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Simpson Street Free Press

W. Jerome Frautschi Donates to new Wisconsin History Center

A new Wisconsin Historical Museum will replace the current museum on Capitol Square by 2027.

Philanthropist W. Jerome Frautschi recently established an additional $10 million fund, making his total donation to the project about $25 million.

Jerome Frautschi and his wife, Pleasant Rowland, are based in Madison and have a history of giving back to the city. They have donated millions to countless city projects, including the Madison Youth Arts Center, the UW Hospital, the Overture Center, Boys and Girls of Dane County, and many more.

Pleasant Rowland, an educator and businesswoman, founded the American Girl collection to encourage children to read about American history in a playful setting.

Based in Wisconsin, the Pleasant Rowland Foundation focuses on giving back to the arts and education. Long-time Simpson Street Free Press volunteer and friend of Pleasant Rowland, Jane Coleman, said, “Knowing Jerry and his family’s long history in our community, it’s especially meaningful that he so generously supported this project.”

Construction for the new five-story project will commence in the fall of 2024. One creative aspect of the building will be inspired by the discovery of two Native American dugout canoes in Lake Mendota. These relics date back thousands of years. A glass lobby will showcase a wooden staircase that imitates the sound of dugout canoes, which were made from hollowed-out trees.

“The Wisconsin History Center promises to be a vibrant hub of learning for the state of Wisconsin and one of the leading cultural experiences in the Midwest. I’m proud to support this project and excited to welcome this new addition to Madison’s growing cultural district,” said Frautschi.

Christian Overland, CEO and director of the Wisconsin Historical Society, announced about Frautschi that, “His belief in this project is an inspiration to all of us, and we look forward to delivering an exceptional building and experience that will make Wisconsin proud.”

Due to the generosity of its donors and supporters, the new and improved Wisconsin Historical Museum will be open to the public in a few years.

[Sources: Wisconsin State Journal; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

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