Art, history and other museums in Wisconsin offer ongoing opportunities to learn and appreciate the world and home. Consider this sampling of special exhibits that will carry us into the new year.
“Changing Currents: Reinventing the Chippewa Valley” addresses at least 350 years of local history through a diverse array of local figures (including a lumberjack, fur trader, Ku Klux Klan fighter and Hmong refugee), interactive settings (Ojibwe wigwam, steamship and 1950s vacation cabin) and related activities.
Visitors also gain how-to advice about pursuing family research. This major regional history exhibit opens Dec. 7 at Chippewa Valley Museum, 1204 E. Half Moon Dr., Eau Claire. cvmuseum.com, 715-834-7871
“Neon: Darkness Electrified” showcases bits of nostalgia through 30 neon signs from the private collection of Jed Schleisner, owner of GloTube Custom Neon, Greenville, which makes, repairs and restores this type of signage. In the mix are Fox Valley and national business brands.
Add photos and explanations of how neon signage shows up in history and advertising. For children: an area to make neon-colored signs with rope lights or under a black light. The display stays up until autumn 2015 at History Museum at the Castle, 330 E. College Ave., Appleton. myhistorymuseum.org, 920-735-9370
“Alien Worlds and Androids” uses robots and outer space explorations to reveal unusual life within and beyond our own world. In the scientific search are nine research topics that include artificial intelligence, robot space explorers and the human microbiome (the body’s bacterial makeup).
NASA plays a role in what you see, and the overriding question is “Are We Alone?” The exhibit ends Jan. 11, 2015, at Milwaukee Public Museum, 800 W. Wells St., Milwaukee. mpm.edu, 414-278-2702
“Sheared Delights” assembles functional art and other fiber artworks to honor the many types of “sheep to shawl” efforts of weavers, knitters and others. Expect wool-hooked rugs, mittens to slippers, modern and vintage woolen quilts.
All are on display in a refurbished barn of an 1850s farmstead. The show ends Jan. 18, 2015, at Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts, N50 W5050 Portland Rd., Cedarburg. wiquiltmuseum.com, 262-546-0300
“Trivial Pursuit: A 50-State Adventure” uses the popular board game to teach geography, history and tourism to children in interactive ways. Something distinctive from each state – dog-sledding in Alaska, the Indy 500 in Indiana, Fenway Park in Massachusetts – turns into an interactive opportunity.
Hasbro Inc., the toy manufacturer, helps make this national exhibit tour happen. It ends Feb. 1 at Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, 939 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. bbcmkids.org, 414-390-5437
“50 Greatest National Geographic Photographs” presents often-exotic destinations as captivating art, thanks to the work of photographers for the nonprofit National Geographic Society, established in 1888.
Learn the stories behind these images that forever freeze little and significant moments of history and life. The photo show ends Feb. 22, 2015, at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, 700 N. 12th St., Wausau. lywam.org, 715-845-7010.