Every veteran is a story, Rotarians were told May 19 by Chris Kolakowski, Wisconsin Veterans Museum Director. The Wisconsin Veterans Museum is an educational activity of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. Kolakowski’s latest book is “Last Stand on Bataan.”
Kolakowski told how military service ripples in families beyond an individual service member. Their research finds many children emulating their parent’s example over the past century. Sometimes this legacy of service extends into grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Just as some families run a commercial enterprise over generations, for others the “family business” is the U.S. military.
Chris overviewed some facts about the museum: There are over 26,000 artifacts in the collection; there are over 2,000 cubic feet of archives; there are over 2,600 interviews in the oral history collection; and they have over 150,000 photographs. Many members may not be aware of so many events having a Wisconsin connection, so Chris encourages members to visit the museum to view these collections. The museum typically has over 90,000 visitors each year.
The museum has been holding events virtually and in-person including Curators Conversations twice a month, movie night, and they also hold events for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
Here is a link to the museum’s website stories: https://wisvetsmuseum.pastperfectonline.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&search_criteria=family&searchButton=Search
Our thanks to Chris Kolakowski for his presentation this week and to Valerie Renk for preparing this review article. If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/XjWRO5oYllk.
A few years ago, I stopped in the Museum to see if they had any information on my great grandfather who was in Civil War-stationed at Camp Randall. The museum produced his entire Certificate of Battle on computer—now framed and hanging on our wall. He told me today that service will be available again when Museum reopens.