Sawyer Home and Grounds
As a residence, the house consisted of 35 rooms. In addition to the expansive public rooms of the first floor, the remaining three levels were all treated in similar detail and elegance. The second floor held six bedrooms, a sitting room, sewing room and numerous closets, as well as an expansive balcony. The third floor contained a ballroom and servants’ quarters. In the basement were a laundry, billiard room and wine cellar. The interior finish and doors of all rooms aside from the four large, first floor rooms was furnished by the Morgan Co. of Oshkosh. The home incorporated all the modern conveniences of the time and boasted access to all four floors by an electric Otis elevator. The entire home was wired for both electrical service and gas light, and Tiffany-designed lights glowed throughout the house. Many antique and valuable paintings, complemented by the Sawyers’ choice of furniture, made the atmosphere at once home-like and attractive.
Transitioning the Sawyer home from a residence to a museum required numerous modifications to convert living quarters into gallery, collections and staff work space. The lower level of the home now serves as general storage and staff workspace, although the billiard room retains much of its original finishing and mosaic floor tiles. The first floor of the building has remained largely intact, with much of the level retaining its original structure and finishing treatments, although the pantry and kitchen have been remodeled into Museum offices. Today, the second floor of the original Sawyer home houses the Museum’s Logging and Lumbering, Winnebago Room and temporary exhibit galleries. Interior walls have been removed from the living quarters to convert select rooms into open gallery space and false walls have been installed to cover windows and fireplaces. The third floor, which currently is largely used as collection storage space for textiles and fine art, underwent extensive reconstruction and restoration after the 1994 fire. The entire level was rebuilt with little original structure remaining intact and now includes three staff offices, a volunteer workplace and an artifact imaging station in addition to collection storage space.