Museum to present Geniuses of Oshkosh

Mears Art Contest state level place-winning artwork also on display in July

A common definition of genius is a person who has an exceptional natural capacity of intellect, especially as shown in creative and original work in the areas of science, art and music. Oshkosh was a community that embraced and encouraged artists and inventors of all kinds, from innovative engineers to nationally recognized artists.

The Oshkosh Public Museum will present Geniuses of Oshkosh this summer to commemorate the 100th anniversary since the unfortunate passing of well-known sculptor Helen Farnsworth Mears, one of America’s most promising artists. Artifacts and images from the Museum’s collections, and on loan from museums and collectors, will introduce visitors to Mears and other geniuses who found Oshkosh the perfect location to foster their creativity.

Who are these geniuses? One was a young mechanic who built a submarine in Oshkosh, and performed the test run on the Fox River right down the middle of town. Another was a doctor who came to the area in 1873 and revolutionized opinions concerning mental health care. Two local photographers who pioneered different methods that forever changed how images are viewed will also be introduced, along with a charismatic musical talent who was drawn to this “real live wire town” in the early 1900s.

Geniuses of Oshkosh will be on view at the Oshkosh Public Museum, 1331 Algoma Boulevard, from July 2 to October 16. To augment this summer exhibit, during the month of July the Museum will also display the state level place-winning artwork of the annual Helen Farnsworth Mears Art Contest, sponsored by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs-Wisconsin.

Regular hours at the Oshkosh Public Museum are Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 4:30 pm. For more information about the Museum’s programming events and exciting exhibits, visit, call 920.236.5799 or email

About the Oshkosh Public Museum

The Oshkosh Public Museum is a regional history museum, nationally accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Housed in the historic Sawyer home since 1924, the Museum is entrusted with the care of approximately 250,000 artifacts and historical documents representing all aspects of the region’s people and heritage. The Museum is dedicated to excellence in preservation of historical collections strongly focused around the Fox River and the extensive Winnebago watershed; interactively communicating the story of Oshkosh and the Lake Winnebago region through well-researched, quality exhibitions, programs and publications; and engaging guests in ways that inspire discovery. For admission, hours and more information about the Museum’s exciting exhibits and events, visit, call 920.236.5799 or email

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