top of page

Current Exhibitions

Two of Clear Lake's Favorite Sons

nelson-army-1200-1024x576_edited.jpg

Gaylord Nelson: The Man from Clear Lake and Founder of Earth Day

Permanent Exhibit

Senator Gaylord Nelson was born and raised in Clear Lake. After graduating from college, he went on to law school in Madison. He was drafted into the United States Army, and after WWII became involved in politics. Gaylord read about “teach-ins” organized by college students and faculty to raise awareness on campus about the Vietnam War. He proposed the idea of an environmental teach-in, and within a few months the idea of Earth Day had become a nationwide grassroots movement. When the Associated Press and United Press picked up the story, it was quickly supported by millions of people.

A small notice in Time Magazine on October 10 notified millions of Americans about the teach-in. “Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson is convinced that the hottest growth stick in U.S. protest is conservation,” the article titled “American the Befouled” began. “In fact, he has been toiling to make the nation’s campuses erupt next spring — in a giant, peaceful teach-in about environmental evils.”

On April 22, 1970, Gaylord Nelson organized the first environmental "teach in" which became known as Earth Day. More than 50 years later, Earth Day is a worldwide movement.

Growing Up in Clear Lake

Poverty and pollution marred the Nelson’s hometown of Clear Lake. The region’s vast white pine forest fell under the axes of Nelson’s grandparents’ generation, leaving a tattered landscape vulnerable to fire and repellent to capital investment.

The Great Depression brought itinerant laborers to the Nelsons’ doorstep and stirred up radicalism in the county’s farmers, some of whom went on strike in 1933, closing down the local creamery. The Works Progress Administration launched projects in the region, building roads, draining wetlands, and constructing the town’s first sewer system.

Nelson took a job shoveling stone on a WPA crew after graduating from Clear Lake High School in 1934, and he would later regret the destruction of natural habitats and degradation of fresh water he helped bring about in the name of progress.

According to The Man from Clear Lake, Nelson believed that everyone in the world deserved a place as beautiful as Clear Lake, where as a young boy his love for nature was cultivated.

Excerpts from NelsonEarthDay.net

Burleigh Grimes: MLB's Last Legal Spitballer

Permanent Exhibit

Burleigh Arland Grimes was born in 1893 in then-unincorporated area of Emerald, Wisconsin, just south of Clear Lake. He played professional baseball and was inducted in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964.

Field of Dreams

Grimes had a total of 36 Major League teammates, including legends Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, who would later be elected to the Hall of Fame. No other Hall of Famer had more Hall of Fame teammates than Grimes.

Hall of Fame teammates*:

  • 1916 Pittsburgh Pirates: Honus Wagner, Max Carey

  • 1917 Pittsburgh Pirates: High Pockets Kelly

  • 1918 Brooklyn Robins: Rube Marquardt, Zack Wheat

  • 1922 Brooklyn Robins: Dazzy Vance

  • 1926 Brooklyn Robins: Rabbit Maranville

  • 1927 New York Giants: Rogers Hornsby, Mel Ott, Edd Roush, Travis Jackson, Bill Terry

  • 1928 Pittsburgh Pirates: Pie Traynor, Paul Waner

  • 1930 Boston Braves: George Sisler

  • 1930 St. Louis Cardinals: Dizzy Dean, Frankie Frisch, Jesse Haines, Jim Bottomley, Chick Hafey

  • 1932 Chicago Cubs: Gabby Hartnett, Kiki Cuyler, Billy Herman

  • 1933 St. Louis Cardinals: Leo Durocher, Joe Medwick

  • 1934 New York Yankees: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bill Dickey, Lefty Gomez, Tony Lazzeri, Red Ruffing, Earle Combs

  • 1934 Pittsburgh Pirates: Arky Vaughan, Freddie Lindstrom, Waite Hoyt, Lloyd Waner

Grimes played on several National League Baseball teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Boston Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, and the New York Yankees. His nickname was Ol' Stubblebeard because of his habit of not shaving on game day.

When he retired in 1934, he was the last player allowed to legally throw a spitball which had been outlawed in 1920. After retiring, he managed the Brooklyn Dodgers and Toronto Maple Leafs, and was a scout for the New York Yankees, Oakland "As" Athletics and the Baltimore Orioles.

*For brevity, only the first occurrence is listed.

Sources: Baseball Hall of FameReddit, Wikipedia

Burleigh_Grimes.jpg

More Exhibitions

Something For Everyone

IMG_8058.jpg

Historic Main Street

Permanent Exhibit

Several historical storefront facades line the walls of the museum's main floor. Inside, you will be transported back in time to peruse an old-time mercantile general store, drug store apothecary, dentist, barbershop, vintage bank, and doctor's office -- among others. 

Smithsonian: Between Fences

Permanent Exhibit

Located next door at the at the Clear Lake Area Community Center (CLACC), the Smithsonian exhibition called, "Between Fences" looked at the impact of land use and fences in the history of this country. It was originally displayed from April 12 to May 24, 2008, when CLACC, in collaboration with the Clear Lake Public Library and the Clear Lake Museum, was selected by the Wisconsin Humanities Council as a host location. The entire community pitched in for this six-week long event. The Lions Club hosted a Rib Fest. There was a barn dance featuring local band, Duck for the Oyster. The Clear Lake Community Theater performed Oklahoma! There were book discussions and an appearance by award-winning Wisconsin historical author, Jerry Apps. Additionally, a visit by the Surly Surveyor, Rob Nurre, a character from the pages of historic field notebooks who spoke about Wisconsin’s first public land survey and the Lewis and Clark expedition. There were exhibits by the Polk County Master Gardeners, a teen poetry reading, music featuring the Indianhead Barbershop Chorus, and much more. The Midwestern Regional Wisconsin Photographic History Project featured an impressive display of pictures comparing the changes in local land use from 200 years ago to date. Additionally, the Clear Lake Junior/Senior High created a display called "Between Fences: Structural Change in Clear Lake" which featured a local home, business or landmark showing changes since the creation of the community of Clear Lake. 

Art Gallery

The Month's Events

May 2024
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
29
30
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
6:30 PM
2024 Bandstand Concert (May 23)
+1 more
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
bottom of page