Wisconsin Veterans Museum

Photograph courtesy of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum

The stuffed bald eagle on display at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum — a replica of “Old Abe,” the mascot of the 8th Wisconsin Infantry in the Civil War — could be easily passed on a tour of the museum’s cavernous exhibits.

But stop to hear the story of the colonel that led those infantry troops with which Old Abe flew, and Wisconsin’s military and racial history is illuminated in a new way.

John Jefferson was the name of that colonel. His name probably sounds familiar. That’s because he is Thomas Jefferson’s grandson, though at the time Jefferson kept it a secret, said Kevin Hampton, the museum’s curator of history.

…That story is one among many animating the artifacts and exhibits on display at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, 30 W. Mifflin St., owned and operated through the state Department of Veterans Affairs. Storytelling is a cornerstone of its mission, according to the museum’s director, Chris Kolakowski, who was hired in January 2020. 

Read the full article here.

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