Wisconsin Life

Wisconsin 101 is proud to collaborate with Wisconsin Public Radio’s Wisconsin Life, an award-winning radio show that celebrates what makes Wisconsin unique. Every few weeks, Wisconsin Life will feature a new object from the Wisconsin 101 collection. Enjoy those radio segments below, ordered by most recent air date.

Sterling Safety Bicycle

by Thomas Rademacher

In the 1890s, everyone from Annie Oakley to the Badger Wheelmen participated in Wisconsin’s cycling craze. The blue drop-tube safety bicycle represents two sides of Wisconsin’s bicycling story: bike manufacturing and recreational uses.

Listen below to the Sterling Safety Bicycle’s segment on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Wisconsin Life:


Lifesaving Medal

by David Driscoll

Awarded to six Milwaukee rescue boat volunteers in 1875, this medal is a reminder of the history of risk and heroism along Wisconsin’s shores.

Listen below to the Lifesaving Medal’s segment on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Wisconsin Life:


Employers Mutual Audiometer

by Ben Clark

Founded in Wausau, WI, in 1911, America’s first workers compensation insurance company started using equipment like the Employers Mutual Audiometer to develop new standards of workplace safety.

Listen below to the Employers Mutual Audiometer’s segment on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Wisconsin Life:


Le Maire Sundial

by Kevin Cullen

The mid-eighteenth century equivalent of today’s GPS, this Le Maire Sundial, would have guided French officers along maritime highways.

Listen below to the Le Maire Sundial’s segment on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Wisconsin Life:


Paramount Records 78

by Sergio Gonzalez

An old 78 record spins a tune about Port Washington’s Paramount Records, one of the leading blues music production studios of the 1920s.

Listen below to the Paramount Records’s segment on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Wisconsin Life:


Yerkes Telescope

by Kelsey Corrigan

Built in 1895, the 40-inch refracting Yerkes Telescope in Williams Bay marks one of the birthplaces of modern astrophysics.

Listen below to the Yerkes Telescope’s segment on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Wisconsin Life:


Penguin Server

by Ann Glasscock

A penguin-themed serving bowl dishes out stories about the aluminum industry, postwar consumer culture, and home entertainment in mid-twentieth century Wisconsin.

Listen below to the Penguin Server’s segment on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Wisconsin Life:


Wilson Place Door

Wilson Place Door.

by James E. Bryan

Open the front door at Menomonie’s Wilson Place Mansion to discover a world of educational innovation and an artistic movement devoted to social responsibility and quality craftsmanship.

Listen below to the Wilson Place Door’s segment on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Wisconsin Life:


CCC Pillow Sham

CCC pillow sham.

by Joe Hermolin

Memories of European immigration, the Depression, and the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps are woven into the fabric of this commemorative pillow sham.

Listen below to the CCC Pillow Sham’s segment on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Wisconsin Life:


Babcock Butterfat Tester

Babcock butterfat tester with lid closed, showing friction-drive crank Wisconsin Historical Museum object 1948.567,A-D

by David Driscoll

The Babcock Butterfat Tester, developed at the University of Wisconsin in 1890, transformed the US dairy industry and helped Wisconsin become the Dairy State.

Listen below to the Babcock Butterfat Tester’s segment on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Wisconsin Life:


Cassel Soda Bottle

Cassel Soda Bottle (Image courtesy of Whitefish Bay Historical Society). Photograph by Elkin Gonzalez.

by Kelsey Corrigan

Pop open a bottle from the old Cassel Soda Company and you’ll find surprising stories about Prohibition, Milwaukee’s resort towns, and urbanization in early-1900s Wisconsin.

Listen below to the Cassel Soda Bottle’s segment on Wisconsin Public Radio’sWisconsin Life:


Piano and Song Recital Poster

Baez Piano Recital Posterby Sergio Gonzalez

A tattered music recital poster sings songs of Milwaukee’s late-nineteenth century music scene, the women’s movement, and early Mexican immigration to Wisconsin.

Listen to the poster’s segment on Wisconsin Life, below: