Cemetery Tours

Cemetery Tours Go 360-degree Virtual for 2020

Because we want to keep everyone safe and healthy during the pandemic, we will not be presenting in-person cemetery tours this year. While we agree that this change is a disappointment, the museum staff will present Talking Spirits Cemetery Tours: Myths and Realities through a 360-degree virtual tour of Forest Hill Cemetery on Madison’s near west side.

The tour will launch right here and at MadisonCemeteryTours.com on October 15th. All you need to view the tour is internet access, and a computer, tablet, or smart phone; no special applications are required. You can view the tour at any time and as many times as you like. Access is free.

Embedded in the virtual tour are all the anticipated features of the in-person tour. We present four featured vignettes this year performed by actors who bring the tales of some very interesting people to life. Learn about the man for whom Truax Field is named, Madison’s oldest women - who has a secret, a Civil War soldier who was shot in the head - and lived, and a veteran-gardener who suffered a great loss on the Fourth of July. Scroll down to read more about them.

In addition to these riveting tales of Wisconsinites from the past, museum staff guides will share accounts of unique points of interest on the grounds, such as the Caitlin Chapel, Union Rest, Confederate Rest, the effigy burial mounds within the veterans section of the cemetery, stories from the 1918 Pandemic, and more.

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Thomas "Bud" Truax

Thomas ‘Bud’ Truax 

As an athlete who lettered in golf at the University of Wisconsin while earning a degree in Economics, Bud Truax was an unlikely candidate to become an Army Air Corps aviator. Nevertheless, he rapidly became one of the Army’s prized flyers.  


Hettie Pierce

Born into slavery in 1829, Hettie Pierce worked the Gold Point plantation in Louisiana. After Emancipation, her family moved frequently to avoid lynch mobs during Reconstruction. She settled in Madison and is known as the city’s oldest resident.

Harry Lovejoy

Harry Lovejoy

Harry Lovejoy fought in two wars and was wounded in both. During the War with Mexico, he was shot in the leg. He re-enlisted during the Civil War and was shot numerous times. One bullet passed straight through his skull and he was left for dead.

John Betz

John Betz

John Betz served in the 31st Regiment and the Veterans Reserve Corps during the Civil War. Although he had never been in the artillery, John was assigned to help fire a celebratory cannon on July 4th, 1871. It was an honor and a curse.

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Thank you to our generous sponsors:
This project is supported by Dane County Arts with additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation, The Evjue Foundation, Inc., charitable arm of The Capital Times, the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation, and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation. This project is also funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, with funds from the National Endowment for Humanities and the State of Wisconsin. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Wisconsin Humanities Council supports and creates programs that use history, culture, and discussion to strengthen community life for everyone in Wisconsin.
This production is costumed in part with the assistance of Children's Theater of Madison and the Madison Arts Production Center.

If you would like to support this project, please visit the Wisconsin Veterans Museum Foundation for ideas on how to help.

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