Permanent Exhibitions

Sports & Recreation

New Exhibition will share Oshkosh’s long Sporting History

The former Logging & Lumbering gallery on the second floor of the Oshkosh Public Museum is temporarily closed for construction of a new, dynamic Sports & Recreation exhibition, a frequently requested topic.

Sports & Recreation will be a lively display of sporting and leisure artifacts and historic photographs of local people participating in these fun activities. Construction is expected to be completed Labor Day Weekend, 2022. 

Oshkosh has a rich and diverse sporting heritage and has produced some of the best sporting teams and athletes in the state. This area also has a unique tradition of water and ice related leisure activities because of its connection to the vast Lake Winnebago watershed.

Fishing and sturgeon spearing, swimming and boating, and world-class sailing in winter and summer are some prime examples of popular activities enjoyed throughout the years. In addition, here are just a few of the multitude of Oshkosh’s sporting legends.

  • The Oshkosh All-Stars, founded in 1929, may have been the world’s best basketball team from 1939-1943.
  • The Oshkosh Amateurs entered professional baseball in 1886-1887 with William “Dummy” Hoy helping lead the team to the 1887 championship.
  • Arlie Mucks was an Oshkosh star high school football player and he set a world record in 1912 for the twelve pound shot at 55’ 9” earning him a berth on the U.S. Olympics team that year.
  • Maddy Horn developed her skills on Oshkosh’s ice rinks and became the number one women’s speed skater in the U.S., qualifying for the 1940 Olympics.
  • Oshkosh was also fortunate to foster two national golf champions during the 1920s – Johnny Revolta and Bernice Wall.

Logging & Lumbering was installed in 1997 to explore the history behind the 19th century lumber boom that transformed this city and gave Oshkosh the nickname “Sawdust City.” It will be dismantled and the artifacts returned to storage, including the scale model of the Paine Lumber Company. Twenty-two years of constant light is fading the buildings on the model and other objects. In order to mitigate further damage and preserve these treasures for future generations, they need to be taken off display.

Before the model is returned to storage, it will be digitized so it can live on in a new interactive format in the next big exhibition, Deep Roots, Growing City. Conceptual planning for this next phase of renovations begins this year, with anticipated completion by 2024. The digital model, and more in-depth stories on Oshkosh’s lumbering era, will be depicted using film, photos, and unique artifacts from our expansive collection. Visitors will be able to experience the vastness of the industry that not only revolutionized the community, but also helped build the nation.