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Weis Earth Science Museum offers a glimpse of Wisconsin's rich history

The Weis Earth Science Museum in Menasha offers a glimpse of the state's rich history.
People of all ages have the opportunity to walk through Wisconsin's rich history.
Posted at 4:38 AM, Sep 27, 2023

MENASHA (NBC 26) — People of all ages have the opportunity to learn more about the region's rich history by visiting the Weis Earth Science Museum in Menasha.

You and your family can walk through the museum in about 30 minutes to understand more about the surrounding area.

Museum Director Dr. Joseph Frederickson is an expert on the region's collection of rocks, crystals and assorted fossils.

If you have any questions, he can share more about the minerals that have been here for centuries and other fragments that have shown up from far away.

"You can actually see what that meteorite feels like. Now, what's the first thing you notice about it," Dr. Frederickson asked.

"It's heavy," Mac replied.

Dr. Frederickson said the museum offers an in-depth look at our region's past that's easy to understand.

"They come in with their enthusiasm and get to teach them something. They get to take a fossil and put it in their hands, and tell them they're holding a triceratops vertabra," Dr. Frederickson said.

"You can see a picture of a T-Rex skeleton online, but to actually see how big it is, and to see it with your own eyes, there's nothing like it," Dr. Frederickson said.

That includes an idea of what the area looked like before dinosaurs roamed the region.

"There's evidence of volcanoes right here in the state of Wisconsin," Dr. Frederickson said.

When you stand in front of this screen and stomp your feet, it measures your vibrations. Seismographs are important to keep people safe.

"They know there's evidence of those in the state of Hawaii, but maybe not so much about in their own backyard," Dr. Frederickson said.

A few short steps from learning more about the land, you can fast-forward a few million years and immerse yourself in Wisconsin's mining history. It's narrow and might be hard to see, but walking through this life-like lead mine offers a glimpse of working conditions for Wisconsin miners in the early 19th Century.

"It's the greatest gift of this job is to be able to connect directly with children as young as two years old," Dr. Frederickson said.

"Those are things that stay with kids. I had those exact same experiences when I was growing up, and that's what made me want to become a museum director," Dr. Frederickson said.

Dr. Frederickson said they'll be unveiling a new exhibit next year that focuses on dinosaur imagery through toys.