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CVM: who we are

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PHONE:
(715) 834-7871

MAILING ADDRESS:
Chippewa Valley Museum
PO Box 1204
Eau Claire, WI 54702-1204

PHYSICAL ADDRESS:
1204 E. Half Moon Drive
Eau Claire, WI 54703
(This is NOT a mailing address!)

EMAIL:

OUR COLLECTIONS

 

Curatorial Collections

The museum has over 22,000 artifacts. The largest categories are tools and equipment (5,118); personal artifacts (3,428); and building models, components and furnishings (1,116).

CVM also manages three historic structures: the Anderson Log House, 1860s; Sunnyview School, 1882-1960; and the Schlegelmilch House, 1871-1906.

Among significant subcollections:

Farming and Farm Life. CVM has 1,049 tools and implements associated with agriculture and animal husbandry as well as approximately 400 personal artifacts, furnishings, vehicles, building components, and archival collections which can be associated with particular farm or rural families. S.O. Lund was a farmer before becoming a decorator and landscape painter in Eau Claire. Five Lund paintings reflect his memories of Norway as well as the herds and countryside of his new home. We have recently acquired a highly documented collection of tools and equipment used on the Erickson family farm in Dunn County from the 1930s through the 1950s. Forty-seven examples of farm machinery (and other machines closely associated with rural life) were the subject of a recent Detailed Conservation Survey.

Gillette/Uniroyal Collection. From 1917-1992, Gillette (later known as U.S. Rubber, Uniroyal, Uniroyal-Goodrich, and owned by Michelin at the time of closure) was the largest employer in Eau Claire. CVM maintains tools and equipment used in tire production (including two tire molds used in the 1980s), work clothing, safety equipment, union materials, advertising and other documents associated with this large rubber manufacturing plant and its workforce. Products are primarily tires, but also horse collars and ice cream shippers from the 1920s. The final product--a mini-spare tread--was delivered to CVM when the plant closed in 1992. Documentation of the collections has increased through an oral history program with former employees.

Schlegelmilch Collection. CVM owns the Schlegelmilch House, a brick home built in 1871 by immigrants Herman and Augusta Schlegelmilch located in downtown Eau Claire . Furnishings, hats and needlework created by family members, tools and gadgets from the family's hardware store, photographs, correspondence, and documents saved by four generations offer insight into middle-class life during a period of civic growth and transition.

Collections Development

The museum collects objects, photographs, and documents that help us better understand the Chippewa Valley. We look for items that have a local story, are unique to our collections (we typically do not accept more than one of a particular model), are in good condition, and can safely be stored in our facilities. We have identified key themes and subjects which need better representation, including

a) development of regional high-technology industries;
b) changing character of retailing and retail areas;
c) changing character of health care and hospitals;
d) growth of the Hmong community, cultural persistence and change; and,
e) history and cultures of Spanish-speaking residents
g) Ojibwe history and culture.

Uses

The Permanent Collection is used primarily for exhibition and programmatic research. Ten to twelve percent is on display at any given time. The remainder is in storage. The Schlegelmilch House Collection includes 1,365 objects with 165 accessioned in the permanent collection. The remainder is available for use.

Education Collections consist of duplicates or replicas intended for use in educational programming. Schoolchildren use Ojibwe tools and folk art objects in one Hands On History unit, household tools in another. Objects from study collections are incorporated into a dozen circulating History Kits, which also contain information, reproduced photographs and documents.

Management Practices

Approved by the Board and reviewed periodically, the General Collection Policy guides all collections work. The policy details record-keeping requirements, ethical standards for staff and Board, deaccession procedures, and conditions governing loans. "Permanent" loans are prohibited. There are two levels of collections: permanent and study. Items accepted for the Permanent Collection must have a regional association, be in good condition or restorable at reasonable expense, and have potential for use in exhibits, education, or research.

For questions about the collections or about donating items, call Kathie Roy, Assistant Curator at (715) 834-7871, or email her at k.roy@cvmuseum.com

 

Archival Collections

 

The Glenn Curtis Smoot Library and Archives – literally at the heart of the museum building -- holds 60,000 photographs, unpublished manuscripts, maps, audiovisual materials, books, and related archival materials. The largest categories are historic images, primarily photographic prints (20,000; ephemera (8,000); and communications articles, including accessioned documents (3,255).

The CVM collections offer an unparalleled resource for understanding life in west central Wisconsin during the past two centuries. As a whole, they reflect the primary purpose of CVM: to discover, collect, preserve, and interpret the history and culture of the region.

Among significant subcollections are

General Photographic Collections. CVM maintains the largest collection in the region with more than 20,000 images ranging in date from the mid-19th century to the present. By agreement with the Eau Claire public library and the Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, CVM is the primary collector of historic photographs. Offers of photographic collections to the public library or the university are referred to CVM. (Offers of public records and large manuscript or documentary collections are referred to the Area Research Center. The public library maintains no special collections.) All three libraries are available to the public.

Logging and Lumbering Collection. Settlement began in the Chippewa Valley during the lumber boom of the 1850s. The huge white pine forest lasted barely fifty years. Its depletion changed life forever for regional Indian communities who depended on the forest and the sawmill towns founded by Yankees and Europeans who had thought the pinery "inexhaustible." CVM maintains images, business documents, personal correspondence, journals, diaries, maps, and other archival materials related to this historically important regional industry.

Farming and Farm Life. CVM has substantial photographic and archival holdings, much of which can be associated with particular farm or rural families.

Gillette/Uniroyal Collection. From 1917-1992, Gillette (later known as U.S. Rubber, Uniroyal, Uniroyal-Goodrich, and owned by Michelin at the time of closure) was the largest employer in Eau Claire. CVM maintains union materials, advertising and other documents associated with this large rubber manufacturing plant and its workforce. An extensive photographic collection begins with the first tire coming off the line in 1917 and traces the 75-year history of rubber manufacturing in the area. Documentation of the collections has increased through an oral history program with former employees.

Schlegelmilch Collection. CVM owns the Schlegelmilch House, a brick home built in 1871 by immigrants Herman and Augusta Schlegelmilch located in downtown Eau Claire. Photographs, correspondence, and documents saved by four generations offer insight into middle-class life during a period of civic growth and transition.

For questions about the archival collections or about donating photographs or documents, call Kathie Roy, Assistant Curator, at (715) 834-7871, or email her at k.roy@cvmuseum.com

 

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