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Museums in Racine, Wisconsin

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    Museums are priceless; they host our history. Before the internet, research was done in libraries and museums, not on phones. Research required us to leave our homes, ask for assistance, and listen while others spoke. The internet is a great tool, but it can’t replace social interactions and the opportunity to see authentic artifacts in person as museums can. Take the time to discover the history of humanity. Racine is home to many museums, some of which display art and culture throughout the years, while others challenge us to transcend ourselves as we step into the future. By the time you’re done, you should have a newfound reverence for museums.

    The Racine Art Museum houses “the largest and most significant contemporary craft collection in North America” with over 9,500 pieces from renowned artists across the country and globe. Racine Art Museum’s mission “is to exhibit, collect, preserve, and educate in the contemporary visual arts.” The Museum strives “to elevate the stature of craft to fine arts by presenting ceramics, fibers, glass, metals, polymer, and wood alongside paintings and sculptures.”

    The Museum is fundamental in Racine’s arts education through community outreach programs and studio art classes and workshops instructed by reputable craft media artists throughout the Midwest and the United States. Learn more about the RAM’s history and hours and admission

    Before the Racine Art Museum, The Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts was created. Established on November 16, 1941, the house was given to the city of Racine to be used for a fine arts museum. Wustum is not a survivor, but a thriver, as a significant arts organization. The exhibition displays items by artists central to Wustum’s history on several levels. When RAM was created in 2003, the need for artists’ contributions in institutional development dramatically increased.

    Artists have kept the Wustum and RAM alive by volunteering, teaching, and donating; working as staff, board members, and committee members; campaigning, sponsoring, facilitating large gifts, and donating incredible collections. The artists featured in this exhibition meet two criteria:

    1. They have been indispensable to the growth of Wustum and RAM in one or more aspects.
    2. They are involved in RAM’s properties.

    Firehouse 3 Museum is a decommissioned Racine Fire Department station from 1882 to 1968. Over the years, the Fire Station’s equipment evolved, from a horse-drawn steamer and hose cart (1882-1918) to a motorized fire apparatus (1918-1943) and even Racine’s first full-time Rescue Squad (1943-1968). The station was shut down in 1968 when the new Safety Building opened, and numerous companies were transferred.

    Firehouse 3 Museum “is a living memorial dedicated to the Fire Fighters of Racine, living and dead; past, present, and future; who devote their lives to the protection of their neighbors.” The objects exhibited are reminders of how fires were fought more than 100 years ago and how firefighting has advanced.

    The Museum is preserved exclusively by the work of the Racine Fire Bells. Firehouse 3 Museum does not receive any funding from the City of Racine. Furthermore, the Racine Fire Bells have published the History of the Racine Fire Department in 1992 (the 150th Anniversary of Fire Protection in Racine).

    Racine Heritage Museum, formerly titled the Old Settlers’ Society, was created by early community builders in 1870 “to preserve the stories and experience of the settlement of Racine County.” Racine was a reputable wheat producer “with a bustling commercial harbor” and became “a global manufacturing leader.” Currently, Racine is “an emergent hub of technological innovation and production.”

    The Racine Heritage Museum (and its ancestor organizations) functions “to collect, preserve, and share Racine County’s rich and unique story.” Racine Heritage Museum is devoted to archiving “the material culture and telling the special stories of the people of Racine County; their achievements, diversity, inventive genius, productivity, craftsmanship, and entrepreneurial spirit.” Learn how you can support and explore the Racine Heritage Museum.

    In September 1984, Quinn Rench led a group of aviation enthusiasts and organized Chapter 838. Unintentionally, Rench was the Chapter’s first president. Originally, Chapter 838 gathered in several locations, such as members’ homes, hangars, and basements. Chapter 838 published the first issue of their newsletter, Contact, in July of 1985. In December 1987, 838 started “an ambitious building project” to create “a permanent home for the chapter.”

    On March 9, 1992, Chapter 838 broke ground and commenced constructing “one of the finest chapter facilities in the Experimental Aircraft Association.” That same month, Chapter 838 endorsed the charter for the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Museum and Hall of Fame. In 1999, the Chapter building expanded to accommodate museum growth. Chapter 838 built their website in 2002, and they “have not looked back ever since.”

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    About Belle City Square

    Introducing Belle City Square, the historic home of the Horlick Malted Milk Factory beautifully reimagined for today’s apartment dweller. Get in on Great Lakes living at its finest AND most affordable – right here in Racine.


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