Souvenirs of Service Exhibit Opens 11/5


Wisconsin servicemembers have been collecting souvenirs since the Civil War.

Learn the stories of the things they kept beginning Nov. 5.


MADISON, Wis. (Oct. 18, 2021) —On November 5, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum will open “Souvenirs of Service: The Things They Kept,” a new exhibit featuring objects that Wisconsinites   collected while serving in the armed forces.

The items, collected from the Civil War era to modern-day, range from cannon balls and Zippos to swords and dolls. Each is presented along with its captivating backstory. For example, you will find a WWI radio operator from Racine brought home a treasured handmade mandolin, crafted for him by a local French woman and designed with the insignia of his division, the famed 32nd Red Arrow Division. An Eau Claire native who served in World War II sent his wife his nylon parachute with instructions to make it into an evening gown for herself.

“Collecting souvenirs of an event, place, person, or other reminder is an ancient human habit,” said Museum Director Chris Kolakowski. “Veterans are no different and have over the years brought home many reminders of their time in service. We look forward to sharing some of these powerful objects and their great stories with everyone.”

The exhibit opens to the public at 10 a.m. on November 5 and remains on view through 2022. The media is welcome to preview the exhibit from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on November 4 and 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on November 5. Admission to the museum is free for everyone, always. The Wisconsin Veterans Museum is an educational activity of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.

More information is available at

Jennifer Stevenson
Wisconsin Veterans Museum
(608) 224-9653