Tonight, in our County-By-County series, we take you to a world class exhibit of historical weapons and armor that fills a castle in western Wisconsin. Fox 25/48’s Brooke Schweitzer’s has more on how one man’s collection led to the creation of the Castlerock Museum in Alma.
“When I was 10 years old I was walking down the street in Winona and I ended up, a little 10-year-old boy, buying a Civil War musket that was longer than I was.”
Since then, Gary Schlosstein’s collection of historical weapons of arms and armor has grown.
“That lead me into starting to collect lots of other early weapons and for the last 30 years I have been very interested in collecting weapons from back in the days of crusades and medieval knights, the Romans, the knights in shining armor, and so on.”
So, after years of collecting, Schlosstein felt he needed to share his collection with the world.
“Finally I realized I probably had the most representative collection that I had ever seen in any museums in the United States and that it shouldn’t just be a private collection, it should be in a public collection that can be available for people forever.”
So today his unique collection fills the Castlerock Museum.
“I organized a non-profit museum corporation, turned over all of the things to it, and we built a building to keep it in. We couldn’t find the right kind of castle in Alma, so we built a castle, and that’s where it is today.”
“This Maximillian armor is one of hundreds of artifacts Schlosstein has acquired and now displays right here in the museum.”
“This was an opportunity to work with some of the stuff that we have that’s thousands of years old, I mean instead of having a collection that ranges just a few hundred years, we have thousands of years of stuff that goes back to ancient Greece and even before.”
Drawing between 3000 and 5000 visitors a year to the small western Wisconsin city of Alma.
“People don’t expect it. They come to the museum, they don’t know what to expect, and here’s this world-class exhibit in this little bitty town, and people are really excited when they get in there and actually get to see what we have and how well the displays are and everything.”
An unexpected place to go back in time right in our own backyard. In Alma, Brooke Schweitzer’s, Fox 25/48 News at Nine.