UWM Center for Nursing History lends artifacts to Kohler art museum

Several World War I artifacts from UWM Center for Nursing History are part of a new exhibit at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan.

The exhibit, “Apartment 4,” is an immersive narrative art installation by German artist Iris Haussler. Haussler is an internationally renowned artist who has had art installations in Austria, Germany, Italy and Canada. The Kohler exhibit opened June 23.

Laurie Glass leans against a display case in the nursing museum.
Laurie K. Glass has been the director of UWM Center for Nursing History since it began in 1980 at Cunningham Hall. (UWM Photo/Elora Hennessey)

“Apartment 4” is about a fictional World War I nurse named Florence Hasard, who moves to Milwaukee in the 1940s to heal from her war-related trauma and become an artist. Visitors will walk through the exhibit, seeing what Hasard’s apartment would have looked like while she lived in Milwaukee. “Apartment 4” follows up on an exhibit, “The Tale of Two,” at the Kohler center that introduced the Hasard character. That exhibit opened in February and runs through Aug. 19.

“Nursing was a huge part of World War I, World War II, Vietnam,” said Laurie K. Glass, director of the UWM nursing museum.

The Chipstone Foundation, which preserves and promotes American material cultural artifacts from the 17th to 20th centurys, collaborated with the John Michael Kohler Arts Center to help make the exhibit historically accurate. The foundation found relevant artifacts at the UWM Center for Nursing History, including a nursing cap, nursing cape, Red Cross armband, pocket syringe case and nursing-related books.

A display case includes photos, nurse clothing and other items.
A display case at the UWM Center for Nursing History shows items that Ada Garvey would have used. Garvey was a nurse from Wisconsin who was stationed in France in World War I. (UWM Photo/Elora Hennessey)

The collection at the UWM Center for Nursing History is extensive, including uniforms, scrapbooks, tools of nursing and photographs from five now-closed Milwaukee hospital schools of nursing. UW-Madison School of Nursing donated its historical artifact collection to the center in 2016, doubling the size of the UWM collection.

The UWM museum’s  collection includes more than seven racks of nursing uniforms from 1895 through the Vietnam War era.

The Center for Nursing History frequently assists researchers, as well as provide teaching opportunities for UWM students, faculty and staff, and the surrounding community. This is the first time that the center has lent artifacts to an art museum but has frequently donated or lent materials to other history museums or organizations.

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