Free Press Reporters Journey Through Layers of Japanese Culture at the Chazen’s “Samurai: The Way of the Warrior” Exhibit

by Hugo Gonzalez Koop, age 17 and Sharon Ruiz, age 14

Rulers of Japan for almost 700 years, the Samurai warriors established an impressive legacy, one that continues to astound many to this day. Recently, SSFP staff and students had the opportunity to delve into the fascinating history of Samurai warriors at the Chazen Museum of Art’s stunning “Samurai: The Way of the Warrior” exhibit.

Supported in part by the Wisconsin Arts Board, the State of Wisconsin, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Kikkoman Foods Foundation, Inc., the exhibit is one we anticipated for weeks. Organized by Contemporanea Progetti SRL with the Museo Stibbert, Florence, Italy, it boasts a collection of more than 90 items from important collections of Japanese arms and armor from areas surrounding Japan. [read more]

In Storage at the Driftless Historium & Mount Horeb Area Historical Society: The Telephone Through the Ages

by Cristian Cruz, age 15 and Valeria Moreno Lopez, age 10

In the 21st century, the world is at our fingertips. Smartphones provide the answers to any question imaginable in just a few seconds. These pocket-sized devices also allow users to connect with others almost anytime, anywhere. Yet while we may take them for granted, smartphones didn’t always exist: inventors worked through decades of design to bring us the modern phone we have today.

This is exactly what Simpson Street Free Press students learned while at the Driftless Historium & Mount Horeb Area Historical Society. On a tour of the fantastic new Historium, our guide Johnna Buysse showed us the museum’s main storage space, which sits a floor above its main exhibits. [read more]

Simpson Street Students Explore Decades of Local History at the New Driftless Historium & Mount Horeb Area Historical Society

by Jospeha Da Costa, age 12 and Abigail Luna, age 15

We met at our South Towne newsroom early one Wednesday morning—most of us with droopy eyes and tired faces. It was early, but we were excited for the day’s adventure: we were headed westward toward Mount Horeb to visit the village’s new Driftless Historium & Mount Horeb Area Historical Society.

The Driftless Historium is kind of new. It opened on June 3, 2017. Located in the heart of Mt. Horeb, the space has a served a number of purposes over the years, from bowling alley to restaurant and hardware store to hotel. Today, it is a unique cultural destination with exhibits that explore the history of Mt. Horeb and surrounding areas of western Dane County. [read more]

Henry Vilas Zoo’s Wisconsin Heritage Exhibit Boasts Three Badgers, State Pride

by Kadjata Bah, age 12

A new exhibit recently opened to the public at Henry Vilas Zoo. The exhibit celebrates Wisconsin history and the creatures who are the face behind it all—badgers.

Hoping to celebrate our state and its rich culture, Dane County officials, Henry Vilas Zoo, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison sought to raise funds to build a better home for the zoo’s badgers. Fundraising efforts ultimately collected the required $650,000 to build what is now the Wisconsin Heritage Exhibit, which replaced the original exhibit that was first built in the 1990s. George and Pam Hamel of California-based Hamel Family Wines, two UW alums themselves, donated $125,000 to the project too. [read more]

