History Hall Exhibit Space

Judy Borke poses with a scythe on loan for one of three 8-foot wide by 9-foot tall exhibit spaces at the new Waunakee Public Library’s History Hall. Borke is the curator of these rotating exhibits and is seeking artifacts to portray early life in Waunakee.

When the new Waunakee Public Library opens in August, it will feature a History Hall documenting Waunakee’s past.

Included will be a permanent 17-foot exhibit with photographs and text telling a general history of Waunakee’s first 100 years.

But three exhibit cases will offer a more in-depth look into certain parts of Waunakee’s history with artifacts from the time. Tasked with creating these exhibits is the curator, Judy Borke, a native of Westport who has researched local history. Borke is embarking on an ongoing quest for historical photographs and artifacts that area residents would like to loan for these exhibits to be rotated three times per year.

Her first three subjects will focus on railroading, farming and early schooling in the area, she said. The exhibit spaces are 8 feet wide and 9 feet tall, and Borke is looking to fill these with items that depict the history.

For the farming theme, she’s seeking items used prior the advent of tractors, Borke said. As for education, items from the days when rural one-room school houses were still in use are needed.

For instance, she envisions the schoolhouse desks once used as useful for the display.

“The idea is being able to borrow items that people might have,” Borke said

These also could be mail bags once used when the railroad station served as a postal station.

“Even if people don’t have things, if they could refer me to people who might have them,” Borke said, adding that pictures, too would be welcome. Those who lend their items could be recognized, she said.

“Even if they don’t have anything physical, if they know information about these items, they could provide an oral history,” Borke added

While Borke said she’d prefer items that pertain to the Waunakee area, some more universal artifacts, such as the roll-down maps once used in rural school houses, could also work in the exhibits, she said.

“What I’d love to find is a little bottle that held the goiter pills they used to distribute,” she said, explaining that these supplements were chocolate flavored and some students thought of them as a treat.

Borke is also envisioning future exhibits that could delve into the history of Waunakee’s parks, its fire department or early commerce.

“There’s so many,” she said, adding that churches in the area, the airport or military service could also be subjects for the rotating exhibits.

Borke is hoping to receive any artifacts or photographs by early July to set up the exhibits by the August opening of the library.

Anyone who has items to loan for it can contact Borke at (608) 764-2063.

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