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The Loop

Stay in The Loop. Find out what's
happening in the Fox Valley Region
through the Community Foundation.

Museums capture the rich history of our Fox Valley communities!

History Museum at the Castle, Appleton, Wisconsin. Photo by Graham Washatka –

Many of our donors are passionate about history and supporting museums and historical societies in their communities and beyond, and we manage the donors’ funds at the Community Foundation to help preserve these historical gems.

You may want to visit a few and learn about our treasures of the past.

You might be familiar with some of the more well-known museums, but there are many more to explore! Here are two to add to your adventure list:

Did you know:

New London’s Thern Farm goes back to 1891 when the farmhouse was built as a dining hall for the New London City Fair. Sandra Fuller, the New London woman whose family owned the property for more than 100 years, donated her farm at the intersection of State 54 and U.S. 45 to the New London Heritage Historical Society through her estate.

A financial gift also outlined in her estate plan will assure the group has the resources to maintain it and support programming envisioned by Sandra, who died of cancer July 4, 2015, at age 70. The historical society used the gift to create the Sandra L. Fuller Thern Homestead Fund at the Community Foundation.

Courtesy of the FWD “Four Wheel Drive” Seagrave Museum & Vehicles Museum

The new addition of Clintonville’s FWD (Four Wheel Drive) Seagrave Museum & Vehicles, until recently, was a factory. The first four-wheel drive, nicknamed The Battleship, was designed, built, and tested by inventors Otto Zachow and William Besserdich in a small machine shop. The former Topp-Stewart Tractor Company, which later became the Atlas Conveyor Company, at 325 Fifteenth Street, has transitioned into the FWD Seagrave Museum & Vehicles. The museum houses more than 60 historic vehicles.

A grant of $2,000 from the Community Heroes Award Fund within the Clintonville Area Foundation, one of our five regional affiliate partners, supported unrestricted need for the FWD Seagrave Museum. The grant was generously directed to the museum by the 2020 Community Hero, Terry Lorge. The purpose of the Community Heroes Award Fund is to honor individuals or organizations for their volunteer service to the greater Clintonville area. Award recipients may direct a grant from the fund to a nonprofit of their choice.

History Comes Alive!

Here are a few of the museums and historical societies that receive grant support from funds with the Community Foundation:

Appleton Historical Society
Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass, Neenah
Boulder Junction Historical Society
Calumet County Historical Society
Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum, Stevens Point
Chippewa Valley Museum, Eau Claire
Circus World Museum, Baraboo
Clintonville Area Historical Society
Door County Maritime Museum, Sturgeon Bay
Fox Valley Wildlife Museum, Appleton
FWD (Four Wheel Drive) Museum, Clintonville
Charles A. Grignon Mansion
Hearthstone Historic House Museum
History Museum at the Castle, Appleton
Kaukauna Area Historical Society
Madison Children’s Museum
Menasha Historical Society
Military Veterans Museum, Oshkosh
Miller Art Museum, Sturgeon Bay
Milwaukee Art Museum
Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend
National Railroad Museum, Green Bay
Neenah Historical Society
Neville Public Museum, Green Bay
New London Public Museum
Oshkosh Public Museum
Outagamie County Historical Society
Shawano Historical Society
Thern Farm, New London
Weis Earth Science Museum, Appleton
Wisconsin Historical Society
Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts, Cedarburg

(Top photo courtesy Neenah Historical Society)

Interested in exploring a family fund? We have a variety of flexible fund options. Check them out here.





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