Recent Wisconsin Museum Series Articles


In the 21st century, the world is at our fingertips. Smartphones provide the answers to any question imaginable in just a few seconds. These pocket-sized devices also allow users to connect with others almost anytime, anywhere. Yet while we may take them for granted, smartphones didn’t always exist: inventors worked through decades of design to bring us the modern phone we have today. [read more...]
Rulers of Japan for almost 700 years, the Samurai warriors established an impressive legacy, one that continues to astound many to this day. Recently, SSFP staff and students had the opportunity to delve into the fascinating history of Samurai warriors at the Chazen Museum of Art’s stunning “Samurai: The Way of the Warrior” exhibit. [read more...]
A new exhibit recently opened to the public at Henry Vilas Zoo. The exhibit celebrates Wisconsin history and the creatures who are the face behind it all—badgers. [read more...]
We met at our South Towne newsroom early one Wednesday morning—most of us with droopy eyes and tired faces. It was early, but we were excited for the day’s adventure: we were headed westward toward Mount Horeb to visit the village’s new Driftless Historium & Mount Horeb Area Historical Society. [read more...]
Imagine a wall. On it is painted a destructive sea with a mountainous tree in the middle. Grimy pollution litters the tree’s roots. Also featured are small white human and animal silhouettes. Elegant flowers gild treetops. Behind these designs are two worlds—human and natural—that depict antagonistic relationships. This wall, these images are more than just fantasy; in fact, this is a real mural that Japanese artist Ikeda Manabu has worked on for the past three years at the Chazen Museum of Art. [read more...]
Recently, some of SSFP's teen editors including Enjoyiana, Diamond, Dija, Sylvan, Jackie, and Leila gathered at the Chazen Museum of Art to view an exhibit on 20th Century sculpture. Our wonderful volunteer editor Jane Coleman planned the outing. Mary Brennan, a friend of the Free Press, greeted us as we entered; an experienced docent, Mary acted as our guide. As we walked up the stairs to the exhibit, Mary provided us with a little background. [read more...]
Katrin Brendemuehl, age 13 and Callan Bird Bear, age 12 The gorgeous artwork crafted by Native American tribes known as beadwork can be as intricate as the wings of a dragonfly. The allure of colorful glass beads against a dark, rich fabric is enough to catch nearly anyone’s eye. This fall, the James Watrous Gallery, a gallery at the Overture Center with a focus on contemporary Wisconsin artists, features these culturally significant, powerful works. [read more...]
Recently, friend of the Free Press and valued volunteer, Jane Coleman, surprised a group of Free Press reporters with a field trip to the Japanese wood block exhibit at the Chazen Museum of Art. The group of us—including Diamond, Dija, James, Christy, Felicia, Ruthanne, and our editors Taylor and Aarushi—met at the South Towne newsroom where Jane gave us a briefing. Jane explained that Dr. Gene Phillips, professor of Japanese Art, had generously agreed to take us into the “floating world.” He would be acting as a docent, or a volunteer guide, for us. Excited, we grabbed our freshly sharpened pencils, notepads, and camera. We piled into two cars and crossed the isthmus. [read more...]
Fans of Shakespeare, buckle up! The first folio, a printed collection of William Shakespeare’s work dating back to 1623, is coming to Madison. [read more...]
Every state treasures a legend, a story on which its reputation is built. Pennsylvania has Big Foot, Kentucky has a “portal to hell,” and Wisconsin has…underwater pyramids? Legend states that at the bottom of Rock Lake, a fishing hole east of Madison in the town of Lake Mills, lies ancient pyramids, a 200-foot-long figure made of rock, and ruins. [read more...]
Bringing together over 60 local artists, Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM) hosted its third annual “Creating for a Cause” art fair earlier this month. [read more...]
Recently, Simpson Street Free Press reporters ventured out of the City of Madison to Hubertus, WI. Excited and a little nervous, we headed out of the office on a horseback riding mission. We were a little uncertain about the weather, but we were determined to have an unforgettable field trip. [read more...]
A small, once dirt-poor Mexican village now hosts one of the largest concentrations of modern artists in the world. In fact, for the 1,200 residents of Mata Ortiz, high-quality ceramics have become more than an expression of culture—they have become a way of life. [read more...]
During a recent tour of the newly expanded Aldo Leopold Nature Center, executive director Camille Zanoni shared some alarming data with Free Press student writers. Zanoni said that children spend only one percent of their time outside. This directly correlates with a rise in childhood obesity, depression, ADD/ADHD, and cardiovascular problems. [read more...]
When Free Press reporters decided to check out the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, I was thrilled. As a consistent museum goer, I am impressed by the Chazen’s vast art collection and recent building expansion. [read more...]
On a recent trip to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCa) a group of Simpson Street Free Press reporters, including me, visited the exhibit Los Grandes Del Arte Moderno Mexicano. This exhibit features seven accomplished Mexican artists who greatly influenced Mexican Modernism. The works of Diego Rivera, a famous muralist, particularly caught my attention. [read more...]
At 9 AM sharp on a sunny August morning, staff writers Selin, Rosalinda, Nancy, Patricia and I met with our editors Adaeze and Aarushi at the Free Press office. We were ready to hit the road to tour historic southwestern Wisconsin. [read more...]
