The Skare Collection at the McFarland Historical Society

The Skare Collection at the McFarland Historical Society

From Wisconsin Historical Society’s Columns magazine, 2012, March-April edition, page 6.

I N 1 9 4 2 the Wisconsin Magazine of History wrote: “Museum curators and antique collectors have figuratively gone mad over the treasures that Albert Skare has housed in his ‘Hidden Farm’ log cabin museum near McFarland.” Born in McFarland in 1878 to Norwegian immigrant parents, Albert Skare began assembling a collection of Norwegian and Norwegian-American artifacts sometime in the early 20th century. In addition to bentwood boxes, hand-carved spoons, turned wooden bowls and other examples of folk art brought to Wisconsin by Norwegian immigrants, he collected farming equipment, tools, kitchen implements and other artifacts of daily life in rural Wisconsin used by his family members and other Norwegian-American families in the area.

Following Skare’s death in 1967, his niece Margaret Greene Kennedy donated the entire collection of more than 1,000 objects to the McFarland Historical Society. In 1973 McFarland Historical Society volunteers disassembled the log cabin that was once at the heart of Skare’s “Hidden Farm” museum and moved it to the Society’s property on McFarland’s Main Street.

Highlights from Skare’s extensive collection can now be viewed online thanks to a collaboration of the McFarland Historical Society, Wisconsin Heritage Online and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In summer 2011 the UW’s material culture program paired three undergraduate students with three local historical societies to help them build digital resources. History major Katie Dreps worked with McFarland Historical Society President Dale Marsden and other society volunteers to select, research and catalog examples of the household goods and folk art in the Skare collection. Katie’s own Norwegian heritage inspired her to learn more about these objects: “My grandmother grew up on a farm outside of Lodi, the granddaughter of Norwegian immigrants. … This internship has been a great opportunity for me to connect with my Norwegian heritage in a direct way.”

View selections from the Skare collection online at

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