May 2014 Newsletter

May, 2014  ­­                                                                             Volume 11, No. 5

May Event:  Pot-Luck and Annual Meeting

Place:  Cravath Lakefront Park Building, Whitewater Street


When:  May 21, 2014, 6:30 p.m.: pot-luck; 7:00 p.m.: annual meeting

For the Pot-Luck, please bring a dish to pass and your own plates and utensils. You can bring your own drink but coffee will be provided. 


Is pot-luck not your thing?  Come to the 7:00 p.m. annual meeting anyway.  Hear what we did this year and what we are planning.  We appreciate and need your input. 


A Message from President Ellen Penwell:


There is much good news to share at this year’s Annual Meeting, so please plan on attending! After a social gathering surrounding a potluck dinner, we will take you through our accomplishments of the past year. The Society is moving forward on all fronts – exhibit planning, collections management and the return of collections to the Depot post-restoration, programming, facility issues, and community outreach.  Our membership numbers are strong and a rise in volunteer involvement has allowed us to consistently maintain extended open hours in the Depot Museum since our reopening event last April. We offer our heartfelt thanks to those of you who have stepped forward to make that happen! And a special thanks to Leah Penzkover, our UW-Whitewater Public History intern who, working under Depot Museum Curator Carol Cartwright’s outstanding supervision, has worked diligently and efficiently rehousing returned collections. It may sometimes seem like we move at a snail’s pace, but we never give up. Behind the scenes, great progress is steadily being made.


During the Annual Meeting, you’ll have an opportunity to explore the Society’s website – It’s an amazing resource filled with a tremendous amount of information on Whitewater local history. We want you to be familiar with the site and encourage your friends and family members to visit it often for information on current and future Society exhibits and programs. Board member Linda Robinson and another invaluable UW-Whitewater intern, Kelsey Welke, have worked hard to improve the site’s layout, content management, and posting speed.


At the Annual Meeting we’ll also share exciting updates on exhibits and programs currently being planned. A new temporary exhibit is nearing its installation phase. On July 5th, a descendent of early Whitewater resident Julius Birge, will read from her great-grandfather’s diaries, a program co-sponsored by the Whitewater Arts Alliance. In October, the Society will host the Whitewater-Area League of Women Voters in the Depot Museum with activities celebrating the League’s 50th anniversary (1964-2014). These programs will be fully explained at the meeting. We also want to solicit your ideas for future programs and events. Please think about that and join the conversation at the Annual Meeting on May 21st!


Officer Elections: 


One of the most important things the society does at its annual meeting is to elect new officers.  Here are the nominations for the board of directors that are up for election and changes to existing positions.  Of course, anyone who wishes to serve can be nominated from the floor.  We are always anxious for anyone who is interested to volunteer. 


Slate of Nominations:

Office                                       Nomination                                         Term

President:                                Ellen Penwell                                      2014-2016

Secretary:                                Connie Marshall                                  2014-2016

3-Year Board Member:           Carol Cartwright                                 2014-2017

2-Year Board Member:           Karen Coburn                                     2014-2016


Other Officers:

Vice-President            :           Alan Marshall   term expires 2015

Treasurer:                    Gregg Gauger   term expires 2015

3-Year Board:             John Newhouse  term expires 2015

3-Year Board:             Linda Robinson  term expires 2016

2-Year Board:             Karen Weston  term expires 2015


Depot Curator:  Carol Cartwright


Buy-A-Brick Update

Great news to report on this front! An additional 21 commemorative bricks were laid in the Depot walkway the week of May 5th, thanks to Chuck Nass and his staff at the Department of Public Works. The new bricks represent purchases made by supporters within the past two years. We extend our appreciation to everyone who generously supported the Depot restoration through our Buy-A-Brick fundraiser. Be sure to view our walkway of Whitewater past and present history, as represented in the bricks’ inscriptions, on your next visit to the Depot Museum. Depot hours are Fridays 10AM-1PM, Saturday and Sunday 1PM-4PM. 



Extended Depot Hours for Summer


The Depot Museum will be open for our regular Friday, Saturday, and Sunday hours this June through August.  But we will have extended hours on Thursdays.  The museum will be open on Thursday afternoons from 2:00-6:00 p.m., AND will be open from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. while there are activities at Lakefront Park.  As you may know, the popular concert in the park series and kid’s activities will be held on Thursday evenings as in the past and many people also stop by the museum.  So, when you come to these events, please see us at the depot!


New Exhibits


At Home On the Job:  As we have reported in past newsletters, we have been working on our new temporary exhibit on women’s work from 1830-1930.  We have many artifacts already on display and the entire exhibit will be up with captions sometime in June.  It is a fascinating topic and a good way to show many of our artifacts in a new way. 


World War I:  2014 is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I in Europe and although the United States did not get involved until 1917, it is an important anniversary.  It was supposed to be the “war that ended all wars,” but was really a terrible prequel to World War II and is often overshadowed by that later conflict.  The depot museum has an interesting collection of World War I artifacts.  We have Chester Lawton’s World War I discharge papers and his purple heart, Dr. Howard C. Miller’s medical corps uniform, a World War I nurse’s uniform, and photos of Company C, the National Guard unit from Whitewater that was called to active duty to fight in this war.  A small exhibit honoring Whitewater’s service in World War I will be installed by Memorial Day and will be available for viewing all summer. 


Genealogy Open Research


Whitewater Historical Society members are invited to join the members of the Walworth County Genealogical Society for an evening of open research at the UW-Whitewater Area Research Center, 1230 Andersen Library on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 from 6:30 to 8:45.  Curator Karen Weston will speak briefly about using land records.  Karen, who serves on our board, is a font of knowledge on genealogical research and using land records can help immensely in your personal family search.  Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about this important research tool. 


Special Events Coming This Summer:


In the very near future, the Whitewater Historical Society will be installing a new interpretive panel for the Whitewater Passenger Depot.  An anonymous donor is making this possible.  The panel will sit outside the depot and will be similar to the one put in front of the stone stable nearby.  See announcement soon!


The society will have a special summer program in conjunction with the Arts Alliance.  On July 5th, the society will welcome Barbara Birge, a descendent of pioneer Julius Birge, the first of the early settler’s children born in Whitewater.  She will be reading from a book she has written about Birge.  It is appropriate this will take place at the Arts Alliance right near the Birge Fountain, a gift from Julius Birge in 1903.  Look for details coming soon. 


Whitewater Historical Society

P. O. Box 149

Whitewater, WI  53190