Looking Forward to History at Chippewa Valley Musuem

Looking Forward to History at Chippewa Valley Musuem

“…history allows man to live in a better world because he can learn from past mistakes as well as past successes and can use this knowledge to create a better world.”

– Judge Thomas Barland

 The Chippewa Valley Museums is celebrating fifty years in Carson Park (and did you know that the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp has been in Carson Park for 90 years?!). On June 28, 1974 a dedication was held with 350 people in attendance. Judge Thomas Barland said the museum was important because “history allows man to live in a better world because he can learn from past mistakes as well as past successes and can use this knowledge to create a better world.”

The first director of the museum was former UW-Eau Claire geography professor Preston Bissell, and UW-Eau Claire art professor Ken Campbell was the consulting curator. They wanted the new Chippewa Valley Museum to be a place of education and historical research. Bissell said a “museum should be more than a showcase for memorabilia.”

Two programs are bookending the 50th anniversary observance in the park. On June 4, archivist Jodi Kiffmeyer will be leading Biking into History: The Many Faces of Carson Park from 5-6:30 pm. Carson Park has a rich history; Kiffmeyer says “The land we now know as Carson Park has been put to a wide range of uses, from the Pest House built to quarantine smallpox patients in the mid-1800s, the sawmills that lined the lake a few decades later, and the beautiful mid-city oasis it is today.” The $5 registration includes a small dish or cone from the museum’s ice cream parlor following the ride. Register through the online calendar at cvmuseum.com. The tour is limited to 20 registered participants. The tour is doing double duty, celebrating Wisconsin Bike Week as well, which is June 1-9, 2024.

On August 21, 2024, Chippewa Valley Museums is hosting Campfire Stories and Sing Along, from 7-8:30 pm. Guests are invited to bring their favorite Wisconsin summer memory to our birthday party campfire on the lawn in front of the Chippewa Valley Museum. Ken Szymanski and Derick Black will be on hand to celebrate the CVM being at Carson Park for 50 years. Ken will lead off with a fun summer story, and then we’ll open the mic for anyone who wants to share a family-appropriate story. Derick will lead a sing-along ending with Happy Birthday. Bring your lawn chair and favorite beverage. This program has no admission cost.

Consider this an invitation to visit the Chippewa Valley Museum this summer. Director Carrie Ronnander reflects on our celebration: “A causeway connects Carson Park to downtown Eau Claire just like Chippewa Valley Museums connects the community to the past and the present. Carson Park is a beautiful place for a museum and it’s a delight to see all the activity that goes on in the park year round. I’m glad the city and the museum leaders agreed this would make a good spot for a history museum.”

Our summer season is full with biking, blood drive, base ball, and boating. Save the date for these June events:

Red Cross Blood Drive, June 5, 2024, 10AM-4PM. Give back to the community by giving blood to those in need and spend some quiet time visiting the museum exhibits.  Go to the calendar at cvmuseum.com to schedule an appointment.

Vintage Base Ball Games and Presentation, June 8, 2024. Spend the day enjoying 1860s “base ball” hosted by the Chippewa Valley Museums and Rassbach Museum’s Menomonie Blue Caps at Gelein Field in Carson Park. Base Ball uses 1860s rules and equipment with no gloves. A brief 30-minute presentation will be given at Wisconsin Logging Museum by Dustyn Dubuque about what Vintage Base Ball is before the game at 11:00AM at the Wisconsin Logging Museum.  

Triple Header (each team plays each other)
Menomonie Blue Caps
Sand Creek 9 (WI)
Rum River Rovers (MN)

Games will be at 12:00, 1:30 and 3:00
Suggested donation of 2-bits (.25 cents) for admission.

“On the Water,” June 18-December 31, 2024. A new exhibit opens at the Chippewa Valley Museums on June 18. “On the Water,” will take a nostalgic peek at summer recreation in the 1940s-1970s. National Presto Industries manufactured George Martin’s outboard motors from 1946-1952, and the story of that production is the anchor of the exhibit. Fishing is an important part of the exhibit with stories about muskie fishing, Van Gorden Boats, wonderful worms, the lure of fishing (fishing lures) and the Better Fishing Rodeo competition that was held in Carson Park for a couple of decades. The exhibit also delves into the formation of the Ski Sprites, Half Moon Lake beach, and resort life.

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