Langlade County Historical Society Receives $10,000 Grant to ‘Reconnect with History’ Following Pandemic
FOR THE ANTIGO TIMES
For 15 months, the Langlade County Historical Society was forced to keep its museum doors closed to the public, due to theCOVID-19 pandemic. That severely battered the Society’s operating revenues, which are funded largely through visitor and local business support.
Now, a substantial grant from the Wisconsin Humanities is aiding its recovery.
“We are excited to announce we have a received a Wisconsin Humanities Recovery Grant from Wisconsin Humanities,” Joe Hermolin, Society president, said. “Our project, WHRG-Reconnecting with our history, supports Wisconsin Humanities’ mission to strengthen the roots of community life through educational and cultural programs that inspire civic participation and individual imagination.”
The $10,000 grant is earmarked toward regular museum operating expenses, including partial salary for the curator—the only paid staff member—along with utility and social media costs.
The dollars will also allow the museum to continue to evolve its social media outreach, allowing guests to access a variety of museum documents and displays remotely, Hermolin said. “As the pandemic made clear, the ability to reach members and guests through online platforms is key to continuing and enhancing the museum’s mission of sharing and promoting the unique history of Langlade County and the surrounding area. With a return to normalcy, we hope to be able to extend our outreach to include tours for schools, public presentations to various groups, print publications, and tours, alone or in collaboration with other organizations.”
The museum has been a local landmark for decades, housed in the one-time Carnegie Library, Antigo’s most distinctive building. A one-time repository for books, it has for the past three decades served as the clearinghouse for information and artifacts relating to the history of Antigo, Langlade County, and the surrounding areas. The interior collection includes intricate Native American beadwork; a wide array of pioneer tools; a display illustrating the area’s role in skirting the nation’s Prohibition laws, including a still; and even a restored skiff from the original Antigo Boat Works.
It is also home to the Antigo Visual Artists art gallery, featuring a revolving series of exhibits featuring local artists, with many pieces available for purchase; and the museum gift shop, which offers apparel, local books of interest, and real “Deleglise Log Cabin” maple syrup in glass decanters.
On the grounds are the original Deleglise Cabin, the first home of the community’s founder, Francis Deleglise, and the restored 440 steam locomotive, a massive engine that offers a nod to the area’s railroading history, and caboose.
New this year, the museum has become home to the Welcome Center operated by the Langlade County Economic Development Corporation. The center offers information on activities and trails waiting to be explored in an attractive setting, featuring the museum’s restored fireplace as a centerpiece. Maps and brochures are available in the vestibule around-the-clock. Travelers are also invited inside during working hours to visit with staff, watch videos on county attractions and plan their visit with help from a huge interactive map.
In Wisconsin, 52 historical societies, museums, libraries, and other nonprofits were awarded $442,000 in Wisconsin Humanities Recovery Grant funds to help the state prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the pandemic. The awards represent the first round of funds provided to Wisconsin Humanities by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.”
“We received 114 applications expressing more than $1.6 million in need.” Dena Wortzel, Executive Director of Wisconsin Humanities, said. “We weighed factors including need, location, the strength of their public humanities work, the audience that organizations serve, and how they would use these funds to help them address the impacts of the pandemic.
These funds will help organizations with everything from salary support and utility bills to improving access through digitization of collections and programming, she stressed.
“We saw so much need,” Wortzel said. “We hope these funds can help these Wisconsin nonprofits that provide cultural programming remain resilient as we try to emerge from the pandemic.”
Wisconsin Humanities supports projects that strengthen the roots of community life through educational and cultural programs that inspire civic participation and individual imagination