Tag Archive | museum

International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center in Baraboo


7-22-17 and 7-20-19

Nestled within the 102 4th Avenue Retail Center on the Baraboo Square is the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center.  The museum’s Executive Director, Greg DeSanto, made this valuable resource a reality in Baraboo on May 21, 2010.  He saved this museum, the artifacts were in storage for four years after it failed in Milwaukee. It originally was in Delavan, also a circus town. We met him on our visit, such a funny guy! Not surprising, since he is also a clown, along with his wife, Karen. Learn more about Greg here.

Since we were here for the Big Top Circus Parade, learning more about the history of clowns was a great addition to the day.   We could tell by the festive appearance of the doorway it was going to be a fun visit!

Tours are conducted daily at 2:00 PM June through August.

Winter Hours:
From September through May we are open by appointment only.

Admission:
$8.00 Adults
$5.00 Children Under 12

See our tour here, conducted by Toto Johnson in 2019.

Toto began the tour by introducing the three kinds of clowns.

Inside is a large room with displays dedicated to famous clown past and almost present. Displays change often as they got donations of artifacts.

 

On our visit in 2017, Sandy Weber conducted the tour. He also designed the beautiful signage you see throughout the museum. He covered topics like the clown’s roles in history and pointed out the artifacts from their performance days. Most artifacts have been donated by family members of each clown.

Toto Johnson was our guide in 2019, his anecdotes really made the tour special! He had the full attention of the kids on the tour! Toto is on the museum’s Board of Directors and his enthusiasm is contagious! In the photo, he’s telling the kids about the clown car and how as a young clown in the 1980s, he had to be the first one inside the car. The highest-ranked clown stayed outside, their role was to open and close the door! They never had to even had to get in. He worked for the Ringling Brothers in 1986, after graduation. Toto attended the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College in 1985 and a documentary was made. The video plays on a screen at the museum.

Click to enlarge.

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They also had a great exhibit for Happy the Clown, Jim Williams, formerly of Circus World Museum. I saw him perform there in 1980, my first visit to Circus World Museum. He passed away in 2015 at age 71 😦

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Bobo‘s tiny clown car, I don’t know how he got in, he was about 6’3″.  He kept that a secret! One good guess is that he began his circus career as a contortionist and used those skills here.  Clowns are indeed athletes in makeup!

A short video of Bobo Barnett getting out of his car, complete with luggage and dogs. Amazing!

His daughter, Christiana Barnett-Murphy, has a YouTube channel with more video. She also wrote a book about her experiences of being this famous clown’s daughter.


Speaking of interesting clown vehicles, the bathtub car. It was driven during the Big Top Circus parade!

An important circus secret to preventing infection to cuts is Sea Breeze. Toto told us how they kept this on hand to keep cuts from getting infected.


Emmett Kelly and Lou Jacobs

See Lou in the video from 1987.

Emmett Kelly performing his “Sweeping up the spotlight” gag.

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Mark Anthony

Video of Mark in 1986.

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One of our more recent famous clowns, Red Skelton! He had his own TV show from 1951 to 1971.

See some clips from the show here.

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A moment of silence for late clown Ceslee Conkling. She passed away when her train derailed on January 13, 1994. She was 28. A little video from one of her acts.

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This exhibit was expanded only the day before on July 19, 2019. Some more artifacts were just sent in for clown Jackie LeClaire. See a video of his recollections, filmed in 2013.

 

Be sure to make this museum one of your stops when you visit Baraboo.  There is so much more than I showed you here.

Al enjoyed the tour so much, I’m afraid HE might run away and join the circus!

If you can, please donate to keep this museum going strong, thank you!

Photo-Al Kutil

Belle Fourche SD-Center of the USA!


Day 4 / April 27, 2017

After leaving Sturgis, our journey took us to Belle Fourche.

It just so happens this is the geographical center of the United States and there is a really great marker here.  It is located at the Tri-State Museum and Visitor’s Center.  The states represented are South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. There wasn’t enough time to stop in but there was plenty to see outside.

This is a lug tractor, named for the studs on the back tires.

There is also a great historical marker describing this unique spot.

There is also a bust of George Freeman Mortimer, a man who contributed a lot to the health and vitality of the citizens of South Dakota.

Belle Forche is also important geographically in another way, it was an important part of The Great Cattle Trail .  That would not have been possible without the railroad.

There is also a historic log cabin at the museum too.

Peace Flowing Like a River sculpture.

You can also take a walk on the Belle Fourche River Walk from here.

And now for the best part of the museum, the center of the country!

A fun but short visit here, about 15 minutes from 1:13 to 1:27 PM.  We continue onward toward Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.

Crivitz-Stephenson Historical Society Museum


6-25-16

The Crivitz-Stephenson Historical Society Museum is located downtown and well worth the visit if you have a few extra hours.  Read more about Crivitz history here.  Admission is free but donations gratefully accepted.

Crivitz Historical Society Museum description

Crivitz-Stephenson Historical Society Museum

We began our tour in the main building above, SO many displays!  Al and Ellie Karman so generously donated the land for the museum, thank you!

Al and Ellie Karman Land benefactors for Crivitz museum

Judge F. Bartels names Crivitz after Crivitz, Germany.

Judge F. Bartels-Crivitz namer

A view at the entrance.

Panorama of Crivitz museum

Here are some of the many displays.

Some milk bottles when Crivitz used to bottle milk.

Crivitz Hillside Milk

Living Room display in early 1900’s. Notice large radio on the right.

Living Room display at Crivitz Museum

Schoolroom display

Schoolroom display at Crivitz Museum

Vintage women’s fashions

Womens fashion display at Crivitz museum

Kitchen and dining room

Kitchen and Dining Room display in Crivitz

The village Piggly Wiggly has provided food for the Crivitz area for over a century! Below is the store now. Owned by the Witt family still, going into the 4th generation.

Piggly Wiggly 100+ Years in Crivitz

Piggly Wiggly and Subway in Crivitz

There are two other buildings here, a docent will take you out to them and describe their history.  This is the logging cabin, here you learn about the importance of the lumber industry here in the Crivitz area.  It still is, as we saw rail cars loaded with logs downtown.

Logging Museum building in Crivitz

Railroad Cars with wood in Crivitz

Logging camp in Crivitz

Peshitigo Logging Cabin at Crivitz

A highly detailed display of a logging camp. The one that was in Iron Mountain, MI is shown here. Here is some information about the model.

Logging Camp info

The last building is lovingly called “Honeymoon Cabin”.

Honeymoon Cabin in Crivitz

Honeymoon Cabin in Memory of Doris Allen

 I had never heard of that term before. It is from the former Ahle’s Resort on Lake Noquebay and when it closed, it was moved here and still being restored. Read more about its history here.  Here is where the resort once was, on the western side of the lake.

Ahle's Resort location on Lake Noquebay

This is a photo from the resort, you can see this cabin in the middle of the photo between two trees.

Ahle's Resort photo Honeymoon Cabin in middle

Other views inside cabin.

Inside Honeymoon Cabin in Crivitz

This concludes our visit to the Crivitz-Stephenson Historical Society Museum.  We had a good time and our hosts were wonderful!

 

Crivitz – Gateway to the North


6-24 to 26-2016

Village of Crivitz landscaping

Triangle Park – Waterfall over sign by Loyal Landscaping, 2009

Crivitz Gateway to the North sign

After being Yoopers for a Day, we arrived in Crivitz, WI at about 7:30 PM on the 24th. We are here since this is the place where Al has memories. His family used to have a cabin on Lake Noquebay when he was young and he wanted to see what the town looked like over 40 years later.  Crivitz recreation and a visitor guide can be found here.  See here also.

Crivitz is also well known for their large July 4th celebration. Enjoy their fireworks display!

Crivitz July 4th celebration

  We turned in and were greeted with a beautiful sunrise the next morning just before 6:30.

Crivitz sunrise 6:23 AM on June 25

After taking pictures at the waterfall sign, we had breakfast at the restaurant behind the sign, Charlie’s Island Café. Great food and they open early! We had breakfast there the next morning too, they have a yummy buffet.

Charlie's Island Cafe in Crivitz

Charlie's Island Cafe inside in Crivitz

It was time to explore the town. Right after breakfast we went to take a look at an abandoned farmhouse called “The Gingerbread House” just outside of town.  Apparently it is a photo subject the locals visit often.  We had a beautiful clear sky that morning and it made a beautiful backdrop.

Gingerbread House WM

An abandoned car on the property nearly overgrown.

Abandoned Car at Gingerbread House in Crivitz

Let’s see some of the businesses in downtown Crivitz. See a list of other businesses here.  Here is Soup to Nuts.

Downtown Crivitz

Sharkey’s Floral and Greenhouse

Sharkey's Floral and Greenhouse in Crivitz

Oak Hill Treasures

Oak Hill Treasures

The railroad track crossed here also. There were some cars here partially load with wood, waiting for the engine car to pick them up after loading.

Railroad Cars with wood in Crivitz

Piggly Wiggly and Subway

Piggly Wiggly and Subway in Crivitz

We left Crivitz for a little while and went to nearby Peshtigo to see the Peshtigo Fire Museum since that was also open that day.  We grabbed lunch at the Crivitz BP, they even had some tables to sit at inside.

We stayed at the Capri Motel. The room was nice and clean and large. A word of warning though, bring plenty of cash if you stay here, their Paypal® connection was down and we had to pay $100 in cash for two nights.

Capri Motel in Crivitz

In the afternoon we explored the Crivitz-Stephenson Historical Society Museum.  It was HUGE and contained some other out-buildings aside from the large main museum building.

Crivitz Historical Society Museum description

Crivitz-Stephenson Historical Society Museum

We sure had fun exploring the museum, good work Crivitz-Stephenson Historical Society!  It was time to head to Lake Noquebay Park on the south end of the lake.  It costs $3.00 for the day here. Went down to the shore and saw a lot of activity on the water on this warm summer afternoon.  Summer is fun here!  It has changed a lot in 40 years though, the now Timberline Resort has grown in size and Al did not recognize it from his memories.

Lake Noquebay views in Crivitz

After we enjoyed taking in the view on the lake we enjoyed dinner lakeside at the Timberline Bar and Grill. They had delicious seafood and I had  shrimp, Al had Taco Salad.  Timberline Resort restaurant in Crivitz

This concludes our one day exploring Crivitz.  We learned a lot about the area and it was interesting to Al all the changes that have happened over the years.

Crivitz Watertower

Welcome to Crivitz selfie