Explore Mammoths, Fossils, And The Arts At The Kenosha Public Museum

The Kenosha Public Museum is an impressive FREE museum

On a recent visit to Kenosha Wisconsin I spent some time exploring this natural science and fine and decorative arts museum.  The museum has on a display an impressive array of over 80,000 total items in it’s collection.

The first floor features an incredible exhibit called the Wisconsin Story and tells the timeline of our ecosystem.  You can see fossils, coral reefs, and how the animals evolved.  Also you can see and read about the ice age and what happened when the glaciers melted.  Also on display on the first floor is the lives of the Native Americans in each season with some very impressive life like displays.  When I visited the Civil War Museum in Kenosha, I was most impressed with the life like displays of life before, during, and after the war and these displays are equally impressive.


Learn about the two Mammoth’s found in Kenosha County!

Perhaps the highlight of the museum is the incredible story of the two mammoths found right here in Kenosha County. Here is where I spent the most time. I’m fascinated with the story of these huge creatures that once roamed our earth and how archaeologists can tell so much about our past by discovering and analyzing the bones of these creatures. Beginning in 1964 when the Schaefer (it’s name comes from the name of the farmer whose land this first one was discovered) mammoth was first discovered in a farm field in the Paris (I love how Paris winds it’s way into so many of my posts!!) Township in Kenosha County, to the painstaking 18 month ordeal of discovering and excavating the  remains of the Schaefer mammoth in 1992. You can see a replica of the excavation site at the museum,.

About a year after the first mammoth was excavated, work began on digging up another mammoth that was discovered by a neighbor of Mr. Scheafer’s, Mr Hebior. At 90% the Hebior mammoth is the most complete and also the largest mammoth ever excavated. The life size replica of the Hebior mammoth is on display at the museum and is just incredible to view knowing this was found just a few miles from the museum! Cut marks show evidence that both mammoths were butchered by humans. What is most fascinating though, is the fact that because of the age of these bones, these sites are one of the oldest of human habitation in the Americas.

Viewing fine and decorative art on the second floor

Once you have taken in all that history downstairs, it’s time to head upstairs and absorb the beauty and talent from some fine artist from history, such as Picasso and Dali, as well as artists from the present day.  These exhibits frequently change for special exhibitions, so it’s always worth another visit!

As much as I loves seeing the mammoths downstairs, I LOVED taking in the art upstairs.  I have a soft spot for art, especially paintings, so I felt fortunate that during my visit that I was able to see the Transparent Watercolor Exhibit. This 41st annual exhibition contained 80 works.  Happily I was there on a Tuesday and pretty much had the room to myself except for a few visitors.  I really took my time looking at each piece. Each piece was beautiful, but there were a few that really caught my eye! Yes, just throw me in a room full of art and I am content to just contemplate the talent that these artists have, that I never will!

Hands on learning for everyone

The hands on Field Station and Activity Center is a great place for the kids to explore the arts and sciences. The museum also offers many events and classes throughout the year for children and adults. You can also schedule a tour, either an adult tour, or for a school group.

The Kenosha Public Museum is a great way to spend a few hours and when you combine that with the Civil War Museum and the Dinosaur Discovery Museum, you can make a whole day of it.  While your at it, take a 20 minute ride on the trolley through downtown Kenosha and walk along the lakefront and check out the sculptures.  There are so many things to discover in Kenosha.  I can honestly say that Kenosha has become one of my favorite places in Wisconsin!  If you have yet to spend time here, you must check it out!!


I want to thank Visit Kenosha for the sponsored tour of Kenosha.  As always even with a sponsored post, I will always give my honest opinion of a place I visit.

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