Wisconsin servicemembers have been collecting souvenirs since the Civil War. Learn the stories of the things they kept. On view now.
Souvenirs of Service: The Things They Kept
This exhibit includes items collected from the Civil War era to modern-day. The objects range from artillery shells painted in WWI foxholes to Zippo lighters collected during the Vietnam era. More than 400 photographs, taken by our servicemembers during times of war and peace, have been enlarged and line the gallery perimeter for you to view. More compelling are the stories that go along with what our friends, relatives, and neighbors have collected and kept. On view now through 2024.
What You'll See in the Exhibit
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.
A WWII fighter pilot from Janesville credits his never being shot down during his 67 combat missions to a good luck doll a woman gave him while they sheltered during an air raid on London. He kept that doll in his sock drawer until he donated it to the Museum in 2007.
An Eau Claire native who served in World War II sent his wife the nylon parachute that saved his life with instructions to make it into an evening gown for herself - it is stunning.