Bike Fun Report: Tiny Museum Ride

This afternoon, 20 Poky Pedalers appreciated a more sophisticated aspect of Bike Fun on the Tiny Museum Ride. A warm and breezy afternoon of bicycling, 8 miles in all, provided a pleasant backdrop for our visits to three of Stevens Point’s many tiny museums.

schmeeckle pic

Poky Pedalers enjoying the Tiny Museum Ride

Our first museum was the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame. Located in the Schmeeckle Reserve Visitor Center, the Hall of Fame was created in 1982 to ensure the continuing knowledge and practice of the conservation ethic by engaging in educational, scientific, literary, historical, and charitable pursuits. Eighty-three people have been inducted to date into the Hall of Fame. On our visit, brief biographies of a few of the inductees were shared. Poky Pedalers also explored the exhibits on the history of conservation and browsed the adjoining gift shop.

synagogue pic

Bike Fun at the Synagogue Museum, run by the Portage County Historical Society

The second museum we visited was the Synagogue Museum on Water Street. This is one of the museums maintained by the Portage County Historical Society. Mark Seiler of the PCHS was kind enough to speak to us about the history of the building. He provided interesting context about the Jewish community that lived in Stevens Point and worshipped at the synagogue during much of the early-to-mid 20th century. He also showed us some of the other artifacts on display memorializing the Jewish community’s contributions to civic life in Stevens Point.

Next, we rode to the Noel Fine Arts Building on the UWSP campus. Climbing to the second floor, we reached our final museum: the Dorothy and Jacque Vallier collection of early American pressed glass goblets. Caren Heft, the Director of the Carlsten Art Gallery, was generous enough to meet our group of Poky Pedalers to inform us about this collection of 1200 pressed glass goblets that the Valliers generously donated to the university in 1984.

goblet pic

A fraction of the cases on display filled with early American pressed glass goblets from the collection

This collection is arguably the premier pressed glass goblet collection in the United States. The shapes and patterns of these goblets are diverse: some are artistic, others are whimsical, and yet more are commemorative of contemporaneous people, places, and events. After learning some of the history of pressed glass goblets, we explored the many cases of goblets on display.

Poky Pedalers enjoyed a splendid afternoon of Bike Fun touring these tiny museums that covered a wide range of topics. I want to thank both Mark Seiler and Caren Heft for taking the time to enrich our Bike Fun by sharing their knowledge and perspectives.

The next Poky Pedal will be in August. Although summer seems to be moving along quickly, there is still lots of Bike Fun to share with PPSP through October. Check out the Upcoming Poky Pedals page and the 2014 Bike Fun Calendar to find out about all these Poky Pedals.

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