A World War II Willys MB model from the mid-1950’s serves as the centerpiece of a Wilmot Mountain exhibit housed at the Kenosha History Center, which plans to display artifacts from the ski hill until March, 2018. The exhibit is in recognition of the ski hill’s 80th anniversary (Submitted/The Report).

Ski hill celebrates 80 years

By Jason Arndt

After months of planning, the downtown Kenosha History Center holds pieces of Wilmot Mountain history, which went on display last week.

The historical display recognizes the 80th anniversary, according to Wilmot Mountain’s Marketing and Public Relations Manager Rachael Muhlenbeck, who recalled a conversation she had with Kenosha History Center Executive Director Chris Allen.

Through discussions, which started around March, officials from Wilmot Mountain believed the pop up museum would deliver a rare partnership, Muhlenbeck said.

“We thought it would be really fun to try and create something, collaborate and work with them and come up with an unique exhibit that would the 80 years of skiing at Wilmot Mountain,” she said.

To fill the exhibit, which includes a Jeep replica from the 1950s, Wilmot Mountain reached out to long-time guests of the ski hill for artifacts.

According to Muhlenbeck, the guests came through, and helped make the exhibit possible.

“We had a great response from guests who wanted to share what they had,” she said.

One guest, a local resident, offered his antiquated Jeep, which came as a surprise to Muhlenbeck and other Wilmot Mountain officials.

The Jeep, a World War II Willys MB model from the mid-1950s, serves as the exhibit’s centerpiece.

Muhlenbeck said the Jeep had snowmaking equipped to the back of the vehicle, and in turn, applied blankets of snow around some Wilmot Mountain slopes.

“This is the exact replica of the Jeep that was used at Wilmot Mountain,” she said.

While the Jeep serves as the centerpiece, the exhibit features a timeline from its opening in 1938 through today, and includes artifacts through the decades from gear to snowmaking equipment, ski patches and trail maps.

The gear, Muhlenbeck said, consists of clothing, boots, skis and poles.

Exhibit visitors can also browse through photos and watch videos on display.

The exhibit curated by Wilmot Mountain staff plans to stay on display through March 31, 2018.

“It was kind of a nice tie-in with the western Kenosha County community,” she said.

Wilmot Mountain, which enters its second ski season under new owner Vail Resorts, has partnered with other agencies within Kenosha County.

In September, Vail Resorts employees and their families volunteered at Fox River Park, where they upgraded and restored certain areas of the Kenosha County Park.

The Kenosha History Center, which is in the downtown area, is open Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Mondays and holidays.

For more information, visit http://www.kenoshahistorycenter.org.

If you go…
What: Wilmot Mountain at Kenosha History Center
When: Opened Friday, Nov. 24 and runs through March 31, 2018
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays Noon-4 p.m.
Where: Kenosha History Center, 220 51st Place, Kenosha.


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