Wisconsin Historical Society
The Society will receive nearly $1 million in federal funding to help pay for installation of exhibits at the new Learning and Visitor Center at Wade House and to conduct archaeological surveys of five historic Lake Michigan shipwreck sites. The Society expects both projects to enhance local heritage tourism opportunities.
The funding comes from the Federal Highway Administration's Transportation Enhancement program. It will come in the form of reimbursements administered by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation after the two projects' completion. The funds support qualifying projects that fit one of 12 criteria relating to surface transportation.
Wade House will open the new Learning and Visitor Center and Wesley Jung Carriage Museum in 2013. The funds will reimburse the project $800,000 toward the cost of installing exhibits in the carriage transportation museum upon its completion. The museum will bring compelling stories within the world of horse-drawn transportation to life in vignette settings, interactive exhibits and hands-on experiences.
Another $170,000 will support the Society's underwater archaeology program with a project called Wisconsin's Historic Shipwrecks: Documenting and Promoting our Maritime Past. The project will involve conducting archaeological surveys of five shipwrecks, one pictured here, that represent a cross section of historically significant vessel types that have sailed Wisconsin waters.
Archaeological documentation of the shipwrecks will allow for their nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, providing the sites with additional layers of legal protection. The project will also develop educational and outreach materials as well as historic markers using data and images collected during the surveys. Those data and images will also document the sites on two websites: wisconsinshipwrecks.org and maritimetrails.org.
Finally, the project will result in the addition of state-sponsored mooring buoys to mark the five sites and promote visitation by divers while protecting the sites from improper anchoring techniques.