Baton Rouge) recites her poem “Freedom” as Richard Davis accompanies her on bass.

Richard Davis introduces a new vocal talent from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music’s faculty, Jessie Hauck.

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Wisconsin Monsters

Legendary monsters and spirits live wherever there are people to tell their tales – including Wisconsin. Artist Mike Bass tells us about the Wisconsin folklore that inspires his artwork.

Photo: Mike Bass

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Claw Foot Tub

They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Responding to an ad for an old tub, writer Nickolas Butler found both a tub and a sense of connection.

Nickolas Butler is the author of the novel Shotgun Lovesongs.  

Photo: Andy Chase 

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Abraham Lincoln in Wisconsin

Abraham Lincoln was born on this day in 1809. While he’s most commonly associated with the state to our south, writer Dean Robbins tells us the little known story of Lincoln’s 1859 visit to Wisconsin. 

Dean Robbins is the editor of Madison’s alternative weekly, Isthmus

Photo: Travel Wisconsin

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Historical Fencing

Fencing for sport and combat as existed for thousands of years in many forms and in many cultures. Appleton police officer Aaron Pynenberg is a medieval combat specialist. He’s traveled the world teaching and demonstrating his craft, and is the lead trainer for the Wisconsin Historical Fencing Association. Producer Aubrey Ralph went to check out Wisconsin’s historic fencing community. 

Photo: Wisconsin Historical Fencing Association

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Birchbark Canoe

As a young boy, Wayne Valliere’s grandmother said to him, “Your grandfathers are written throughout history. I challenge you and your brothers to think, what will your grandchildren say about you someday?”  That inspired Valliere to pass on his Native American culture to young people in his community.  One of the ways he does that is by teaching them how to craft traditional birchbark canoes.

Interested in learning more? Follow this link to a blog about Wayne Valliere’s work on the birch bark canoe.

 

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La Crosse Olympian George Poage

George Poage moved to La Crosse as a young child in 1884. Locally, he was known as a scholar and remarkable athlete. He went on become the first African-American on the UW-Madison track team. But his greatest triumph came at the 1904 Olympics when he became the first African-American to medal in the 200m and 400m hurdles. WPR’s Maureen McCollum talked with UW-La Crosse retired special collections librarian Ed Hill about George Poage’s life as a student athlete in La Crosse.

Photo: La Crosse native George Poage (front, left) with the 1903 University of Wisconsin track team. Photo courtesy of UW Athletic Communications.

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Voyage of Discovery

15-year old Brianna Thom isn’t being shanghaied into serving on a ship like in days of old, but has voluntarily signed up to join the only all-female tall ship crew in the world.   The Green Bay teen boards the Unicorn to spend a week as part of the “Sisters Under Sail” program.  The program’s goal is to help young women learn that they can be self-resilient… on board the ship and in life. 

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Clan Mother

Molly Miller is a clan mother among the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans. Historically, clan mothers were decision makers in their communities. Today, Miller works to revitalize her culture and community, motivated, in part, by the tragic loss of her son. 

This story was produced by Finn Ryan of the Wisconsin Media Lab for The Ways. Learn more and see the video at theways.org

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Marilyn Rinehart and Angie Kauffman take us on a tour of Pier Natural Bridge Park.

Photos: Larry Sanders

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