Recently, Simpson Street Free Press writers took a trip to southwestern Wisconsin to visit historic sights. We wanted to see Stonefield Village in Cassville. Once there, we met Dale Moore who has worked there for 12 years. Mr. Moore was the perfect tour guide. [read more...]
On a hot August day, a team of Free Press reporters and I decided to visit the Platteville Mining Museum. When we entered the museum, a very friendly staff person greeted us and gave us a brief introduction to the museum and its history. [read more...]
One of our favorite museums opens again on Memorial Day. Last fall, fellow teen editor Taylor Kilgore and I had the opportunity to visit La Crosse. [read more...]
Recently, a group of Simpson Street Free Press reporters and I took a trip to the UW Madison’s L.R. Ingersoll Physics Museum located in Chamberlin Hall. The museum featured hands-on physics demonstrations that appeal to young and old audiences alike. The exhibits were fascinating, and really grabbed our attention. We knew right away that this was a story we wanted to cover. The experiments that take place here explain physics in a way that even a younger child can understand. It is a place of exploration and discovery. [read more...]
Recently, fellow reporters Rosalinda, Patricia, Alexis, Aarushi, Claire and I visited a museum rich in ancient fossils and animal artifacts. Unlike other museums, this one was located cozily between the kitchen and living room of David Wandel’s house. [read more...]
Cleopatra VII, the last pharaoh of Egypt, ruled a land that was powerful, glamorous, and full of life. It’s no wonder that Roman emperor Octavian wanted to steal Egypt for himself. [read more...]
Early on a Saturday Morning, fellow Free Press teen editor Annie Shao and I set out for the Milwaukee Public Museum. It was a nice day and this was a trip we were looking forward to very much. The exhibit we wanted to see is called, “Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt.” We loved it. The exhibit transported us back to Cleopatra’s world to fully understand her life and death. [read more...]
The Madison Children’s Museum recently received the 2011 National Medal for Museum and Library Services. It is the most prestigious award for libraries and museums, and is parallel to the Pulitzer Prize for journalists. This makes it a much-coveted honor. Each year, there are only five museums and five libraries honored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). [read more...]
The date was February 1, 1960. The place was Woolworth’s restaurant in Greensboro, North Carolina. It all started when four college freshmen, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair Jr, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond, entered the “whites only” Greensboro Woolworth’s and sat down at the lunch counter. They had no idea what they were getting themselves into. [read more...]
Simpson Street Free Press reporters love road trips. They’re fun, educational, and we often come back with great stories for our newspaper. One of our recent road trips brought us to another remarkable place. When we got there, we found ourselves up-close and personal with a slice of Wisconsin’s past. [read more...]
When we think of schools today, we generally think of large buildings filled with hundreds of students. On a recent visit to a one-room school house, we were reminded there was a time when schools were not so populous. We spent the day learning what it was like to attend the Old Halfway Prairie School House, a school that was founded in 1848. Now it’s a museum. Our gracious hosts were Darlene Grover, a former student and her teacher, Cleo Brockman. [read more...]
On a recent Saturday morning fellow Free Press writer Pallav Regmi and I, along with one of our editors, visited the Madison Children’s Museum. This museum is located in downtown Madison. At the museum, there are a variety of exhibits where visitors can learn, have fun, and interact with their families. [read more...]
At the Simpson Street Free Press, we always say it pay to explore. Books, science, history or space—it pays to explore. So after our recent trip to Mount Horeb to photograph trolls, we decided to head up highway 78 toward Black Earth and Cross Plains. [read more...]
We awoke early on a cool and misty morning. We wanted to get an early start and prepare for the events about to unfold. Pencils, check; notebooks, check; business cards, check; clipboards, check; bundle of our latest newspapers, check. We were ready. [read more...]
The city of Burlington, nestled in Southeastern Wisconsin, has been known as Chocolate City, U.S.A. for 44 years. In 1966, Nestle opened a factory in the city to supply the increasing demand for its products in the Midwest. The city quickly embraced its new company. It adopted the sweet new nickname along with a new city mascot, Morsel the Moose. [read more...]
In a recent readers’ poll conducted at www.simpsonstreetfreepress.org, our loyal audience decided they wanted us to visit a chocolate museum. So, we awoke bright and early one morning to begin our two-hour journey to the Chocolate Experience Museum in “Chocolate City, USA”: Burlington, Wisconsin. [read more...]
This summer the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art will host a new exhibit featuring artists from around Wisconsin. This exhibition, the 2010 Wisconsin Triennial, will be the twelfth time the museum has organized a survey of contemporary art from our state. [read more...]
The Wisconsin Historical Museum has been honoring Senator Gaylord Nelson. One current exhibit is entitled Gaylord Nelson and Earth Day: The Making of the Modern Environmental Movement. Through newspaper clippings, pictures, and stories, visitors are able to explore Nelson’s fascinating life and see how he became a leading figure in the fight against environmental and social injustice. [read more...]
For most students, the word “museum” invokes images of large, cold buildings with imposing paintings and a few ceramic sculptures. But reporters from the Simpson Street Free Press recently visited Dr. Evermor’s Sculpture Park and gained an entirely new perspective on museums and art. [read more...]