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Shullsburgs Badger Mine & Museum gears up for Memorial Day opening
museum model
Mary Bradley poses next to the working model of the mine in the Badger Mine & Museum. Bradley and her husband, Michael, have been working as volunteer curators for the museum since last May. -Photo by Tallitha Reese

The Badger Mine & Museum has gone through several changes in the almost year since volunteer curators Mary and Michael Bradley took over the museum’s operation.
    One big project was going through the many artifacts housed in the museum and organizing and decluttering the collection, with help from museum professionals from the Madison Historical Society and Platteville.

Mary said they hope to have a permanent collection on display in the Badger Museum, with some changing exhibits that can be switched out, so that people can enjoy the museum over and over again with new information to learn each time they visit.

“We’re trying to display everything to its best advantage and put together a storyline within the displays,” explained Mary. “We start with the early settlement of the area and the Black Hawk war and move into mining development and its progression.”

Tours will be available of both the museum and the mine for interested parties, with a separate tour that is geared specifically towards children.

“We really want this place to be family friendly and available to both adults and children from ages of around four or five all the way through high school,” said Mary.

Going off of that, the Bradleys have also been working on some summer programming for kids with the city’s park and recreation department. There will be a day camp for Shullsburg area children entering grades 3, 4 or 5.

In addition to organizing the artifacts and developing children’s programming, the Bradley’s have been working on updating the technology aspect of the museum. Recently the museum acquired wireless internet access as well as credit card payment capabilities and a Facebook page.

But the biggest project by far on the technology front has been the development of the museum’s website, which includes a database of local Shullsburg pioneers and citizens and detailed information about them, taken from census information from 1850 and 1860.

The website, which can be found at, is still under construction, with plans to be completed next month, but it is currently up and active while the finishing touches are being made.

The website has been designed to be interactive to the public, with places where visitors can upload photos or stories from their own historical knowledge and collections.

The website was designed and constructed by Janet Weigel’s class of web and software developers from Southwest Technical College as a class project at no charge to the museum.

“We really hope that people can get excited about the local history and really interact with and contribute to the website and the museum itself,” said Mary. “We want to be a resource center for historical facts where people can come to learn and appreciate the many interesting historical stories.”

Mary said they hope to have a computer available to the public, where visitors can do research on local history.

This year will also be the museum’s 50th birthday, which will be celebrated with cake available on Memorial Day, the date of the museum’s grand opening.  A new stretched canvas photo made for the museum will also be unveiled.