A recent visit to the Neville Public Museum in the heart of downtown Green Bay, Wisconsin, made me wonder what more could be done with the museum’s space. Though the exhibits and temporary displays that were currently running were fascinating, there were large areas of the museum that were not being used at the current time. However, the Neville Public Museum is a good time out for families looking for an afternoon of education and hands-on learning.
The museum, located on 210 Museum Drive along the Fox River walkway, offers free parking for patrons, along with a reasonable entrance fee of $4 (although you can get a free glimpse of the museum from 6-8pm on Thursday evenings). Located on the other side of the river from downtown redevelopment, the Neville is only as good as the rotating list of exhibits coming through. In the past, they have had great exhibits on archaeology and the discovery of dinosaur bones, birds of prey, and the development of consumer culture in Northeast Wisconsin. The exhibit currently running is a display of John James Audobon’s sketchings and personal effects and how the wildlife displayed in his work is related to the flora and fauna of Wisconsin. This exhibit is very interesting for naturalists and historians, but is a bit dry for the average museum goer.
The permanent exhibits at the museum include a rotating display of historical pictures from Green Bay, a rotating exhibit of Green Bay Packers historical documents, and a trip through geological and cultural history of Northeast Wisconsin called “On the Edge of the Inland Sea.” The historical pictures feature some great shots of life at the turn of the 20th century, including an old style beauty shop, local families celebrating Christmas, and a great shot of Green Bay community members celebrating Armistice Day during World War I. The Green Bay Packers photos include some great shots of the Vince Lombardi era and a smattering of pictures from the early Packers years and the later years post-Lombardi. The permanent exhibit “On the Edge” is a great primer for those who don’t know the history of the region, including the native culture, how industries like paper making and ice harvesting came about, and a taste of the settler culture through the Victorian era.
The Neville also hosts some great community events, including a regular Poetry Night, holding screenings for the International Film Series, and meetings for the Geology Club of Green Bay and the Astronomical Society. For more information on the Neville Public Museum, those interested can go to www.nevillepublicmuseum.org.